“Historically, the African technology industry is one that has seen limited female involvement. This sector is still held by many to be a ‘male-dominated field’ as women complain that they are met with gender-biased obstacles in their attempts to engage it,” the article, called ‘Bionic women and their impact on Africa’s technology sector’, argued.
Written by Tapfuma Musewe, the paper investigated the limited involvement of women in the developing area of technology, honouring a few singled out entrepreneurs for their initiatives that assisted women in entrepreneurship.
Women mentioned as “key roleplayers” included Susan Eve Oguya, Jamila Abass and Linda Kwamboka, who developed a transparency app called M-Farm to assist with Kenyan farming.
Special tribute was paid to dynamic South African entrepreneur Rapelang Rabana, Yeigo Communications co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, who enabled the world’s first unified telecommunications hub in 2009 through a Swedish Telfree partnership where she currently fills the position as Global Head of Research and Development.
According to Musewe, only 15 percent of tech industry positions are filled by women.
Referencing an Association for Women Rights in Development (AWID) article, it said “women have to work twice as hard and be extremely resilient in order to achieve success in this field”.
However, the paper said global growth is underway, putting females in the “gatekeeper” position of the field.
She points to a Forbes article, which indicates “creative energy... is being unleashed as women and technology come together”.
On African ground, she asserted progress is also evident on the continent as “African women are making significant advancements that are fast outmoding patriarchal domination in the technology scene”.
HumanIPO reported last week how entrepreneurial expert Judi Sandrock believed there was a lack of female role models in the industry.
Sandrock believes women need improved self-confidence to be able to step up to a male dominated field.
Musewe resonated with Sandrock, saying the challenges posed for African women who
frequently have to deal with a lack of resources provides a great opportunity for emerging entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, initiatives such as Geek Girl Dinner (GGD), happening all over the world, including South Africa, aim to gather females across the industry to create an opportunity for networking and inspiration.
Suhaifha Naidoo, Chairperson of the GGD in Cape Town (GGDCPT), emphasised the lack of girls and young women actively involved in tech.
A South African-based research and strategy firm, CAI publishes papers on social, health, political, economic trends and developments in Africa.