Studies have shown that young girls are less interested in studying fields dominated by their male counterparts due to negative stereotypes of their abilities and lack of female role models in that area. This is why women in technology movements have a big role to play in changing the the perception that young women have about technology.
Last week we were privileged to have Vivian Opondo, a Moringa School alumni come to to give a talk on how to increase the number of Women in tech. If you are a woman in the tech industry in Africa you may find it a little bit isolated. This is what most of the young women who attended the event thought. After giving various women from the panel a chance to speak we came up with the reasons why most girls that join tech related careers always seem to fall off along the way. We came up with some of the ways we can encourage more girls not only to join tech but also to keep the momentum once they join.
Jill who is a curriculum engineer at Moringa School noted that a number of the girls drop out of the program after a few weeks. The reasons vary but it is mainly because that they feel that the field is not diverse, creative and exciting. This is a myth because there are so many sectors in the tech industry that require you to use your creativity to solve problems. There are also so many exciting new opportunities in the tech sector as we are in a digital era.
Vivian who was leading the discussion took us through various ways she thinks that we can make the tech journey for most of these young women more engaging. We decided on having forums where we could learn code and after a few sessions plan for a hackathon. We also needed to have various key players in the industry to come and talk to these girls. It is important for them to have mentors in their journey so that they can hear various people talk about how they got into tech and how it has changed their way of thinking.
In an article on Quora, Dolly Sighn answered a question someone asked on the advice seasoned women in tech would give younger girls trying to make a career in tech. She said that growing up in the heart of silicon valley she had always avoided the idea of a career in tech because she generally enjoyed her humanity classes more than her math classes. She thought that the only way to work in tech was to get a degree in computer science which was not the case. Even with no background in a tech related course you can easily learn programming,design and any other area of tech.
The other issue that was pointed out by Lucy who is a former Moringa School student is that most of the tech events that were held were attended by mostly male developers. This made the female participants feel left out of a male dominated field. A few of the other younger girls currently in the program stated that they would feel more comfortable attending the tech events together with their female counterparts. We concluded that having such women tech groups was important because we could then attend events together as a team and slowly grow the number of women in these events.
We hope to continue to grow our Women in tech community and to reach out to girls and women who are joining tech or to those already in the industry. We will involve new women in tech, already experienced developers and key industry players so that everyone can have someone to mentor them. We encourage anyone that is interested in being a part of the Moringa School Women in Tech group to join us and grow our community.