For young women considering a career in Technology field in Zimbabwe, Techunzipped has some straightforward advice: “truthfully, just do it.” While humanity has made huge progress towards gender equality in recent years, there’s still a lot of work left to do when it comes to women in tech.
There’s no question. Statistically, there’s a lot of talk about women being broadly underrepresented in STEM subjects at A level meaning science, tech, engineering and math. Engineering and computer science are sort of the last holdouts where women are severely “disadvantaged”. That’s mainly true in electrical and computer engineering.
In a period when women are increasingly noticeable in medicine, law, and business, why are there so few women scientists and engineers? Statistics compiled by UNESCO reveal that, globally, women make up less than 30% of the people working in Stem careers. The situation is worse in some countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
A 2016 report by CVpeople presents compelling evidence that can help to explain this puzzle.The repost stated females represented 80% in the field of SAP Consultant but in other fields they represented less than 20%. For example Network Technician females are represent 17%, Network Administrator 13 %,Network Engineer and Software Developer 0%.And if these figure is worrying enough for any woman working in IT ,the figures has fallen from 33% in 2017.
So is this a supply problem? Are there not enough girls studying the STEM (Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering) subjects? Maybe. According to records presented to parliament show that about 1,500 students across Zimbabwe are currently getting a free education as part of the countrywide STEM Initiative launched in 2016.
What discourages women from entering tech, and why does it matter?
Stereotypes keep women from tech careers
The idea that men are naturally more sensible than women dates back to Lobengula, and remains deeply rooted in society’s collective mind. The long-standing dichotomy of sensible vs. sensitive is still omnipresent today, and lends acceptance to the suggestion that women are just not as cut out to work in tech as men.
One of the worst stereotyping curse is the notion that only boys are good in STEM subjects. These early stereotypes make young girls developing a “fear” of these subjects during the course of their schooling. This in the end limits their career ambitions. They develop “fear” to enter fields that are based on STEM.
We at Techunzipped believe that stereotype should end, with clever campaigns both online and offline, girls will realise that they can become scientists and work in the IT field.
Keeping Women in Tech
There are many great creativities to encourage young people into the STEM industry, not just in a Zimbabwe and African, but globally. Last year Tech Women Zimbabwe (TWZ) officially launched ‘HerCode Fellowship Programme’ (HFP) at an event held at the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers. The launch was part of activities involving a delegation of scientists from Silicon Valley, who where on a one week tour of TWZ’s projects. Also present at the launch were, TWZ fellows as well as several students and professionals in the Science,Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. These range from STEM Ambassadors, who work with schools and colleges to inspire and educate young people to study STEM subjects, to coding clubs and computer camps with many of these looking at the specific complexities involved in creating environments to boost the female talent pool from classroom to boardroom.