Pivot25 Fireside Chat on the Role of Women in ICT
- Agatha Gikunda (Head of Solution Sales, Nokia East and Southern Africa)
- Njeri Rionge (CEO Ignite Consulting)
- Isis Nyong’o (VP and MD Inmobi Africa)
- Juliana Rotich (Co-Founder Ushahidi and Mobi-soko)
Tech is a space where there tends to be fewer women, all around the globe. This may be because it is a relatively new industry. However, there appears to be a growing interest in ICT by women. There are also other roles within the industry that are not necessarily related to the coding/programming side (i.e. business, marketing, etc.) A big factor of success is the business acumen that will allow you to interact within the technology space.
Perhaps there are not enough female IT “doers” because women (either consciously or unconsciously) tend to “lean back” in order to obtain and maintain the tech/life balance. But the women IT “doers” who DO exist are able to identify well the real problems of life and identify IT solutions.
At the end of the day, the panel of women agreed that encouraging women in ICT comes down to education and mentorship. We need to start thinking about the new generation so that IT and technology is part of their education. We should be targeting 6 and 7 year olds to start tinkering from a young age (both hardware and software) through programs like AkiliDada. Mentorship is also an important aspect of encouraging women to lead in the IT sector. Women need to engage a support system, both at work and also at home. Ultimately women must have a plan for what they can do and what they can outsource. Finally, other IT opportunities for stay-at-home women should also be explored.
The ICT community should normalize women in technology. Women may be few in number, especially in leadership, but normalizing and becoming a more inclusive community is also necessary. The feminine thinking process is important to include because women bring a new viewpoint and problem-solving strategies.