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4 African women blazing new trails for young people in the digital economy

This Women’s Month, we shine the spotlight on African women who are helping to bridge the digital divide and opening up the technology industry for generations of women to come. – Article written by Aphiwe Mame.

Are women benefiting from digital transformation? Who is actually working to close the digital gap, and where do women feature on Africa’s digital transformation agenda?

The pandemic has highlighted the need for digital technology more than ever before. As people are encouraged to stay home to stay healthy, questions bubble to the surface: Would we have been able to stay connected with one another without the internet? How much of our livelihoods can we realistically shift online? As the weeks continue to pass, the dire situation becomes glaringly undeniable for those without access to devices and data for work.

Globally, we’ve seen a rise in women working as influencers, developing small and medium businesses, finding their feet in information and communications technology, and entering digital marketing. This has only brought into sharp focus the need for South Africans to know the job and career opportunities available online.

These sentiments were echoed by Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Pinky Kekana who urged South Africans to focus on educating young people about the dynamics and range of careers in the technology world, especially young women and girls.

Meet the Trailblazers

We are seeing some incredible women tackle the challenge head-on.

Take, for example, Mmaki Jantjies, a social entrepreneur with a passion for sharing how technology innovations can play in improving society. Working with UN Women and Mozilla foundation, she founded an organization, Peo Ya Phetogo, which runs various STEM programmes to encourage young South Africans to take up technology as a business or career.

Ethel Cofie is the Founder of Women in Tech Africa, Africa’s largest women in technology group with members in over 30 Africa countries and in the diaspora and growing.

Dr. Mmaki Jantjies

Ethel Cofie

Thembiso Magajana

Sam ‘Tech Girl’ Wright

Thembiso Magajana is an award-winning social entrepreneur and the Founder of Social Coding, a skills development company that focuses on equipping rural communities with digital tools. As she told Girl Code, “It’s sometimes tough to convince (young girls) that this is an industry in which females can actually do ground-breaking work. Once the initial misconception is dispelled and we show (not just tell) them how cool and important coding is, it’s all uphill from there.”
Sam Wright, also known as ‘Tech Girl’, is a gaming and technology editor and content creator. She created an online space where she and her friends share their love for gadgets, gaming and all things “geek”.

As South Africa’s Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said at the fifth Gender Africa Summit, “If women’s talents were used in the fields of science, technology, and innovation, the world would develop much more progressively.” These women are charting a path for how we make that world a reality.

Follow us on Instagram where we’ll be hosting live conversations with trailblazing women this month!

Are you already geared up to learn digital marketing skills right on your mobile phone? Join our virtual class on Whatapp now.