Tumi Meyatswe, former Ecosystem Manager at The Silicon Cape Initiative and Founder of Minderz, a digital pet service, stated it was time to move on from the ‘trend’ of providing black women with opportunities in order to fill quotas or as PR stunts, as opposed to humanizing the processes and removing gender bias altogether.
“The disparity between African sub-regions on the representation of women in STEM requires that the more advanced Southern and Eastern regions support others that have not yet developed the necessary infrastructure to promote more women in this sector. Any such intra-Africa South-South Cooperation would yield much better results if it is combined with wider South-South and Triangular Cooperation initiatives,” said UNOSSC-Africa Regional Chief Francois Ekoko.
Ms.Litha Musyimi-Ogana, Special Advisor to the President of the Pan African Parliament, expressed the necessity to replicate success stories and upscale initiatives giving women a level playing field and equipping them with the necessary resources to excel in their careers: “If it works, replicate and upscale it.”
Ms. Irene Tamajong, a renowned gender and STEM expert, also former Director of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in the UK, provided the link between the tech sector and the wider Women in Science agenda.
UNDP Africa gender programme specialist, Viviane Ralimanga, also pointed out that the role of networking, platforms, and workshops is to connect private sector needs with research.
The expected outcome of this initiative is to enhance the coordination of the different women-led tech initiatives and networks across the continent through a wholesome platform including a professional mentorship and exchange component, as lack of mentors and/or role models for women in the technology sector has been identified as one of the barriers to their progress and growth.
A committee coordinated by the UNOSSC Africa office will directly participate in the design of the platform and map the way forward. Beyond this initial workshop, there will be further consultative and collaborative meetings to further develop the platform.
UNOSSC in Africa is currently housed and supported by the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa (RSCA) based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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