Nompumelelo Mokou, Thembeka Manetje and Simon Shila.
“Often, the ICT girls feel as if they ‘don't belong’ in this perceived male dominated field and this empowerment programme, Challenge the Status Quo, aimed at inspiring and building confidence in them as well as making them feel that they are competent enough and able to thrive in the ICT sphere,” said Thembeka Manetje, ICT Faculty Marketer.
Through the “Girls in Tech” empowerment programme, the girls had an opportunity to attend webinars based on various self-development themes such as self-confidence, communication skills, emotional intelligence, time management and more. These assisted in empowering them, instilling more self-confidence in them and elevating their personal growth. In addition, the programme aimed to expose the girls to the latest, ground-breaking technologies and inviting female ICT Alumni who are doing remarkable work in their respective ICT related fields, to share their success stories.
Thembeka added that “Girls in Tech” also focused on making them feel that they are quite capable of developing solutions by using the latest technologies that will solve real life problems global citizens are facing.
“The programme also made them aware of their ability to bring about positive societal changes in their respective ICT workplaces and communities by applying their skills, knowledge of up-to-date technologies and emotional intelligence, as well as self-confidence. This initiative will contribute to creating future-ready graduates (females), able to solve complex problems, address the inequalities in ICT related fields that are seen to be predominantly for males and tackling unemployment, by informing the ladies that they can develop their own Apps that can be used by consumers to solve problems,” Thembeka said.
Nompumelelo Mokou, Managing Director from Dimension Data, spoke about the subtle, small challenges women face in corporate environments. “Women can rise against all odds if we help raise each other’s flags. If it is not about gender or race, we must look out for each other to have our voices heard.”
The organisers of the Girls in Tech Empowerment Programme are convinced that exposing young females to ICT alumni and other highly successful women in the ICT field, will encourage them to make a positive societal impact and turn the tables around in the workplace.
““Girls in Tech” is a good initiative that will play a prominent role in boosting our confidence. It was an eye-opener for us that not only men are meant to dominate in our field, but women too can,” Msizi Makaula, ICT student said.
Simon Sihla, Chairperson of TLOUyaSheela Foundation and the founder of Qwertynet (PTY), and a major supporter of equality, affirmed that things are about to change. “Transformation is taking place, just fasten your belts ladies! You are about to take the space over. Make the world your oyster, for we are all capable,” he concluded.