Kenya, also referred to as the Silicon Savannah, is praised for its application of technology to solve global issues. Nairobi, the capital city, has received the most of the attention surrounding Kenya’s tech scene because other parts of the country have limited access to resources and support for technological innovation. However, by utilizing a wide spectrum of their technological abilities, many Kenyan women are taking the initiative to drive innovation across the nation by bringing digital skills to their communities and driving disruption within their organizations.
It is because of this that we took a keen interest to shine a spotlight on women in Tech in Africa. We found that despite the industry growing rapidly, women still are a minority specifically in positions of leadership and especially the software engineering positions. The industry is still male dominated despite the best efforts of many corporate and non-profit organizations to increase the number of women in the space.
Only roughly 21% of tech leadership jobs and 14% of software engineering positions were held by women in 2021. When compared to the rest of the workforce, the gender disparity in tech is astounding. Over the previous five years, little advancement has been accomplished. Even in the technology sector, and particularly in the C-Suite, gender equality is still a long way off.
We aim to spotlight some of the best technologists, innovators, CEOs, and powerful women holding leadership roles in the technology industry in order to acknowledge and reward strong women who are advancing technology. The goal of this series is to convey the tales of the many intelligent and talented women who work tirelessly to close the gender gap in technology. By doing so, we aim to celebrate them and encourage the next generation of female technologists.
We won’t just focus on women-led startups like fintech company FarmDrive, edtech app Eneza and booking platform BuuPass, who are finding creative ways to meet market needs and solve community problems. We shall also be looking at women in mid to senior management who are driving the tech revolution and innovation in the corporate world.
This group of Kenyan women is working to increase the visibility and influence of women in tech by providing the mentorship and skills that young women need to not only succeed in one of the most competitive tech markets in the developing world but have their contributions recognized as well.
Linda Kamau, a co-founder of Akirachix, a coding school founded in 2010 by a group of women who were passionate about changing the landscape of the technology field and creating a community that supports, connects and inspires women in the tech space, said “When you give women a fair chance, they thrive. Women who have gone through our program only needed someone to show them a path, and then they took it and ran with it.”
Women like Linda Kamau and Chao Mbogho, an award-winning computer science researcher and educator, who founded KamiLimu, a non-profit organization, whose mission is to bridge the skills gap between classroom learning and global competitiveness through structured mentorship in personal and professional development, innovation skills, and scholarship expertise, are challenging the status quo by encouraging and facilitating more women to take up careers in technology-related fields.
It is our responsibility to tell these stories, to document the impact, to drive the inclusion of women in Tech. If you are a woman in Tech and you would like us to shine a spotlight on your work, please email us on [email protected] and we will be in touch!