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Microsoft ADC unveils mentorship programme for tech women in universities

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The Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC) has initiated a mentorship program tailored for women pursuing technology studies at universities.

The inaugural cohort of this initiative, dubbed Women Inspiring and Nurturing Students (WINS), brings together approximately 70 young women enrolled in tech-related courses at various universities across Kenya with women employed at Microsoft for a year-long mentorship.

Speaking during the launch event, which coincided with International Women’s Day last Friday, Catherine Muraga, Managing Director of Microsoft ADC, emphasized the significant gender gap in technology education, underscoring the importance of encouraging more girls and women to advance their studies and careers in technology.

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Ms Muraga stated, “Women encounter numerous challenges hindering their equal participation in various fields, particularly the technology industry. There is a scarcity of young women pursuing technology courses in tertiary education, and those who do often switch to other fields or drop out midway. Pairing learners with mentors will be crucial in promoting course completion and facilitating their transition from academia to the workforce.”

According to the 2021 UNESCO Science Report, while there has been notable progress in women’s representation in higher education, they remain underrepresented in critical STEM fields such as digital information technology, computing, physics, mathematics, and engineering.

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The report also highlights that more women than men exit the technology sector, citing reasons such as unfavorable working conditions, limited career advancement opportunities, and a lack of access to creative roles.

WINS complements other initiatives by Microsoft ADC aimed at bolstering the representation of women in tech, including campus tours, faculty skilling programs, the Game of Learners program, and now ADC WINS, an initiative investing time, resources, and expertise to enhance women’s representation in STEM fields at universities.

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Ms Muraga reiterated Microsoft’s belief in the power of diversity to foster innovation and progress.

She emphasized that the WINS program underscores their commitment to fostering inclusivity and equity in the tech industry.

“By equipping women with the necessary resources and support, Microsoft aims to reshape the future of technology and advance its broader diversity and inclusion objectives, thereby empowering individuals to achieve more.”

The inaugural cohort comprises 70 students selected from various universities, including the University of Nairobi, Kabarak University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, United States International University-Africa, Dedan Kimathi University, Multimedia University, St. Paul’s University, Machakos University, and Zetech University.

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Diana Mutheu
Diana Mutheu
Diana Mutheu is a Tech enthusiast, happy to delve deeper into the African tech space covering Social Media, AI, Startups, Telcos, Cryptocurrency, Big Data, Women in Tech and all matters Tech. Write to me @[email protected]

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