In 2020, about 74% of GAFAM employees were men. 50% of the UK, US, China, and Canada startups have no women on their leadership teams.
It’s no different on the African continent.
Home to eight unicorns (Flutterwave, Fawry, OPay, Wave, Interswitch, Jumia, Swvl, and Chipper Cash) and over 300 startups that have raised more than US$1bn combined so far in 2021, only a measly 2% of African software engineers are women.
It’s no secret that technology as a vocational space pays well, is in-demand, and currently suffers from a shortage of talent to meet that demand.
Closing income gaps and expanding economic opportunities means bringing more women into the fold. Plus, building diversity and inclusion into technology improves our products and makes our teams more innovative and better equipped to solve today’s problems.
This is good for the world, for equality, and for the economy.
And this is why our partnership with Developer’s in Vogue (DiV) is close to my heart.
Who are Developers in Vogue?
Developers in Vogue is a registered non-profit organization in Ghana that seeks to solve the problem of the underrepresentation of African women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
They do this by providing project-oriented training in Software Development, Data Analysis, Mobile App Development, Graphic Design, and Digital Marketing.
Think of DiV as a sisterhood of women passionate about pursuing a career in tech. A supportive community for African women interested in venturing into the tech space to grow personally and professionally.
DiV has successfully trained and placed women in technical roles at local and global tech companies such as Microsoft, Vodafone, Ecobank, mPharma, and many others. Members of the community have also joined competitive business incubator programs to enable them to start tech companies.
Why African female developers?
African female engineers face similar challenges (gender discrimination, access to career growth opportunities, and work-life balance conflict, to name a few) to their global counterparts.
As Janet Boakye, Partnership Manager, DiV, explains:
“The underrepresentation of women in the tech industry is a known fact. And women are generally discouraged to take up technical roles which are seen to be for men within the tech industry. UNESCO statistics show that women in the tech industry constitute only 28% of professionals in the sector worldwide, and just 30% Sub-Saharan Africa, throwing light into the huge gap between women and men in exploring careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).”
But dig deeper, and it gets worse. As UN Secretary-General António Guterreś remarked at a 2020 high-level meeting on gender equality and women empowerment in Africa:
“Poverty in Africa, as in the rest of the world, still has a woman’s face. For every 100 men aged between 25 and 34 living in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, there are 127 women. Women are often concentrated in precarious jobs and they carry a disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work.”
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t helped. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of women and girls living in impoverished households is expected to increase from 249 million to 283 million between 2021 and 2030.
Developers in Vogue are focused on bridging the gap by providing project-oriented training, career development workshops, mentorship programs with renowned industry experts, and job opportunities for African women who want to build a career in STEM. They also partner with companies (such as ours) to develop gender-inclusive job placement opportunities for female developers.
At Chipper Cash, this is central to our mission to enable financial freedom and inclusion for Africans.
Women make up more than half of the African population. That’s nearly 700 million women that take care of their families, run businesses, and go about their daily lives. So, it’s obvious why we would want to invest in growing the number of women in technology that can impact how we develop software for the continent.
African women are close to the problems our software will solve.
What does the future look like with the DiV partnership?
I’m excited to see how the partnership evolves.
In the short term, we are committed to bringing on some of the women who graduate from the program and helping the rest find places in other technology companies. We expanded the second cohort of DiV’s flagship Tech Accelerator Program to twelve female engineers.
And this is just the beginning. We’ll look to scale it across five African countries shortly.
I hope to see more and more women move through the program in the long term. We also expect more technology companies to join in this mission with us, developing talent that will help change the global economy and Africa’s part in it.
Are you looking to join a DiV program?
Interested participants can apply on DiV’s website, social media platforms, or via the campus ambassadors.
Applicants undergo a rigorous selection process, including interviews, CV reviews, aptitude tests, class simulations, and reference checks. And the successful applicants get support via:
- Job placement (internships, freelance/contract roles, full-time roles)
- Supportive community
DiV members can also access career growth opportunities such as scholarships, access to tech resources, funding support to travel for conferences and competitions, and many others.
Are you looking to become a volunteer, campus ambassador, or ready to build a career in tech?
Head this way → Join DiV