Silhouette of female engineer
Silhouette of female engineer
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Empowering women in technology: Breaking barriers, building inclusive futures

Chantelle, a recent High School Graduate, is torn between traditional career paths and her aspirations. Raised in a community that values conventional trajectories, such as teaching and nursing, she discovers that the Technological Industry (hereinafter, “Tech Industry”) offers the key to her dreams. 

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She sees that despite advancements in diversity and inclusion, Women in Technology (hereinafter, “Women in Tech”) face significant barriers like gender bias and underrepresentation.

However, stories of resilience and success among women in technology highlight the transformative power of empowerment and community support. Inspired by these pioneers, Chantelle sees the “tech field” not just as a career choice, but as a platform to innovate and realise her potential.
 

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When you attend a “tech event” or visit a technology company in Ghana, it is evident that there are far fewer women than men. This imbalance harms our country because it limits new ideas, creativity and problem-solving skills we can use for the overall progress and development of the country.

Without diverse perspectives, we miss out on innovative solutions and the full potential of our workforce, which is essential for driving progress and growth in the Tech Industry.

Challenges

In the Technology Industry, there is a significant gender gap, with few women in technical roles. Studies consistently show that women occupy only a small fraction of positions within Technology companies, highlighting a glaring imbalance that restricts their opportunities for advancement.

Women working in the “Tech Industry” often encounter biases and stereotypes that act as barriers to their career progression. These challenges can range from subtle forms of discrimination, like dismissive remarks or unequal treatment, to more overt forms, such as being passed over for promotions or denied leadership opportunities simply because of their gender.

These obstacles create a daunting environment for women in the “tech field”, making it difficult for them to thrive and reach their full potential. 

Overcoming barriers

Despite facing challenges, some women have defied the odds and achieved remarkable success in the “Tech Industry.” Examples of such women include Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Ghana's Minister of Communication; Meghan McCormick, Chief Executive Officer of FinTech Company;  Estelle Akofio-Sowah, Country Manager of Google Ghana, who has over 14 years of experience in Internet and Business development, and the former Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Ghana, Lucy Quist, who is the first Ghanaian woman to lead a Multinational Telecommunication Company, transforming Airtel into a rapidly growing brand focused on data and digital services.

She was featured on BBC's Power Women series for her impact on Africa. Additionally, the Regional Managing Director of Internet Solutions, Yvette Adounvo Atekpe, boasts of over two decades of experience in Telecommunications and Information Technology while Mubarakatu Farouk, who founded Kodu Tech, showcasing women's creativity and innovation in technology by using plantain stems to create menstrual products (e.g. sanitary pads).

Her creativity and innovation show that women can come up with amazing ideas in the “Tech World.”

Impact women in tech

Having more women in the “Tech Industry” benefits both businesses and society. Diverse teams are proven to be more creative and effective problem solvers. Women bring fresh ideas and viewpoints that lead to innovative solutions.

Inclusive decision-making leads to better outcomes for companies and societies. Embracing diversity helps tech companies understand and serve diverse user bases. This results in products and services that meet the needs of everyone. “Women in Tech” serves as important role models and mentors for the next generation.

Their successes inspire young girls to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, therefore breaking stereotypes. Overall, it will lead to a more diverse and talented workforce in the future.

Call to Action

• Empowering Women in Tech

Empowering “Women in Tech” is not just a social imperative but a strategic necessity for innovation and economic growth. Let us promote STEM education for girls through early exposure, mentorship and scholarships.

This early engagement will ignite a passion for technology in young girls and their use of digital tools in cultivating their interest and paving the way for their future contributions to the industry.

Subsequently, let us support women entrepreneurs with better access to funding, networking and specialised incubators. There is also the need to advocate for equal remuneration and privileges, anti-discrimination laws and supportive legislation that promotes the well-being of women in the “Tech field”.

Also, we need to highlight the achievements of “Women in Tech” to inspire others to emulate those who promote gender diversity. Additionally, let us build strong communities with professional groups and online platforms for knowledge sharing.

• Building inclusive communities

Let us foster inclusive workplaces without bias training, flexible policies and leadership opportunities.  

By creating spaces where women can connect, learn and grow together, we can break down barriers and create a more inclusive and equitable “Tech Industry” for all.  Fostering inclusive communities and support networks through organisational initiatives dedicated to supporting “Women in Tech” plays a crucial role in providing mentorship, resources and networking opportunities to help women thrive in the industry.

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 Illustratively, Coding Boot Camps and Mentorship Programs offer invaluable support and guidance to women at every stage of their Tech careers.

Conclusion

As we continue to strive for greater diversity and inclusion in the “Tech Industry,” it is essential to recognise the importance of empowering “Women in Tech.” By addressing strategic policies and systemic barriers, fostering inclusive communities, and amplifying the voices of “Women in Tech,” we can create a more equitable and vibrant Tech Ecosystem where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Together, let us break down barriers, build a future and empower women to reach their full potential in Tech and beyond.

The writer is a pupil at Ghartey & Ghartey. 
E-mail: [email protected]

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