While many may complain about the lack of women in the technology industry, women are becoming increasingly involved in this field, both as consumers and as practitioners. African women represent a huge untapped market as emerging business leaders, consumers and household decision-makers.
Entrepreneurial women are already making a strong contribution to GDP growth throughout the continent. A study shows that in Uganda, 48% of all small and medium-sized enterprises are owned by women. In Kenya, the corresponding figure is 49%. Another study by Finmark Trust shows that women account for 58% of all business owners in South Africa.
The technology sector in Africa presents its own distinct challenges. Outdated misogynistic cultural views and perceptions are a major hindrance to women in technology. This can be a huge blow to women’s confidence and may alter their decisiveness, two vital entrepreneurial skills that are required to succeed. However society’s attitude change towards cultural matters is a promising thing since more and more communities are realising that educating the girl child benefits the whole society.Educating and empowering girls and women is one of the most cost effective means to accelerate economic growth. The more women embrace entrepreneurship, the more cultures, education and rights of women will improve because women are natural teachers. Women can harness our emotional intelligence to talk to people about their needs, understand the problems they face and come up with practical solutions to real issues.They will be able to pass on what they know to friends, family and relatives who then learn the skill from them and become entrepreneurs themselves.
More female role-models are needed to show that it is possible to be successful, particularly in the male dominated tech-world. young women with entrepreneurial ambitions often struggle to identify female role models whilst their male counterparts have a plethora of options to choose from.
Every Friday, AfroMum will feature inspirational African women at the forefront of technology and entrepreneurship. We will highlight those who are breaking through numerous barriers for the benefit of other women in their countries.
(image source: http://dandylilies.blogspot.com/)