Women in technology—Africa

Photo courtesy of IVLP program

Photo courtesy of IVLP program

Divine NdhlukulaJuliana Rotich and Mariéme Jamme are a few inspirational African women at the forefront of technology and entrepreneurship. They are paving the way for other women in their countries. They are leaders in their communities who are helping initiate change and create greater prosperity. According to recent article in the New York Times, in 21st-century Africa, businesswomen are pushing into the national scenes of their countries as movers and shakers of industry.

Recently, Forbes magazine compiled a list of 20 impressive young African women. “These women are unconflicted about themselves, who they are and the role they play, not only within their families but in their countries and the world at large,” the article stated.

The accomplishments of these women are impressive and inspirational. Divine Ndhlukula is the founder of Securio, an industry leader in providing custom guard services and cutting-edge electronic security solutions based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Julia Rotich is one of the founders of Ushahidi, a Nairobi-based tech company that specializes in developing free and open source software. Mariéme Jamme, a social entrepreneur and technologist, co-founded Africa Gathering, the first global platform where entrepreneurs and experts meet and share ideas about development in Africa.

Africa’s encouragement of women to pursue education and careers in the science and technology sector is widely acknowledged. Innovation in science and technology are key factors in achieving growth, and women need to be included. Many women and men have come to realize that empowering women through technology and education will transform countries.

Mentorship can have a very positive impact on women.  The 2011 and 2012 TechWomen participants testify to this fact. Recently, the International Business Times (IB Times) wrote an article highlighting the achievements of ten 2012 TechWomen participants. The article spoke about the impact the TechWomen program has had on the participants. “The world needs people courageous enough, determined enough and smart enough to make it better. And women have it all and much more. I would say, never let anyone put you down, follow your dream and you’ll figure along the way how to get there,” the article quoted Jessica Obeid, 2012 TechWomen Emerging Leader.

In recognition of the impact women in technology and women entrepreneurs are having in Africa, the Department of State announced in March that the TechWomen program will expand to eight new countries in 2013. These countries include seven from Sub-Saharan Africa. Eligible women from Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Zimbabwe who are looking for an opportunity to be mentored by women at leading companies in Silicon Valley are encouraged to apply.

For more information on eligibility criteria and how to apply, please visit www.techwomen.org

The application deadline is February 22nd, 2013.

Jessica Obeid, 2012 TechWomen participant with her Mentor at the Department of State luncheon.

Jessica Obeid, 2012 TechWomen participant, and Fabiola Addamo, a TechWomen Cultural Mentor, at the Department of State luncheon.

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