Part of the exclusion of women and girls in technology today is societal norms that portray technology as a field for men. As a society, we need to rethink this stereotype and make a conscious effort to push women and girls into the field. Technology companies, governments, non-profits and philanthropies can also participate in providing a support system by sponsoring and hosting technology events like Hackathons.
Hackathons (also known as “Hackfests”) are events in which computer programmers and others involved in software development come together and collaborate on projects. These events tend to be a day or two, at the end of which, participants pitch their ideas in hopes of winning prize money.
Events of this nature will create an excellent atmosphere for women and girls to get hands on experience of coming up with, and executing on, an idea within a short time frame. Hackathons also promise to refine presentations skills and will help female technologists and aspirants develop a network and create a support system amongst them.
Technology promises to be a key industry in the development of Africa and beyond. By investing today in technology education and providing African girls with the tools and support they need, we will ensure African women are well represented in the technology sector for years to come and that their impact will be felt on a large scale through their innovations.