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We need more women in the tech space

By

Joanita Nassiwa, Refactory

on

March 16, 2020

The month of March is typically one in which women are celebrated for their resilience, courage and their nurturing spirit. However,one of the things that are hard to ignore is the fact that women are typically underrepresented in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Less than a third of women worldwide work in scientific research & development according to the UNESCO UIS Report 2018, and this number is increasing at a sluggish pace.From 2008 to 2019, the percentage of female researchers in STEM worldwide increased by a marginal 4%. In the tech sector, women only make up 17% of the workforce.

Now with those numbers in mind, calls for women to participate are growing louder. Here at Refactory, we have been deliberate in advocating for women and girls who want to pursue their interests in technology. This has become possible through a partnership with Educating The Children (ETC) with leadership from Sonal Kadchha. The partnership allows ladies to join the program on a scholarship to grow and develop both their technical and non-technical skills.

Sandra Nanteza is one of the Bootcamp students that attend Refactory through our partnership with Educating the Children (ETC). She came into the program with little to no knowledge in tech and has now gone on to volunteer at Educating the Child as a way of giving back to her community by teaching other young ladies how to code.

Sandra Nanteza a student at Refactory

“I once had a chat with a gentleman who advised me to get into the tech industry as he believed it was the future of the economy and if I had any intention of keeping my business. With my business administration background, I had gone on to join the micro-finance industry and had no experience whatsoever in tech,” Sandra recalls.

Sandra responded to a call (an advert put out by ETC for girls who were interested in code at Innovation Village) bearing in mind that she knew absolutely nothing but with an open mind. “I almost gave up on the program because I struggled to balance work and the new program I was engaged in at ETC. However, I hang in there because I knew it was a good investment of my time.”

She then discovered that the ladies who were interested in furthering their studies were in position to do so at Refactory because ETC had offered to sponsor them. Sandra took the opportunity and today she is one of 5 ladies in the Bootcamp of 16, 4 of whom also attended the ETC program,where she is part of a team that is developing a digital platform for one of Refactory’s Bootcamp partners Trustful Trade. She is also volunteering at ETC as a way of giving back (but that will be a story for another day).

The technology sector is one in which employee engagement and satisfaction is reflected by the quality of the product or service delivered whilst noting that gender diversity is especially important.  At refactory we are committed to ensuring the quality of women getting into the work spaces are equipped with the necessary technical and non-technical skills through the different programs and partnerships.

About Educating the Children

Educating The Children is a United Kingdom registered charity founded by Sonal Kadchha.  In February 2015, ETC opened the first girl’s secondary school in the Masai Mara, the first mission they worked on.  The boarding school is currently serving a catchment of 68,000 people. Now ETC has expanded its learning’s to Uganda as they seek to impact investing to scale and target thousands of students through different projects. Visit https://www.etcafrica.org/index.html to know more about Educating the children.

Sonal Kadchha the founder of Educating the Children. Photo: ETC Website

Just like Sandra, you too can have a future in tech with Refactory. Go ahead to read more about our catalyst course and Bootcamp  https://www.refactory.ug/program and apply to be part of the July 2020 intake.

 

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