Why few women take part in the Taskforce training?

This 5th cohort is special; amongst the 10 participants is one courageous lady.

Since the birth of the Taskforce program  idea, Code of Africa has been rolling out one cohort after the other, and recently started the 5th  – a special one, indeed!

The Taskforce   is a full-time training program aiming to bridge the knowledge gap of Software Developers with prior programming or design knowledge, but lacking production-level experience. The Bootcamp aims to upskill trainees in both technical as well as soft skill-related areas. Read more about the program funded by the Digital Skills Accelerator Africa e.V.

This 5th cohort is special in comparison to the previous ones, as we focus on talented Mobile App Developers and Python programmers. Plus – amongst the 10 participants is one courageous lady. Whoop Whoop! 

You may be wondering why we call it “special” to have a lady in the cohort because, with the exception of the third cohort, which included two ladies in UI/UX design, women or girls in tech are still under-represented not just only in our training program but also in the tech world in general. 

According to the Rwandan NGO  Stella’s Girls, Inc., girls and women only make up less than 3% of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field and frequently lack the necessary skills to compete with their male counterparts. While those who do, are lacking the confidence to pursue opportunities that exist to empower them like the initiatives shecancode_Rwanda, or Women in tech . And this fact made me curious and is the reason why I would like to share a couple of thoughts with you.

Let’s determine some reasons for the above gap and what we can do to close it. And get some valuable and very personal insights from Thirsta, a female trainee of our recent cohort. She talked with me about her passion for tech, her eagerness to make a career in this field, and what she is missing along the way.

So, what’s up with women’s power in tech?

Generally, women and girls complain about the lack of role models and mentorship as the main reason (Source: Women in Tech). As we are in the middle of a revolution, a period of rapid change in business disruption and technology as well, we should think beyond our complaints and strive to be role models for ourselves so that others can look up to us. Why?

Yes, with more role models, mentorship programs, and support, the number of women in technology can increase, and the world desperately needs this increase. But we must be the change we wish to see. This means that women and girls should shoot their shorts in order to close the gap.

Let us look at what Thirtsa, the only lady amongst the 10 participants of the Taskforce 5.0, has to say to all the other ladies out there, who are still hesitant to join our training program or to play an active role in the tech world generally.

“I’ve always been fascinated by technology since I was a child and I felt discouraged by seeing how few women are active in STEM. But as you grow up, you realize things that you really like, and that passion and love push you and you start thinking that you can make a difference.

This is what drove me to look for any opportunity aiming for upskilling young tech talents rather than sit down and complain. In 2021, I joined shecancode_Rwanda, a training program for young Rwandan women 18 -25 years with skills to code, build web design, and applications – from there I got prior coding skills. And currently, I am one of the trainees in a software development bootcamp (Taskforce 5.0) run by Code of Africa and Awesomity lab.

That’s where I found myself being the only female of the entire cohort. To be honest, it is disheartening and challenging. Regardless of how much I would like to share my thoughts, ideas, and knowledge with other girls and women, I hope that someday, by taking the initiative to not settle for less in the tech world knowledge and skills, other ladies will take the boldness and courage to join as well.

First and above all, ladies, if you have discovered that this is something you enjoy, all you need is a will to take the next step to level up. Go for it! You have all the fundamentals. Regardless of the myths and stigmas, I made the decision, and so can you! I’m proud that I made this decision, and believe me, you won’t be sorry as long as you grab the chance, constantly upskill yourself, and network like men –  you will shine in the tech world.”

Summary

That the number of women in our Taskforce training is so low is not surprising, as this is generally the case in technology-related courses and professions. The lack of role models, networks, and mentorship are the primary reasons mentioned by girls and women themselves. 

However, don’t fear! We have to play an active role in the change we want to see. Just as Thirtsa mentioned: “You won’t be sorry as long as you take that step to make it and shine in the tech world.”

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