GirlCode, a non-profit organisation with the ambitious goal of empowering 10 million women and girls with tech skills by 2030, is making headway in increasing the number of women within the ICT sector. They achieve this through their annual Hackathon, which takes place this year on 5 and 6 August 2023, in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. The theme of this year’s Hackathon is “AI 4 Women”.
Gender parity in tech remains a significant obstacle standing in the way of more women entering the ICT field on a global scale. However, the lack of female representation in tech-related careers in South Africa is even more worrying; according to Women in Tech ZA, women occupy just 23% of tech jobs in South Africa.
The Hackathon welcomes computer programmers and other professionals involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers, and project managers, to collaborate and bring software projects to life. It is open to women in their first to fourth years of IT-related studies. This fast-paced and exciting event is designed to encourage “a competitive, cooperative and compatible culture for talented female techies”.
Moreover, Tapiwa Muza from GirlCode emphasises that the Hackathon provides a space for learning that inspires interest and passion in coding from a young age. “The lack of female representation in ICT careers is a disheartening reality. We believe that encouraging young girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths fields is the key to changing this situation. It will ensure women have more opportunities turning this around and ensuring women have more opportunities to not only pursue tech careers but to be able to hold their own in the 4IR-focused workplace of the future.” Tracy Lethoko, one of the winners at the 2022 GirlCode Hackathon and a Java Development intern at FNB, shared that the competition was not only fun but also helped put her on track to achieving her dream of working in tech.
GirlCode – Bridging the Gap…
“One of the best things about participating in the GirlCode Hackathon is the opportunity to network,” she says. “The competition is instrumental in bridging the gender gap in the technology industry and empowering women with the skills they need to succeed in a male-dominated industry. I believe this event is making a real difference in the lives of women, and I’m proud to be part of it.”Taylor Kwong
Taylor Kwong of Vuma, which is a gold sponsor of the event and a longstanding supporter of GirlCode since 2019, said that initiatives like the #GirlCodeHack are important for the development of girls and women in South Africa, especially in bridging the digital divide.
“The lack of ICT skills is a problem in South Africa, not least because of the implications this has on gender parity in the tech industry, but also because it is one of the many factors contributing towards the country’s slow progress to digital equality and access to opportunities for all. As one of South Africa’s largest connectivity providers, Vuma is inherently committed to closing the digital access gap, and thus, we are proud to be associated with the GirlCode Hackathon initiative for the third year in a row”.says Kwong
Lastly, for more information on GirlCode, the GirlCode Hackathon and the entries, visit www.girlcode.co.za