“Why should more girls take up technology or ICT-related subjects, and what can Zambia do to help them get to where they want to be in their careers?”
The world is advancing in such a way that we can’t afford to exclude people from technology. The Zambian population is over 50% female. If girls are behind in ICT and technology then we’re behind as a country and that does not set a good precedence for our future economic and social development. It goes without saying that technology is a pretty integral part of our lives and understanding how to use it empowers you and helps you define your role in the world. Even if you’re not interested in becoming a programmer, having certain skills under your belt like knowing how to set up and edit your own website can save you a lot of time, money and help you represent yourself or your business exactly the way you want to see it. By taking deeper education in ICT and technology like programming you would be able to comfortably use skills that can help you build anything you desire in the virtual world. If you’ve taken any steps in becoming more proficient in ICT, be proud of yourself and never give up, because each step you take moves the whole country forward 🙂
I think as a country we could have a few more initiatives celebrating and documenting women in ICT at a national level (like #GirlsInICT day 😉). I watched Hidden Figures and read articles about African-American scientists recently and was blown away by the inspirational stories they had and how they supported each other along the way. It reminded me of our own Asikana Network. But it also made me wonder what inspirational stories our own hidden figures might have and what it was like for the first Zambian women in ICT around the world. If anyone knows where I can read about them I’d love to know more.
As people in this country I think we should be more open to collaborating with women in tech on projects. Not just as admin, but as developers and decision makers in the team. If your tech event or company or project consists of only men then you should be able to realize that something is wrong. We are here. The Asikana Network is a very responsive and large body of women in tech at all levels. Don’t be afraid to ask. It may offer a different perspective on your work that you haven’t seen and help you reach out to more people in the future. And you’re not just helping women by doing this, you’re helping us as a country.