#Tech4Equality: Advocating for Gender Inclusive ICT Policy and Governance

In commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) organized a webinar engagement that delved into what is shaping and influencing the innovation and technology landscape in Africa with a lens on women.

Here are what my key takeaways are from the discussions in the webinar today:

Over the past ten years, the African continent has experienced a boom in creativity and technology thanks to a number of programs targeted at fostering tech entrepreneurship and digital innovation. Women, who are underrepresented in the field, have not benefited from the expansion of the digital sector in Africa. The participation of women in the computer industry is still constrained by patriarchal attitudes as well as gender biases in technology access and education. We need access but we need affordable access at that.

The low participation of women in STEM education further exacerbates the gender digital divide. In Africa, women account for only 30% of STEM graduates, a factor limiting their participation in the tech industry. This underrepresentation is due to gender biases in education and cultural attitudes that discourage girls from pursuing STEM subjects. To address this, there needs to be further advocacy for the implementation of policies that promote gender equality in education, including initiatives to encourage girls to pursue STEM subjects.

Another challenge that hinders women’s participation in the tech industry is the lack of access to funding. Access to funding is a critical factor in the success of tech startups, and women-led startups often face challenges accessing financing. This is partly due to gender biases in the investment industry, where investors are more likely to invest in male-led startups. To address this, we need to advocate for the promotion of gender-inclusive financing models, including initiatives that encourage more women to participate in venture capital and angel investing.

There is also the role that cultural attitudes play in shaping women’s participation in the tech industry. Patriarchal attitudes continue to limit women’s access to technology and entrepreneurship opportunities. These attitudes often manifest in policies and practices that discriminate against women, such as laws that limit women’s property rights or restrict their mobility.

In conclusion, the growth of the tech industry in Africa has the potential to transform the continent’s economy and drive social progress. However, this transformation must be inclusive of women, who are currently underrepresented in the sector. Tech4Equality is a vital initiative that seeks to promote gender-inclusive ICT policies and governance in Africa. Addressing the gender digital divide, promoting gender equality in education, and advocating for gender-inclusive financing models, will play a critical role in shaping Africa’s innovation and technology landscape.


Tech Blogger & Marketer.