The dawn of the 21st century marked a turning point for feminist movements across the globe and most especially in Africa. The Society that was previously patriarchal began to adopt a different view concerning girl child education and with it came the courage and confidence to venture into fields that were previously male dominated. Such is the tech field. Over the years, African women have been creating an impact that has sent ripples throughout the field with a rigor like no other. Combining the passion for humanity with the love for the tech world, these women are continually steering the field further into vast horizons. Therefore, they deserve the limelight and as such, we will mention just a few:
JUDITH OWIGAR (KENYA):
As Kenyans, we tend to blame the education system for most of our misfortunes and as such we tend to be less creative especially in the tech world. Judith Owigar is an example of a creative individual who has worked to create change in the society using her expertise as a computer scientist. Judith is the founder of JuaKali, an online and mobile directory that connects service providers from the informal sector with institutional and individual clients. It allows workers in search of blue-collar jobs to create an online profile showing their expertise. It is this initiative that earned her a spot in the Forbes Magazine in 2014 as one of the ’10 Female Tech Founders to watch in Africa.’
Judith is also a co-founder of AkiraChix, a non-profit organization that aims at nurturing generations of women who use technology to develop innovations and solutions for Africa. Together with Angela Lungati, Linda Kamau and Marie Githinji, who are also the co-founders of AkiraChix, they have played a major role in enhancing the education of the girl child in technology.
ANNE AMUZU (GHANA):
Anne Amuzu is the CEO and co-founder of Nandi Mobile which is an Info line service that allows local hospitals, churches, NGOs and other businesses to track customer comments, send bulk messages to members using SMS or market specific elements of their organization to potential clients. She also creates time out of her busy schedule to teach coding to young Ghanaians.
REBECCA ENONCHONG (CAMEROON):
Born in the Central African country, Cameroon, Rebecca Enonchong has risen through the ranks of technology through her company AppsTech. AppsTech is a leading global provider of enterprise application solutions that offer a wide variety of products and services to serve enterprise software requirements. It is powered by Oracle and has done work in over 25 countries across 3 continents. Rebecca was listed by the Forbes Magazine in 2014 as one of the ’10 Female Tech Founders to Watch in Africa.’
BARBARA MALLINSON (SOUTH AFRICA):
With the dynamic change that has occurred in technology over the past decade, most of us probably spend most of our time on electronic gadgets such as computers and mobile phones. Keeping up with this trend among students, Barbara Mallinson came up with Obami.com which is a social networking site that allows for the virtual communication between teachers, parents and students. This allows for the sharing of notes, assignments and also newsletters from schools to the learners and their parents. Currently connecting 6 schools and working on 50 others, it is a perfect example of necessity as the mother of invention.
SAZIA SOUSA (MOZAMBIQUE):
Sazia Sousa, a computer engineer, is the founder of Technoplus that provides IT solutions to customers online. Since its inception in 2010, it has undertaken two projects-Technoshop and Technosupport- which are two web-based solutions that provide services to online customers. The company also offers ICT training to students for their personal and professional development.
CLARISSE IRIBAGIZA (RWANDA):
Having pursued a dream of becoming a computer scientist amidst gender inequality and limited access to educational materials, Clarisse Iribagiza rose amidst all the obstacles to become the founder and CEO of HeHe Labs. Her breakthrough came when she attended a mobile technology entrepreneurship training program in Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later won $50,000 of business capital at “Inspire Africa Entrepreneurship” reality TV shop. HeHe Labs is a mobile solutions company that connects businesses with customers. Clarisse also undertakes training of Rwandan school kids in building mobile applications.
With their initiative, several conferences are held for Women in Technology around the continent every year. As a result, more innovative women are coming out to join this revolution. From my viewpoint, as a woman pursuing expertise in a STEM field, the future is bright!