In today’s rapidly evolving world of technological innovation, it is imperative that we collectively strive towards a society where gender equality thrives. A recent report by Deloitte reveals a notable increase in the representation of women in tech and tech-related fields, growing from a mere 8% in the 1970s to an estimated 33% in 2023. While this progress is commendable, there is still much work to be done in fostering gender diversity and inclusion.
From my earliest days studying Computer Engineering at university, I found myself in an environment where women were a minority. This stark reality often led to feelings of isolation, imposter syndrome, and the constant need to prove myself in order to be taken seriously. Moreover, the absence of relatable mentors and role models made navigating these challenges even more daunting.
To conquer these hurdles, I actively sought out supportive communities that would facilitate my growth and development. One such empowering community is the Asikana Network, which provides a nurturing space for women in ICT. Through this network, I honed my skills, bolstered my career confidence, and gained access to various enriching opportunities. Collaborating with my peers in this network not only enabled me to acquire new skills but also broadened my horizons.
Creating a Culture of Inclusivity:
Communities like Asikana Network serve as safe havens for sharing experiences, offering support, and empowering women to thrive in the technology industry. By cultivating a culture of inclusivity and belonging, these communities benefit everyone involved. Recognizing the significance of establishing a strong support network, I also joined Developer Circles by Meta (Lusaka), which facilitated connections with professionals in the technology field. These interactions provided invaluable networking opportunities and a platform for continuous learning and growth.
The Power of Mentorship and Role Models:
As technology continues to advance, seeking guidance and collaborating with knowledgeable professionals fosters a sense of community and unlocks endless possibilities for mentorship and collaboration. Throughout my journey, I have been fortunate to have several inspiring female role models who have motivated me to strive for my goals and encouraged me to inspire others to pursue technology. Additionally, my participation in various developer communities, both locally and online, has exposed me to male role models and mentors who have set exemplary standards and helped me enhance my skills. These communities instill a positive influence, not only on me but also on my male colleagues, inspiring a ripple effect of inclusivity and support.
By uniting our efforts and collaborating harmoniously, both men and women can forge a future where equal opportunities and rights are accessible to all, transcending gender as a barrier to success. The transformative power of collective endeavor paves the way for a brighter future for women in technology and innovation.
In this era of technological advancement, it is crucial to acknowledge that achieving gender equality is a shared responsibility. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, fostering supportive communities, and promoting mentorship, we can forge a path towards a gender-equal future. Together, we can unleash the full potential of technology and innovation, ensuring equal opportunities for all.
About the author:
Dalitso Kasonde is a passionate developer of online tools that foster community growth. With four years of software engineering experience, she advocates for women’s empowerment in technology and believes in utilizing technology to connect people.