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Young women target expanding SA digital economy

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Director for WeThinkCode Cape Town Campus, Ruvimbo Gwatirisa
Director for WeThinkCode Cape Town Campus, Ruvimbo Gwatirisa

by AKANI CHAUKE 
JOHANNESBURG – AN expanding digital economy, now a prime real estate for young, disenfranchised South African women looking to build their futures in the coding space, is one upside of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This is the observation of an executive who spearheaded a partnership between a financial group and a coding school, culminating in a bespoke programme specifically aimed at inspiring and bolstering the careers of young women.

Momentum Metropolitan Holdings (MMH) and WeThinkCode partnered for the establishment of WomenThinkCode in 2019.

Now, 17 percent of WeThinkCode’s enrollees are females.

The two-year programme was designed to provide the theoretical foundation via the WeThinkCode campuses in Gauteng and the Western Cape and ties this knowledge with real-life work experience with South African corporates.

The project entails getting 15 young women a year into the programme, all of whom would be fully funded by Momentum

Ruvimbo Gwatirisa, the WeThinkCode’s Cape Town campus manager, said the initiative established that female representation in the industry was declining over time.

“It is crucial for the coding academy, which is founded and led by women, to have an initiative to inspire, train and retain more women in our programme,” Gwatirisa said.

Young women are making their way through the programme and performed admirably.

The female interns in this programme account for 25 percent of the internship workforce. Some of them have even had their intern work experiences at Momentum’s offices in Gauteng.

“We believe coding needs to be accessible, especially for young black women,” Nkosinathi Mahlangu, MMH Portfolio Head for Youth Employment, said.

“As a father of three daughters, I want to see that this barrier to access is dismantled and to show our women that this industry is not only challenging and exciting but success within this sector is achievable. The young women at WomenThinkCode have proven that.”

WomenThinkCode came about with the main objective of overcoming the gender disparity in technical roles within the industry.

The IT landscape in South Africa is notoriously male-dominated.

A study by Women in Tech ZA revealed that only 23 percent of local tech jobs are held by women.

– CAJ News