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Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Bridging ICT Skills Gap: Young Kenyan Women In The ICT Field

Bridging ICT Skills Gap: Young Kenyan Women In The ICT Field
Tracey Ishmael in South Africa HP center end of training receiving a certificate from the trainer Jody Butler. Bridging ICT Skills Gap: Young Kenyan Women In The ICT Field

African countries have been investing heavily in their people so that they can realize social and economic
development. A lot of efforts and thinking has gone into exploring the best ways to harness information
communication technologies to assist in this take off. Both the public and private sectors are establishing
close working partnerships to attract and equip new generations with better skill-sets for careers in ICT and
business.

ICT and business entrepreneurship offers many incentives to those looking for abundant career
opportunities, engaging, cutting edge work, and substantial remuneration. In the world today there are
about 850 million young women. With the ICT and entrepreneur sector now serving as
the world’s single biggest growth engine for jobs, we are in need of their skills, their enthusiasm, and their
fresh ideas. However, the progress has been gradual in Africa, with countries making modest gains in maximizing the full
potential of ICT in social and economic transformation. A number of factors are behind this sluggish
movement, particularly as a result of the huge gender gap in many of the African countries. Thus having
acknowledged the challenges brought about by gender inequalities on the continent, especially in the
ICT sector, many initiatives have been started to address the issue.

The TOT team in South Africa HP center training receiving their certificates after the Life TOT

Gender equality and women’s empowerment can be advanced in several ways through information and
communication technologies (ICT) and business entrepreneur. This empowers young women in that
they are able to establish a business that they have had in mind or have plans of establishing. It helps one
to know different methods to market, or advertise their business. The other way is to facilitate the employment of
women and men equally in the ICT/telecommunication field, business and entrepreneur including at senior levels of
responsibility, and to increase opportunities for women and girls in ICT careers during elementary,
secondary and higher education. One way to do this would be by establishing an international “Girls in
ICT” day, to be celebrated annually, where all ICT and business-related institutions organize an open day for
girls.

Beyond the diversity value, bridging the ICT skills gap is a field where African countries can make the
greatest steps forward thus also meeting future industry needs. In addition to the impact, gender gap may have on
projected skills shortages; the lack of women entering the ICT- business sector currently represents loss of
talent for industry and loss of opportunity for females entering the job market. This pattern of under-
representation of women in ICT is set to continue if more is not done to educate, support and encourage
girls and their role models. Africa needs more cyberellas women equipped with
the e-skills needed for the future. These are key to ensuring Africa retains a major role in the ICT and
entrepreneur sector of tomorrow. Therefore collaboration with industry to ensure we open girls’
minds to the opportunities that are there for them within the ICT and business sector.

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Tracey Ishmael in South Africa HP center training receiving an award for being the best Marketing story teller

Despite having equally good or better grades as male counterparts in mathematics, science and technology
subjects, girls are often actively discouraged by families, teachers and career advisors from pursuing
further studies or careers in this field. Most girls drop out of ICT studies after secondary education. This can
be attributed partly to lack of support from role models, persistent stereotyped views that the sector is
better suited to men, a lack of understanding about what ICT jobs entail, and in some cases, how easy or
difficult they find the subject.

However, a key finding of the study is that girls generally like and enjoy ICT
and business studies and are competent users of computers and computer operating systems.
In particular, it is crucial that we work together to address misguided perceptions of the ICT industry; we
must help young people to see the dynamic and fast evolving sector. This will be in line with our current constitution that states in article 55,

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It is with this in mind that HP LIFE Community, United Nations Industrial Development Organization
(UNIDO) and MEA-I private sectors have their mission to develop and implement worldwide innovative
immersive training programs to improve ICT – business skills to create job opportunities, plus initiated
projects to address this. The firms, aware that ICT is an area traditionally associated only with men, provides
real and exciting career opportunities for women to bridge this gap by supporting innovation,
entrepreneurship and technological progress among young women and men giving equal chances.

The public-private collaboration could also play a role in changing perceptions about the industry, by giving
access to more realistic and authentic information about ICT and business plus ICT careers. In particular,
closer cooperation Education agencies and Ministries, together with industry, are needed to ensure accurate information
about ICT is available to teachers, pupils and their parents. Numerous initiatives have been launched, but
the mainstreaming of such initiatives is required to have a systemic impact.

Happy ICT month

By: Tracy Ishmael

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