Takealot throws weight behind digital skills for girls

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 02 Mar 2022
Zandile Mkwanazi, GirlCode CEO.
Zandile Mkwanazi, GirlCode CEO.

South African e-tailer has signed a partnership deal with skills development non-profit GirlCode, to provide 10 million South African girls with digital training.

As part of this initiative, – together with other tech companies – is supporting the upcoming all-women hackathon hosted by GirlCode, in celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March, under the theme: Break the bias.

Established in 2013, GirlCode is a registered non-profit organisation aimed at empowering young girls and women through technology.

Over the years, GirlCode has provided coding training to over 62 000 girls and young women across the country through the GirlCoder Club, which provides an online coding boot camp and hackathons.

GirlCode was born out of recognition of an inherent gender bias in the tech sector, with only 23% of tech jobs in South Africa held by women, says the non-profit.

The #GirlCodeHack hackathon is designed to spark, renew and elevate interest in coding among young women. It also provides young, aspiring software developers with a platform to solve some of the pressing problems faced by organisations in introducing technology-related offerings, it notes.

Nomaxabiso Teyise, Takealot Group’s head of diversity, transformation and inclusion, says: “Uncovering and unleashing extraordinary minds are how we at Takealot have built an innovative and pioneering organisation. Supporting the hackathon and the extraordinary women who will be participating is a ‘no-brainer’ for us, as we are building a business that every South African can feel part of.

“Women are the rock of our nation and we want to break every barrier that prevents them from gaining access to every opportunity that is on offer, specifically in areas like software development, where there is still not enough women participating.”

Other tech companies that will be supporting the initiative include Amazon Web Services, Mint Group, DVT and Lenovo.

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s call to action is to “imagine a gender-equal world: a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination”.

The two-day GirlCode Hackathon will be hosted at 22onSloane, and participants will be required to form teams of two to a maximum of four individuals.

Participants will be asked to find solutions based on common biases when it comes to women in the workplace. On the second day, all teams will pitch their ideas to the judges and the winning concept will be chosen.

“Now more than ever, a generation of engaged, passionate and creative young women are speaking up for themselves and taking their rightful place as innovators in the technology space,” says Zandile Mkwanazi, GirlCode CEO.

“There are many biases young women still have to face, especially in the work environment, and this is a great platform for them to create solutions that address some of these biases.”