Google introduces Womenwill in SA
Google SA has launched Womenwill, an initiative aimed at creating economic opportunities for South African women, by equipping them with digital literacy, entrepreneurship and leadership skills.
The initiative, announced today at Google's International Women's Day celebration, was simultaneously launched in Nairobi, Kenya and Nigeria, bringing the number to 25 Womenwill chapters across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking at the launch held in Johannesburg, Mich Atagana, Google SA communications and public affairs head, said the initiative is Google's way of helping to bridge the magnitude of the gender-based disparity in SA.
"Womenwill is a global initiative that we've introduced in other countries across the globe, including Mexico, Brazil, Japan and India, to create economic opportunities for women through training and workshops focusing on financial literacy, digital skills training, advocacy work and networking skills; empowering women to tap into their full potential.
"Participants will be able to use these skills in various areas such as starting a business, in the workplace, at home; it's up to them. The current gender gap could be solved if women have the same access to resources and skill acquisition sources as men."
The technology giant has selected four women who will lead each chapter by supporting other women within their communities through implementing training programmes, using Google's latest technologies.
The new chapter leads are Farah Fortune, founder of African Star Communications (Johannesburg); Angela Sikwabane (Polokwane); Khani Mhlogo (Pretoria); and Rorisang Tabane (Cape Town).
They will all work alongside volunteers in implementing the various skills development projects to be held in their local community centres. The centres will be equipped with computers, infrastructure, Internet access and other technologies.
"Being part of this initiative is an amazing opportunity for me to impart my knowledge on the skills I've acquired in more than a decade of running my own business," noted Fortune.
"I'm hoping to help as many women as I possibly can through the various skills training workshops, while also learning along the way. Entrepreneurship is not for everybody, so we hope this initiative will also provide a platform to help those who want to gain a diversity of skills to help them progress in the workplace."
Since 2016, Google has worked to upskill youth and SMEs throughout Africa through its Digital Skills for Africa programme aimed at helping them find employment opportunities and grow their businesses.
Google says it has trained over three million people in total, of which 48% are women.
"Our digital skills training has been offered in 29 countries across Africa with over a million people recording business growth, starting new businesses, finding jobs or growing in their current jobs.
"Through Womenwill, we hope to continue our focus on diversity and gender equality into 2019 and beyond, and enable South African women to take better advantage of the opportunities that mobility and connectivity bring so that they can improve their lives and the lives of those in their communities," noted Atagana.