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Female leaders are integral to ICT industry growth

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In2IT chairman Tshepo Mokoena with his firm’s female talent.
In2IT chairman Tshepo Mokoena with his firm’s female talent.

In marking the 16 Days of Activism, local technology firm In2IT has hailed female talent in the ICT sector, urging companies to promote equal opportunities in the workplace, so as to increase creativity and productivity.

Last week, the company celebrated women in ICT as part of its efforts to raise awareness of gender-based violence (GBV).

In2IT chairman Tshepo Mokoena called upon the ICT sector to increase female talent participating in projects, saying the sector must lead in the fight against GBV by empowering women through skills and nurturing.

“Pay them equally as men, in the fields they share with their male counterparts. Give them leadership roles, or an equal opportunity to access leadership roles.”

This, Mokoena says, will among other things lead to the creation of effective tools that can be leveraged to support the work of tackling GBV.

SA has witnessed an alarming rise in GBV cases in recent months, and the county is now leaning towards tech solutions in preventing and responding to the violence.

Multiple tech solution were unveiled in the past few weeks to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism, such the Lawyered Up app, which will provide free legal online counsel to GBV survivors.

Businessman AB Moosa, CEO of Avalon Group, introduced an anti-gender-based-violence and femicide app, which is being billed as a new way of quashing the scourge in SA.

In July, big tech firms such Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter also announced plans to ensure their platforms don’t serve as breeding grounds for online abuse against women and girls.

Calls to nurture and empower female talent in the digital space have been growing in recent months. As ICTs are increasingly emerging as a key catalyst for development in the wake of COVID-19, business leaders and analysts alike believe empowering women in the sector is critical.

In an interview with ITWeb, In2IT Mokoena says when developing new tech solutions, women must lead the projects.

“This will help in terms of developing solutions that are relevant and effective. As a company, that is what has been a driving force behind the solutions we've brought into the space,” he says.

“We train them and encourage them to improve their skills base so they can have a fighting chance of getting opportunities at higher levels. We are also creating an environment of management gender parity at managerial levels as a standard commitment to ensuring women get a seat at the table.”

Commenting on whether the ICT sector is playing a meaningful role in empowering women, beneficiaries of In2IT projects lauded the industry but cautioned that “the percentage of women in the industry is low right now”.

“I started as an Intern in this company I am now on a senior level. This really inspires my colleagues to work hard because back in the day, senior positions would be offered only to male employees but now the time has changed. We now see a lot of women in senior positions in ICT sectors,” says Busisiwe Sikiti, In2IT network engineer.

Mmashego Masemola says ICT plays an important role in changing the social and cultural behaviour towards females and female talent should be allowed to lead.

“Access to and use of ICTs aids in assisting women with the ability and freedom to take control over decisions that shape their lives, be it economic, social, political or cultural, by helping them to build their capacity to utilise their own potential and get educated on various issues, get involved, be heard, and grow,” she comments.

In2IT recently completed the first leg of its internship programme, with over 200 young graduates receiving globally-recognised professional certifications.

The interns walked away with various professional certifications, including 40 who received Cisco CCNA certification and 30 issued with Huawei’s HCIA routing and switching professional certification.

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