ICT gets feminine touch
The broader ICT industry across Africa is changing and many of the traditional stereotypical issues that have impacted the progress of women are being addressed, according to Maya Bucher, chief operations officer at Swicon360.
Bucher says there should be no doubt about the key role that women continue to play in reinforcing service delivery, business growth and development within the ICT sector.
“Traditionally, it has been difficult for women to establish a firm footing within this industry and develop a steady and rewarding career path. The environment, in general, has been restrictive in terms of enabling women to lead companies focused on ICT. But things are changing,” she says.
She says developments in the industry indicate that “stale misperceptions” are beginning to disappear.
“Stereotypical ideas, such as women have little technical knowledge or capability, are also being eradicated. There is acknowledgement of the fact that companies primarily located in Asia use ladies to conduct and manage hardware repairs.
“This is because women have smaller hands and are more adept at handling the inner workings of a machine,” she notes.
While Bucher believes that there are a lot more women entering the ICT industry, she acknowledges that the challenges of achieving work and life balance as well as remaining in the sector still remain.
However, she is optimistic about the direction the industry is taking in helping to empower women and support their contribution to socio-economic development.
According to a recent International Telecommunication Union (ITU) report, women's access to information and their roles in ICT has become a major global concern.
The ITU says the measured access and lack of control over communications technology as well as the stereotypical portrayal of gender roles are some of the problems that the world is facing today.