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Lonwabo Keswa | 12 March 2024

Women in SA are well positioned to become the nation’s solution to major concerns by using the power of technology.

In light of this year’s International Women’s Day theme, ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’, ALX urges SA’s rapidly growing technology sector to take shared responsibility for closing the digital gender gap or risk losing a generation of talented young women in the fourth industrial revolution.

According to recent research by IT Web, women account for only 23% of technology employment positions in SA or slightly less than a quarter of information and communication technology (ICT) roles.

However, women are well positioned to innovate and lead society towards greater services and economic possibilities because they are the heads of most households and the backbone of the communities in which they live.

With the appropriate combination of digital skills, support, and training, women can reach their full potential and become changemakers at the grassroots and boardroom levels.

Organisations should reflect the society in which they operate. Africa loses half of its socioeconomic potential without women at the forefront of programmes promoting change and innovation.

According to the Commission for Employment Equity’s (CEE) 23rd Employment Equity Report for the financial year 2022/2023, the number of women employed in the ICT sector has increased marginally in recent years.

The proportion of women employed in this sector increased from 39.5% in 2021 to roughly 41.3% in 2023.

Technology injustice:

Bridging the gender gap in digital opportunities.

While there was progress in meeting the demand for digital talent in growing economies across the continent, there is still an urgent need to overcome the gender gap and capitalise on women’s latent potential in the technology sector.

SA has one of the world’s highest unemployment rates despite a growing pool of graduates, many of whom lack the skills required to enter the labour market in high-demand areas.

Despite their determination to participate in their own social and economic growth, young SA women are unprepared to address the social and economic issues disproportionately affecting them because of a lack of digital skills and access to infrastructure.

According to a 2023 InformaTech global survey, a lack of expertise is the most significant barrier to entering Africa’s IT business. In addition, 21% of women in technology work several jobs to make ends meet.

ALX is committed to meaningful, effective change in Africa’s digital skills revolution.

ALX aims to develop two million ethical and entrepreneurial leaders from Africa by 2030. It aspires to accomplish this with a specific emphasis on assisting women to participate and lead in creating their communities and the world in the digital age.

ALX, in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation, has created a new six-week, totally online AI Career Essentials (AiCE) curriculum to assist millions of SA women in launching and advancing their careers. The sponsored programme integrates technical knowledge, professional skills, and AI tools training into a single programme to give young female talent an unparalleled opportunity to receive professional AI skills training to advance their careers.

ALX has trained over 97 000 work-ready digital leaders and is expanding its learner community, with over 100 000 enrolled in the first two months of 2024.

Women need respectable and meaningful employment chances, not simply a foot in the door. They have the potential to empower a new breed of flexible digital leaders designed for the 21st century.

Together, we can unlock women’s potential as innovators, leaders, changemakers, and problem solvers who address today’s global problems while recognising women as tomorrow’s changemakers.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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