Published on Nasikiliza

Women and girls are the answer to innovation in Africa

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Women in Senegal traditionally have few chances to acquire computer or programming skills. A young woman from Dakar has set out to change that. Binta Coudy De has created a tech hub, Jjiguene Tech Hub, that trains young women in computer and programming skills, preparing them for a career in the high-tech sector.

According the World Bank’s latest report on the state of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) research in Africa, African researchers produce only 1 percent of the world’s research.

As shown in this video, unlocking the talent of women and girls could improve the quality and quantity of scientific research  and tech innovation in Africa.
Equal Skills, Equal Rights: Empowering Senegalese Women through High Tech
Although Africa’s investment in girls and women in STEM has not reached its potential, the world is already benefiting from some of the continent’s high profile success stories:

Dr. Christine Mwelwa Kaseba-Sata is the First Lady of Zambia and an internationally celebrated specialist in obstetrics and gynecology. She spent over 25 years practicing medicine and has invested her last 15 years as a lecturer at Zambia’s only medical school. In October 2012, Kaseba-Sata was appointed as the World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador against Gender-based Violence.

Dr. Agnes Binagwaho is Rwanda’s current Minister of Health. Along with economist Jeffery Sachs, she co-chaired the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal Project Task Force on HIV/AIDS and Access to Essential Medicines. Dr. Binagwaho also serves as a senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. She has been practicing medicine since 1986, and has now contributed over 100 scientific publications.

Before Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was elected as the first woman to chair the African Union Commission, she was making her mark as one of the continent’s biggest scientific actors. Since 1971, Dr. Dlamini Zuma has earned degrees in zoology, botany, tropical medicine, child health, and more. A champion for women’s empowerment, she has broken occupational ceilings in both STEM and development.

Of course, this is only a snapshot of how far our girls can go, if they receive the proper education, training and investment.

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