In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness and acknowledgement of the importance of promoting gender diversity and inclusion within Ghana’s tech industry.
The prevailing dominance of men in the space has resulted in significant barriers for women and other underrepresented groups. This gender disparity not only limits opportunities for talented individuals but also hinders the industry’s overall growth and innovation potential.
Addressing this issue requires concerted efforts from various stakeholders, including industry leaders, organizations, and policymakers. Recognizing the value of diverse perspectives and talents, initiatives are being developed to create a more inclusive environment that empowers females and provides equal opportunities for their participation and advancement in the tech space.
As part of promoting gender diversity and inclusion in Ghana’s tech space, the Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana (IIPGH) with its partners have implemented several female-oriented initiatives, including its recent collaboration with Vodafone Ghana, to introduce computer programming to one thousand girls (1000) across Ghana, dubbed the Code Like a Girl Program (#CodeLikeAGirl).
Code Like a Girl Program
The Code Like a Girl program is an initiative launched by Vodafone and aims to provide young females with digital skills training, mentorship, and networking opportunities. The program is designed to help bridge the gender gap in the tech space and to create a more inclusive and diverse industry that benefits everyone.
Since its launch, the Code Like a Girl program has trained several females in digital skills. The program’s success is due in part to its focus on hands-on training and mentorship, which helps participants build practical skills and gain confidence in their abilities.
IIPGH and Vodafone Ghana Partnership
In April 2023, the Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana (IIPGH) in partnership with Vodafone Ghana trained 1000 girls aged between 7 to 18 years in digital skills. The partnership was a significant step forward in promoting gender diversity and inclusion, as it provided young girls with access to digital skills training that might otherwise have been out of reach. The training was an online (via Zoom) interactive program, instructor-led, in five sessions for 5 Saturdays – April 1st to April 29th, 2023. The online program offered a unique opportunity to reach participants from different parts of Ghana, including urban and rural areas, and beyond. As interactive as it was, the younger female students had their parents/guardians participating and helping their wards through the practical and engaging sessions.
Over two thousand six hundred (2600) females applied for this training. The successful applicants were grouped according to age and each group was introduced to a different module. To facilitate this program, and bearing in mind the need for connectivity, participants were provided Vodafone internet data to connect every Saturday to join their morning/afternoon sessions.
The coding workshop provided participants with the opportunity to learn basic coding concepts in Scratch, Code it! 3D design, and website development.
The scratch module introduced students to the scratch coding platform. They were taught how to use various code blocks to create animations, games, and other interactive projects. Another module introduced was the Code it! platform, which is designed to teach students important coding concepts such as event handling, loops, procedures, and functions. The course, being project-based, included several relatable projects.
Impact of the Program
The Code Like a Girl program is promoting females to take learning and opportunities in digital skills and emerging technologies – the very essence of IIPGH focusing on younger ages (early start). Providing training and mentorship opportunities through virtual platforms allows for larger participation, overcoming the challenges of distance and accessibility that had previously limited its reach.
The program has also helped to challenge the stereotypes and biases that have historically kept females and other underrepresented groups such as the rural communities out of the tech space. Showcasing the talents and abilities of these young females in technology helps to break down barriers and create a more inclusive and equitable space.
This program and other initiatives have demonstrated the importance of promoting diversity and inclusion, not just for ethical reasons but also for economic and social reasons. A more diverse and inclusive tech space can lead to more innovative and creative solutions, better products and services, and more prosperous society. Thus, it is encouraged that policymakers, organizations, and other stakeholders get involved to play critical roles in promoting diversity and inclusivity in the tech space. As digital skills become more relevant than ever, it is just right that females are not left out in this male-dominated space.
The Institute continues to collaborate with organizations to deliver tailored training programs for females of all ages, to encourage and guide them through careers and opportunities in emerging technologies.
Barbara is a, Digital Skills Training Supervisor, IIPGH.