Skip to content

A closer look at why women are leaving the tech industry in droves The New Times

Despite the increasing number of women who join the technology industry in Rwanda, the latest data shows, the number of those who stay and thrive in the industry continues to decline.

Pacifique Linda Ikirezi, being in the tech sphere herself, founded Women Tech In (WTI), in an attempt to address the problem that bothered her.

The non-profit organization collaborates with both men and women in an effort to find a solution to the issue of how to attract and retain more women in the technology business.

Ikirezi, a final-year student of computer science at the African Leadership University and a product designer at BK Digital Factory, founded WTI in June 2022 with the goal of offering young people, primarily girls, varied types of training to help them debut and advance smoothly their careers in the technology industry.

WTI’s first initiative was a four-week summer program named “Techers Summer Camp.” The training course, which wrapped up on August 13, was designed to give the participants, mainly high school students an opportunity to pick up some free technical and soft skills in the field.

Participants applied via an online application portal. For every seven girls selected three boys were taken on. Ikirezi explained the move as a way to increase the number of girls, given that there are currently more boys than girls in the industry.

The gender inclusive training model also meant to equip the 25 young people who attended with 21st century employable skills, empowering them to become self-reliant.

“My key takeaways from this camp were the public speaking tips and presentation practice,” shared Honore Rukundo, 17, from Rwanda Coding Academy.

“Even though I was already in this domain, I always struggled with how to communicate my ideas to other people so it helped a lot.” he said.

The young participants showcased what they had learned during a demo event that WTI organized on the last day of the camp. Their final task was to build a website or update an out-of-date one.

“I’ve always felt that coding was fun, but I would assume that I couldn’t do it. I jumped at the opportunity when it presented itself, just to have something to do during holidays. But it ended up being a lot of fun for me,” one of the members of the team that developed a movie site, Ketia Ineza from SOS Technical Highschool, said. “Not only did I learn the basics of coding, but I also learned more about team work.”

In attendance was Eng. Jennifer Mutabazi, head of Software Engineering department and IT Lecture at Adventist University of Central Africa, vice president RWASI, Founder and CEO RWA TECH HUB, and other key players in the industry, who all promised support to the cause.

The first cohort of teachers, who got certificates as proof of program completion, will be assigned mentors to continue monitoring their development in the field.

As WTI looks forward to increasing the number of students they impact, more schools are encouraged to join the cause.

[email protected]