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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Women & Information Technology

This post celebrates women in technology: African software developers who are helping farmers and African American developers, such as Trish Millines Dziko of Technology Access Foundation (TAF), who are helping their communities.
Trish Millines Dziko of TAF

In the United States, like elsewhere, women make up a very small proportion of the technology sector. Minority women are an even smaller percentage of that. Efforts are under way to encourage young girls to "take up tech" through STEM programs as well as non-profits. One organization recently reported on is Black Girls Code.

A major hurdle facing farmers anywhere is access to information about market conditions: transportation, weather, commodity prices. This is particularly acute amongst small farmers in areas lacking in adequate infrastructure: phone systems, roads, local banks, other government support services. A major hurdle facing women in technology is attitudes towards them based on their gender and a lack of opportunities. This is particularly acute in countries where access to education for girls and women is under supported by society in general.

Judith Owigar of Akirachix
An exciting example of change in recent years, has been the surge of young Kenyan women in the tech sector who decided to take matters into their own hands. A number of women organized into groups/businesses to, amongst other activities, provide tech support to farmers and to mentor young women coming up behind them. Two examples of such efforts are M-Farm and Akirachix. These technology leaders took advantage of the infrastructure void that had been filled by mobile phones. Most farmers had access to mobile phones, since acquiring a mobile phone was easier than getting a land line. Efforts had been made years ago to encourage emerging "communications entrepreneurs": one person in a village would get a mobile phone and rent out minutes to customers. This eventually led to other community members acquiring phones. So, the software developers created apps for cell phones enabling farmers to bypass corrupt middlemen, check on market conditions, and do their banking without needing to make a long trek to the nearest town.

These few examples, as well as the information provided through all the links above, are an indication of just how, when given the opportunity and taking a chance, people create value, excitement, and change in everyday life.


5 comments:

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  2. It is very true that women are playing a vital role to the development of information technologies and their achievement to this sector are really great yet. I hope in future they will able to show more tremendous work on this sector. Thanks :)

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  3. I've read your post "Women & Information Technology". Thanks for sharing worthy information!

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  4. when given the opportunity and taking a chance, people create value, excitement, and change in everyday life. ftp filezilla download

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