A young Nigerian woman has founded an ambitious technology project to train and increase the number of African women involved in (STEM) on the continent.
Women in Science has carried several reports and statistics indicating that the number of women in the ICT in general and most specifically in the Sub-Saharan region is significantly less compared to their male counterparts. In addition, women in the sector are also paid way below their male counterparts.
The 2020 findings of the survey conducted by the African Academy of Sciences have highlighted patriarchy as one of the main contributory factors that inhibit more women to take part in science and other related research programmes. The survey also indicated that this practice is still rife on the continent.
EduAbasi Chukwunweike, launched Wentors as a platform to concretely address this marginalisation of women through mentorship and training of over 1 000 in technology. To achieve this objective and ensure more women participate in the ICT Chukwunweike has teamed up with the global technology giant Microsoft’s Microsoft 4Afrika.
The partnership enables Wentors to leverage Microsoft’s bouquet of advanced and latest applications such as Office 365 and Teams to host all its trainings and webinars.
Through this Wentors is able to facilitate mentorships globally and to date it has reached 240 women across four continents, with a community of over 900 members.
Chukwunweike said ensuring that young girls and women in Africa are given the skills to master technology and increase the number of future-ready professionals should be seen as a social, moral and economic imperative on the continent.
She said she hopes the partnership will not only reduce the huge gender disparity within the technology industry but also make it easy for young women across the world to gain footing in the tech ecosystem.
Chukwunweike is a qualified specialist for the Microsoft 4Afrika team having graduated in software engineering with her Masters’ degree in Informatics. She said while she was training at Microsoft 4Afrika, she realised that most of the time she was interacting with men because there few women.
Wentors, said Chukwunweike aims to “raise a generation of vast, well-rounded, innovative and exceptional young ladies who will make an impact, institute positive changes, possess cutting-edge skills in their fields and who equally desire to, someday “wentor” the coming generation of world-changes”.
She added: “We believe the people best situated to nurture these dreams are the women currently in technology and hence we are redeﬁning the mentorship roadmap by building a global community of women in technology who nurture each other.”
Wentors provides cohort programmes over eight to 12 weeks periods during which participants attend an hour-long weekly session with an experienced mentor, receive soft skills training and engage in webinars focusing on a range of topics from personal branding to networking.
Through an advanced AI technology mentors are paired with specific mentees using an algorithm developed in-house. This provides mentors with a mentoring framework, reverts continuous feedback to mentees, and progression measurement indicators for both parties.
Wentors has fostered partnerships with other technology companies and Chukwunweike is confident she will accomplish her mission of increasing more young women in the technology industry. The programme also intends to facilitate growth that enables women to make up 50% of the positions across the IT industry.