Women In Tech

Coding boot camp for bank female employees

In 2017, Tutu Fellow Andiswa Bata launched a coding boot camp for female employees within ABSA bank called Code.it. The objective was to encourage more females to join the technology revolution by equipping them with basic coding skills and allowing them to get exposure to projects within the bank’s digital and data teams. Fifteen women took part in the pilot program in which participants could earn a Python basic programming certification. 

Andiswa was keen to explore ways in which she could tie the good work already ongoing within the bank around Code.it to a broader community impact through a focus on empowerment and development of young girls in the tech space. Both Mandela and Malcolm X served as an inspiration. Malcolm X said “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today”; and Mandela was famously supportive of education as a stepping stone. He said: "Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world".

Andiswa said that good quality education not only opens up more career/employment options for individuals but it helps a nation to build critical skills that support the advancement of medicine, development of technology, and the problem-solving capabilities required to fix our social, economic, and human development challenges. Investment in female education is particularly important. Research shows that educating girls has ripple effects, for example, educated girls are less likely to marry young (under 18), experience teenage/child pregnancy or contract sexually transmitted diseases. Educated girls tend to play a greater role in improving the lives of their families, their communities, and their country. This helps to ease inequality, which is linked to lower instances of extremism and war. 

She noted that there was an acute under-representation of females in technology. Despite the interest shown by girls in STEM subjects in primary school and secondary school, not enough of them go on to pursue university qualifications and careers in these fields. She pointed to news reports in 2017 showing that fewer than 30% of all computer science degrees are awarded to women and that the rate of women in computing roles has been in a steady decline over the last two decades (and currently stands at approximately 25%. Women hold a mere 11% of the top/executive jobs in Silicon Valley companies. 

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