A seminar to discuss the impact of digital transformation and challenges faced by women in the ICT sector has heard that only 13% of SA graduates in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields are women.
This trend is what spurred Tuesday’s dialogue, convened by Gauteng MEC for Finance and e-Government Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, and is expected to develop 15 points which will be implemented through the province’s Department of e-Government.
“Many women out there still fear technology and are not exposed to opportunities. However the advent of the Fourth Industrial revolution doesn’t give us that opportunity to be in doubt. Technology doesn’t wait for you, it will definitely not wait for us, we need to be ready for it and tackle it head on.” said Nkomo-Ralehoko.
The discussions around women in the ICT sector comes as German multinational Siemens said digitalisation offers Africa the opportunity to accelerate growth and rapidly expand struggling economies.
The company added that decision-makers must get strategies in place quickly in order to succeed.
“Experts say the urban population in Africa is expected to grow to 56 percent in 2050 from 35 percent in 2010, and this rapid urbanisation will require robust infrastructure to ensure expanding cities are hubs of growth and commerce,” Siemens said.
The event will be attended by women representing stakeholders in the ICT sector and is part of the department’s Women’s Month programmes which seek to equip women with information and skills to be active participants in the sector.
“And I don’t know why we are not in the forefront of digital transformation because women have been a vanguard of any process that has transformed society. Even during the times where we didn’t have a voice, we would always find a way to make a statement. And when we do everybody listens,” Nkomo-Ralehoko told delegates.
She said Rwanda is an apt example of successful emancipation on the continent from which South Africa can draw lessons.
She added: “However we are not here to complain, by now we know what are the problems are, we seek solutions and action.”