Huawei Kenya has launched an initiative aimed at supporting women in IT workplaces. The programme, Women In Technology Huawei (WITH), will see women undergo charitable training in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, a space that has long been dominated by the male gender.
“We realized there is (a) need to give opportunities to women in the ICT field by ensuring they are mentored and trained to enable them (to) take up senior management positions,” said Stone He, CEO Huawei Kenya.
Through WITH, Huawei aims to take a more systematic approach to address women taking up technical careers. The innovative program aims to empower, connect and support current and future generations of women and girls to take up opportunities and careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Not only will this program launch a new phase of digital entrepreneurship for women, but the skills gained will also make them more employable.
Women in Kenya are underrepresented. The socio-cultural hurdles that they encounter makes it almost impossible to flourish in the formal sector.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the modern or formal sector employment had 880,000 women compared to 1.68 million men in 2016. This shows that men are more employed in key sectors related to science and technology.
Furthermore, a report by Daily Nation highlights that the exclusion of women from STEM is not unique to Kenya but common around the world.
Due to the fact that women are primarily viewed as caregivers in the home, social gender bias discourages women from treading this sector. Huawei is looking to change this stereotype and hopes to reach over 4,000 women and girls in the next 12 months.
“It is our hope that one day Huawei will have a local female chief executive. We look forward to have more women at the management level and the goal can be realized if we provide them with necessary skills,” He said.
Various partners were hosted from across Huawei’s value chain – customers, suppliers, academic partners, charitable partners, channel partners and peers – to discuss how to collaborate to drive the WITH agenda together.