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Empowering Women in AI and STEM: Bridging the Gender Divide

Insights from Salesforce, Uber, Huawei, Future Forex and Drink Nil on what needs to be done to build career paths for women in AI.

The underrepresentation of women in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields persists despite notable progress in gender equality and equity over the last decade. According to the latest UNESCO report on gender-responsive education, biases, social norms, and expectations continue to hinder the educational opportunities and career paths of many girls and women worldwide, particularly in developing countries across Africa.

This gender disparity is particularly evident in emerging fields crucial for the future job market, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud computing, engineering, and data science. STEM careers are pivotal for driving innovation, social well-being, inclusive growth, and sustainable development. Thus, it is imperative to address the underrepresentation of women in AI and other tech-related fields to ensure a diverse and inclusive workforce that can meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Salesforce’s Commitment to Empowering Women in AI

Ursula Fear, Senior Talent Programme Manager at Salesforce, highlights the pressing need to address the underrepresentation of women in emerging roles like AI, cloud computing, and data science. She emphasizes the crucial role of businesses in promoting equity, starting with education. Encouraging more women to pursue STEM is essential for addressing the gender gap in these burgeoning sectors.

Fear emphasizes the importance of cultivating interest in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) among young girls and debunking stereotypes about STEM being a male-dominated field. Salesforce’s initiatives aim to nurture potential and create a more inclusive environment in the technology industry.

Huawei’s Initiatives for Women in STEM

Vanashree Govender, Senior Communications Manager at Huawei South Africa, highlights Huawei’s commitment to ICT education and empowerment through initiatives like Seeds for the Future and the Huawei Bursary Programme. These programs actively target gender-balanced participation, providing women with exposure to cutting-edge technologies like 5G, Cloud, and AI.

In partnership with governmental bodies, Huawei’s Women in Tech program aims to equip women entrepreneurs and ICT students with digital skills essential for the future workplace. These initiatives play a pivotal role in creating an inclusive environment where women can thrive in STEM fields.

Uber’s Support for Female Entrepreneurs

In the male-dominated e-hailing industry, Uber has taken steps to support female entrepreneurship and overcome barriers faced by women in business. Through initiatives like Women Rider Preferred, Uber provides women with opportunities for flexible earning and mobility, empowering them to thrive in the tech-driven economy.

Lorraine Onduru, Head of Communications for Sub-Saharan Africa at Uber, emphasizes the company’s commitment to removing barriers for women and fostering an inclusive platform for female earners.

Future Forex’s Empowerment of Women in Fintech

Future Forex demonstrates its commitment to addressing the gender gap in STEM by empowering and supporting women within the fintech sector. CEO Harry Scherzer highlights the significant contributions of women in key leadership positions, driving innovation and success within the organization.

By investing in the capacity and empowerment of women in STEM, Future Forex aims to cultivate a diverse workforce that drives innovation and success in the fintech industry.

Creating Inclusive Spaces for Women in STEM

Ayanda Mvandaba, CEO of Drink Nil, underscores the importance of purposeful initiatives to create inclusive spaces for women in STEM. Through mentorship, sponsorships, and networking opportunities, Mvandaba actively promotes the participation of women in STEM fields, aiming to bridge the gender divide and accelerate sustainable development.

In addition to personal initiatives, Mvandaba has launched a bursary program to support students pursuing commerce-related fields at South African universities, furthering her commitment to empowering women in STEM.

Efforts by companies like Salesforce, Huawei, Uber, Future Forex, and individuals like Ayanda Mvandaba are crucial in addressing the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields. By fostering inclusive environments, providing education and opportunities, and challenging stereotypes, we can create a future where women lead in shaping technological advancements and driving innovation.

Photo Credit: Freepik

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