Gender diversity is an ongoing challenge for many industries, including ICT. In South Africa, women make up only 23% of the IT workforce. If the sector is going to attract and retain more women, action needs to be taken.
EMC client solutions director Charlene George, says women in the sector need to speak out , share their experiences and show young women and girls, particularly, that there are women in the tech sector and that it offers a wide range of career options.
“We also need to address the stigma that girls don’t enjoy math and that they therefore can’t be good at it,” she says.
Comments EMC channel sales leader Chipo Msimanga, “It starts in the classroom, we need to look at how we teach these subjects – are we keeping children excited and engaged when we’re teaching maths and science? We need to keep it relevant – instead of talking to people about speeds and feeds, talk about technology in a way that’s pertinent to what’s happening today. For example, I used to have to rush home to catch my favourite show at 7pm, now we have PVRs, so I don’t need to do that. That’s IT, and it’s part of our lives.”
What do you do every day? During my career with Mint I have controlled the financials of the business and ensuring that corporate compliance and growth were the two fundamental constructs on which the business has been built. I oversee the governance and HR side of the business, in addition to the financial team. Recently, a change in leadership at Mint afforded me an opportunity to take on operational duties within our Mobile Application Solutions business, which has allowed me to expand my financial skills into business acumen and management. Since then I have driven the dynamic solutions team in securing bigger clients who utilise our DotGo range with their sales force in the pharmaceutical and property evaluation industries.
How did you get into the tech space? During my articles I gained a lot of exposure in different industries and realised that the IT space was a very dynamic and interesting. I was fortunate to be offered a position within the industry over ten years ago, and I have continued my career growth within IT.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? There were a few things, but the one that stands out is to know yourself well and learn to control yourself to influence the environment around you. Do not try to control your environment, you will never win or change it. Focus on what you can control, and consequently you will be happy and always obtain job satisfaction.
What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Have a passion for technology and be driven. There are so many different areas within IT, you do not only have to be a developer – you can go into finance, design, consulting, project management, and so on. The career opportunities are endless, but you need to have the drive.
What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The fact that I make a difference in my environment and add value to every interaction I have.
Who do you want to be when you grow up? The best version of myself.