As the nation celebrated International Women’s Day earlier this month it is imperative that we recognise women for their achievements not only that but also celebrate their contribution in the world of technology. With gender diversity especially in ICT being an ongoing challenge, women have to constantly prove their capabilities and strengths. More women are providing ideas that are disruptive and use these to make meaningful change in people’s lives .
Women have confidently made their mark in a fast-paced, ever-evolving sector and they continue to empower other women as they move along the corporate ladder. Organisations such as the Ghana Code Club a volunteer led, after-school digital fun club that equips children between the ages of 8-17 years with coding skills is one distinct example. This initiate is run by Erestina Appiah who is the founder and a leader in the IT sector Let’s take a look at some of the women, listed on Women in Tech Africa, who continue to be pioneers in this ever growing fast-paced industry.
Olatorera Oniru, Nigeria
Olatorera Oniru born in 1987 is a young entrepreneur who founded Dressmeoutlet.com, a Lagos-based e-commerce startup that retails fashion products sourced from across the globe. Olatorera also founded Nigeria’s leadership program Top 100 Our Generation, in 2007; a company that brought together and inspired many of today’s young leaders. Olatorera flourished her career working for two Fortune Top 5 companies namely Bank of America Merrill Lynch and General Electric. She also worked for one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, Lars Magnus Ericsson, as a global consultant and later as Head of Sales Governance.
Nneka Offor, Nigeria
Nneka Offor is the founder of SkillBoox; an online learning marketplace that is focused on creating courses for personal, professional and employ-ability skills development. With the emergence of Mobile Learning Technology (MLT), SkillBoox addresses the need for improved performance by providing on-the-go affordable, effective and self-paced eLearning. Prior to SkillBoox, She worked as a Business Development Officer in a facility management company where she participated actively as projects team member to improve efficiency, reduce costs and assist in improvement of services through customer experiences.
Dr. Chao graduated with a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Cape Town in December 2015. She contributes to IT through academia, her research focuses on supporting learners from resource-constrained environments, to learn programming on their mobile phones. She was a recipient of the Schlumberger Faculty for the Future award in 2015 and was also selected as one of 200 young researchers worldwide in Mathematics and Computer Science. Dr. Chao was also one of the winners of the 2014 Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship.
Heather Beem, Ghana
Heather holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During her time in graduate school and at D-Lab, she developed a passion for STEM education and indigenous innovation. At D-Lab, she co-founded and co-instructed D-Lab: Education in addition to mentoring students from other D-Lab classes. While at MIT, she began developing the Practical Education Network (PEN) with a team of fellow students and others. Heather has been leading PEN in their pursuit of scaling experiential learning in resource-limited settings. She has worked with hundreds of students and teachers from Boston to Ghana to Peru.
Nisha Maharaj, South Africa
Founder of Niche Integrated Solutions, an ICT solutions company that brings innovative solutions to Africa, Nisha Maharaj is a South African tech entrepreneur. Niche Intergrated Solutions provides software solutions, ICT managed services and Training. Nisha has accumulated service record of 20 years working experience within South Africa’s major listed companies ranging from the top four banking and financial services companies, to the telecommunications sector – of which more than 14 years she served at either executive management, general management or COO level. She is the Ernst and Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women Class of 2015.
Ernestina Appiah, Ghana
Ernestina Appiah is a 38 year-old social entrepreneur and the founder of the Ghana Code Club an after school activity program being organized in all basic schools in Ghana for children between the ages of 9-18. The NGO works with ICT teachers from each school by creating projects and training them to meet goals and objectives. These projects teach children how to program by example showing them how to make computer games, animations and websites. Ernestina was listed on BBC inspirational women for 2015. She worked as a secretary for an IT firm and that is where her love for IT began. With little finance and resilience Ernestina decided to get in touch with a web designer who for a small fee introduced her to basics of HTML . She eventually registered her NGO Healthy Career Initiative in 2007.
Rahmat Lasisi, Nigeria
Nigerian born and raised, Rahmat Lasisi is the co-founder of and Chief Technical Officer of Dexterity Solutions based in Lagos Nigeria. Rahmat Lasisi is a graduate of Computer Science from Lagos state University. Dexterity Solutions is a custom software service firm. Their specialties are bespoke applications, mobile applications, web applications, interactive web design and development, POS applications, online learning platform, ICT empowerment and Capacity Building.
Omnia Shawkat, South Sudan
Omnia Shawkat is a co-founder of Andariyya a bilingual digital cultural magazine on Sudan and South Sudan. During 2012 and 2013 Omnia conducted an on-the-ground exploration of the Sudanese cultural scene that was then complemented by a survey of Sudanese blogs to study whether the richness of Sudan’s cultural diversity was justly reflected online.
Mathebe Molise, South Africa
Mathebe is the founder and CEO of BeautyonTApp an application that enables individuals to find beauty services and products in their area. The application seeks to empower skilled individuals with beauty businesses who may not have the capital or know how to grow their beauty businesses. Mathebe is a qualified Charted Accountant and served as a committee member on the African Women Chartered Accountants (AWCA) Power Tea committee from 2013 to 2015. Mathebe was recently invited to represent AWCA on the SAICA Legal and Compliance Committee as of May 2015 and currently serves this committee.