by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – SOME 1 500 young girls are this year set to undergo training in coding, as part of plans to inspire more females to enter the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
Vodacom will facilitate the training, bringing the number of girls trained through the #CodeLikeAGirl programme to 4 000 since 2017.
The programme was launched in Tembisa, east of Johannesburg, teaching coding skills to 20 girls from schools in the area.
Since then, it has expanded to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania.
Njabulo Mashigo, Human Resources Director for Vodacom South Africa, said the company wants to address the under-representation of women and girls in STEM education and careers.
“We’ve seen the immense difference #CodeLikeAGirl makes to these girls, which is why we are building on the programme each year,” he said.
Around the world, STEM graduates are still overwhelmingly male.
A United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) report revealed 35 percent of STEM students in higher education globally are women.
Young women also comprise 3 percent of students in engineering or information and communication technology (ICT).
“The gender disparity in STEM is alarming, especially since these are the jobs of the future,” Mashigo said.
“By teaching high school girls how to code, we’re opening their eyes to sequential thinking around problem.”
Coding is the process of transforming ideas, solutions, and instructions into the language that the computer can understand.
– CAJ News