Women At Microsoft Encourage Young Kenyan Women To Take Up Careers In IT

Microsoft Digigirlz Wanjira Kamwere Intel SSG Agatha Gikunda JUUCHINI

About 120 young women and girls from high schools in Nairobi last weekend received career guidance during this year’s Microsoft DigiGirlz day event themed “Shaping The Future For Digigirlz” which was co-hosted by Microsoft and Intel. The engagement aimed at taking the vibrant and determined young women through business and various ICT topics on the latest innovations in technology and opportunities in the sector.

“Most of our girl students shy away from sciences and IT with the notion that these are hard and a reserve for boys. We have been trying to encourage them to take these up and dispelling the myth that any of the sexes is brighter than the other. We are happy that ladies in Microsoft are here to show ladies can play an active role in ICT and to encourage and nurture our students. “Said Amos Nduyoh, Deputy Principal St. Martin Girls Secondary School.

Throughout the day, the girls received advice and interacted with different speakers from partner organizations, among them Intel East Africa’s SSG Lead, Agatha Gikunda, who encouraged them to stay active in Business, Science and Technology programs and to pursue degree courses in ICT related fields.

“Events such as DigiGirlz help demystify the industry by profiling successful Kenyan women in IT. Relevant role models are essential in creating an interest in the IT field and helping young women visualise a career in IT,” said Agatha Gikunda, Software and Sales Lead, Intel East Africa. “However, an interest in IT does not only prepare women for a career but also empowers them with ability to leverage technology in their daily lives to access information and convert it into knowledge,” she added.

Nearly 19,000 students have attended and gained the Microsoft DigiGirlz Technology Programs which can either be a camp or a one-day event since they began in 2000. Read about our coverage of the 2012 Digigirlz event here.

DigiGirlz gives girls the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Microsoft employees, participate in workshops and product demonstrations.

Speaking during the event, Microsoft Education Lead East and Southern Africa Wanjira Kamwere said Microsoft’s DigiGirlz program aims to provide young women with the necessary expertise and direction to succeed in a more tech savvy industry. “We believe that this event will encourage young ladies to take up IT as a career leading to a more balanced gender distribution in the sector, that is currently male dominated.”

Digigirlz is in line with Microsoft’s YouthSpark Global initiative which aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth in more than 100 countries in three years till 2016.  In the first year alone, Microsoft YouthSpark has impacted about 100 million youth.

“This companywide initiative includes DigiGirlz, Citizenship and other company programs — both new and enhanced —that empower youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship”. Said Wanjira Kamwere

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