Women in IT

As South African women rise in ranks, IT faces need for faster change

Gender diversity has improved in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa, but IT leaders need to attract more women to keep up with technical innovation, industry insiders say.

Women are increasingly joining the ranks of senior business management in South Africa, but IT leaders are under pressure to do even more to promote gender diversity and recruit the talent needed to keep up with the pace of technological change.

The vast majority of South African companies have diversity programs in place and the country -- along with many other sub-Saharan nations -- is experiencing an uptick in the number of women holding senior positions, according to recent market research reports. Women are still underrepresented in the workforce, however, and this can have drastic consequences in the evolution of emerging technology such as artificial intelligence, analysts say.

Compared to other regions, Africa in general has a progressive gender-diversity record.  In 2018, 89 percent of African businesses had at least one woman in a senior management position, up from 82 percent a year earlier and higher than any other region (including Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, EU, Latin American and North America), according to Grant-Thornton's "Women in business: beyond policy to progress" survey.

South Africa embraces diversity programs

Meanwhile, 94 percent of certified employers in South Africa report having specific diversity initiatives in place to help women progress into senior management, according to the Top Employers Institute.

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