Coding training alone won't boost diversity, SA women tech leaders say

Increasing diversity in tech is less about skills and more about changing culture, demanding delivery on promises and challenging industry norms, say these South African women tech leaders.

nyari samushonga
Nyari Samushonga

While coding academies and training programmes provide opportunities for individuals to gain skills that hold value in the marketplace, a change in culture is needed to bring more  diversity and inclusion to IT, say women leaders involved in tech education.

Training initiatives can contribute towards solving the problem but this approach is not a silver bullet, according to Baratang Miya, CEO and founder of GirlHYPE, a South African non-profit organization that teaches women and girls how to code and encourages them to pursue tech careers.

For Miya, it's not a matter of upskilling more diverse candidates, it's a matter of making sure that tech environments are more open and accepting of people who don't look and think like everyone else.

"You cannot be what you can't see. It's really hard for a young girl to see herself working in the tech industry one day if she looks at the most successful tech leaders and none of them look or sound like her," she says. "If there are so few examples of successful women in tech jobs, it's tough for a young women to believe that she can do it, especially when society still tells her that some careers are more suitable for men and some are more suitable for women."

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