Software giant Microsoft SA has joined Vodacom as a new sponsor of the Code Like A Girl STEM empowerment initiative. This comes as the telecommunications company yesterday launched the September edition of its Code Like A Girl initiative. According to a statement from Vodacom, Microsoft SA is funding the effort with a sponsorship of $40k (R709 142), ensuring that the program reaches more school-age girls from disadvantaged families.
Vodacom’s Code Like A Girl project, launched in 2017, is geared toward girls in South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo who are between the ages of 14 and 18. In order to give more ladies a head start in the STEM professions and industries, the mobile operator also hopes to encourage women to consider occupations that involve coding.
According to Njabulo Mashigo, HR director at Vodacom SA, women continue to be underrepresented in STEM and ICT careers. Lack of job prospects, gender bias, and a lack of role models to strive to are some causes of this.
“Industry-supported initiatives like Code Like A Girl therefore serve an important purpose in nurturing girls’ confidence in STEM, exposing them to women who are working in technology, and empowering them through education and coding skills. By partnering with Microsoft SA, we aim to further increase representation in the technology sector, as more girls will be able to benefit from the life-changing programme.”
Martin Ndlovu, skills programme manager, Microsoft Africa Transformation Office, adds: “Computer coders have become a key part of countless industries, offering abundant career opportunities.
“Microsoft is a company that is driven by a mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. Our mission is inherently inclusive – without diversity we cannot succeed. Code Like a Girl provides girls with the confidence, tools, knowledge and support to enter and thrive in the world of coding.”
They will also go on a journey to learn empowering life skills while honing their coding, presentation, and communication abilities. Each girl will be able to create her own game app based on important global issues like global warming at the end of the week and present it to the other students in the coding session.
Over 4000 girls have been taught by Vodacom since the program’s inception in South Africa. More than 1000 students from eight provinces participated in 2021, which was the year with the most intake.
“The continued success of the programme since its launch is testament to the tremendous need to close the gender gap in STEM, and equip young girls with the tools and technology to be leaders in the digital age. By connecting more girls through Code Like A Girl, we are helping to build a more digital, inclusive, sustainable future on this continent,” concludes Mashigo.