International Women's Day: We need to create a fair playing field for all to enter and excel in

Senior Projects Analyst Dawn Gondo on the roadblocks women in leadership still face and how she has seen diversity in the workplace change throughout her career.

International Women's Day is held annually on March 8th to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women whilst providing a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year, IDG Connect has interviewed women from across the world who work in the technology sector to find out more about the current global landscape for Women in Tech.

The continent of Africa boasts a booming tech sector, rich with entrepreneurship and innovation; making it one of the fastest growing geographies in the world. The number of active tech hubs across the continent has grown by over 50% since 2016, creating a number of technology centres that are attractive to both seasoned businesses and startups from around the globe.

However, despite these inordinate levels of growth, tech companies in Africa have similar statistics around female representation as those in the West. Only 23% of Africa's technology workforce is female and on average, these women annually earn 50,000 Rand (£2,650) less every year than their male counterparts.

While the story at the top level of organisations still paints an unfortunate picture, in recent years there has been a significant uptake in school age girls and young women enrolled in college studying STEM subjects. One figure showed that in the last few years, over 68% of South African women in tertiary institutions had taken up an ICT related course. Considering the fact that over 95% of jobs in the region are now thought to have a digital component, it's unsurprising that young women are starting to make more active decisions about their careers and acknowledging the skills they need to thrive in such a male-dominated industry.

One thing that has continued to thrive across Africa over the past decade is Women in Tech support groups and networks. Women in Tech Africa is perhaps the biggest such group, boasting membership of women in over 30 countries in Africa and has physical Chapters in Ghana, Kenya and London. Nigeria has two groups of its own; Women's Technology Empowerment Centre and AboCoders which teaches software development to girls and women in the North of the country.

AkiraChix in Kenya runs programmes for disadvantaged girls in the region, helping them to build networks by attending hackathons, meetups and conferences. Zambia-based Asikana Networks provides training and mentorship to female high school, college-aged and young professionals. Code4TC introduces girls to development and data science programmes while its fellow South African GirlHype teaches girls and young women programming and app development. I could go on.

Dawn Gondo is a Senior Projects Analyst based in Cape Town providing data integration solutions for Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies and enabling businesses in this sector be data driven. Here, she talks about the roadblocks women still face when taking on leadership roles and how she has seen diversity in the workplace change throughout her career.