Articles are written, communities have been started, forums have been organized, and organizations have taken steps to bring women into the technology space. But there is always more to do.
When a woman is asked what was your motivation to take on a career in technology, the answers you hear sound like this.
“I like to solve problems using machines.”
“Making a machine do what you want and break the monotony.” “There is always something new to learn.”
However, many African women have not had the chance yet to find the beauty in a career in technology. Women Initiative Mozilla (WoMoz) was launched in Uganda on 5 July 2014 at Thoughtworks Kampala by Mozilla, the free software community, to introduce more women to a technology career.
Like Thoughtworks, Mozilla has recognized that there are far fewer women in the technology space than men and seeks to change the equation.
The initiative provides a safe environment for women to learn what technology is all about. The community allows women to put whatever they are good at on the table and then creatively use it to contribute to the technology industry. The environment provides women to experience the working environment with help from experienced colleagues. After recognising that there are very few women in the technology industry, the initiative was started with a goal to increase the number of women in the technology industry.
Members of the community are given options to allow them to contribute as per their interest. These include: fixing errors, reporting errors, Application development, and evangelizing – spreading the word about technology, design – coming up with designs for t-shirts or stickers, and event organization.
The theme of the launch day: “Encourage and empower the women to join the technology space.” Thirty participants attended the first event and learned a lot about the different tools that Mozilla provides to make development easier, such as Thimble – an online text editor, X-ray goggles – a tool that helps redesign websites, and popcorn – a tool that helps edit videos. Using these tools, the participants developed two applications and came up with a video.
MozChat (You are not alone)– An online community which helps developers to always find some to ask for help whenever they get stack while doing work.
E-womzilla – An application that shows you how to develop a simple website in less than a day.
A video with the women that have made it in the technology space both internationally and nationally to allow people believe it is not only the international women.
Choosing to be different might just be worthwhile. Having these women in a safe space to share and learn from each other encourages more women to explore a career in technology. Together we can change the equation.
Urban TV, a local Ugandan TV station covered the event. They interviewed a few participants and others.
If you are interested in creating a new WoMoz event, connect with your local Mozilla community.
Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.
Thoughtworks acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land where we work and live, and their continued connection to Country. We pay our respects to Elders past and present. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were the world's first scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.