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Digital Inclusion

Connecting Africa Podcast: Ep. 7 – Coding for diversity

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In this week's episode, the team talks about diversity and inclusion in tech with guest Baratang Miya, founder and CEO of Girlhype, who has been running a coding school for underprivileged girls and young women in South Africa for almost two decades.

Miya explained how Girlhype came to be and all the twists and turns and career changes she had along the way.

In one of the most candid interviews we have done so far, she shared her story of growing up in Apartheid South Africa and facing discrimination when it came to tertiary education because she was pregnant.

It was not an easy road, but she started a business, saved money and eventually made her way to university in the late 90s where she thrived but also struggled to balance her studies and childcare.

A unique opportunity introduced her to the world of computer science when she signed her three-year-old son up to play Minecraft for a university research study. Her eyes were opened to a new world and it sparked a passion to help underprivileged people gain the skills and knowledge that they need to begin a career in tech.

"I've always been driven by diversity and inclusion and I know that if you are on the other side you are very disempowered. I succeeded because there was always someone to open the door for me … but I had to learn to use my power," she said.

Diversity and inclusion have driven everything she does and led to her starting Girlhype in 2003 with a single purpose – to empower marginalized women and girls to build a long and lasting career in the tech industry.

Her story led to a discussion about seizing opportunities when they come your way and embracing mentors of all kinds. However, Miya also shared how she learned to assimilate to situations and take on the characteristics of successful men in order to become successful, but how it can be a double-edged sword that can push other women away from an industry seen as non-inclusive and unwelcoming.

Finally, the team spoke about mentorship and how there are not enough formal mentorship programs for women in tech, but how things are also changing and improving for women in this space.

Baratang Miya, founder and CEO of Girlhype. (Source: LinkedIn)
Baratang Miya, founder and CEO of Girlhype.
(Source: LinkedIn)

Two more episodes are on the way for this series covering the topics of tech in education and Africa's digital divide with hosts Paula Gilbert, Tobi Lafinhan and Tien Fu.

You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts; Spotify; Google Podcasts or find other podcast platform options on our main page on Anchor.

You can also find the hosts online here:

Paula Gilbert (@paulajgilbert)

Tobi Lafinhan (@TobiLafinhan)

Tien Fu (@tienchifu)

Related posts:

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

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Archived webinars

Meeting SME’s where they are - Building inclusive ecosystems for Africa’s small business owners

Micro and small businesses have been, and still are, the spine and lifeblood of the African economy, making up 90% of businesses on the continent.

Many of these businesses have still been operating in traditional ways and serving non-digital customers. With Covid-19 expediting the digital transformation process, businesses - big and small - have been forced to adapt to operate successfully in a more digital-first environment.

To ensure that the digitalization of Africa’s market doesn’t leave micro and small businesses behind, digital solutions must be inclusive and create business-ready environments. But how can we ensure that African SMEs become digitally enabled?

In this webinar we will share from our own experience on how to create such an environment, and the actions we took in vcita to get there, including:

  • Closing the digital literacy gap through tech inclusion 
  • Making a positive impact on local communities
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world

Register Here >>

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