Connecting Africa Podcast: Ep. 7 – Coding for diversity
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.
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 also find the hosts online here:
Paula Gilbert (@paulajgilbert)
Tobi Lafinhan (@TobiLafinhan)
Tien Fu (@tienchifu)
- Connecting Africa Podcast: Ep. 6 – Rise of the super app
- Connecting Africa Podcast: Ep. 5 – AI vs. humanity
- Connecting Africa Podcast: Ep. 4 – Cutting out the middleman
- Connecting Africa Podcast: Ep. 3 – Startups, funding and failing fast with Zachariah George
- Connecting Africa Podcast: Ep. 2 – Life, death and affordable legal tech
- Connecting Africa Podcast: Ep. 1 – Creating a fintech giant
— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa