Gender inequality affects all societies, regardless of race, religion or socioeconomic background. The best way to measure gender equality is to look at the representation of men and women in a range of roles – then the imbalance becomes clear. Men dominate the political and corporate worlds, in industries from entertainment to technology. Thankfully this is one area where South Africa is actually leading the way – albeit slowly – with change.
In no industry is the gender imbalance more obvious than in the tech sector. According to TheMuse.com, women hold just 11 per cent of executive positions in Silicon Valley, and own only 5 per cent of start-ups.
“So many of the prospective students we see want to study IT” says Natalie Rabson of Boston City Campus. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry is growing exponentially, and is an exciting and rapidly-expanding industry. “I believe that this is partly because IT affects every industry, from medicine to accounting. All professions and professionals must have a good IT knowledge, not only to operate in their industry, but also to remain relevant and competitive,” says Rabson. “Unfortunately, there is still a marked lack of female representation in the IT workforce. Boston Education Trust wishes to address this and promote Black females in this industry”.
“MICT SETA has identified ICT as an area of scarce skills, the Trust wishes to make a difference with particular reference to Black females,” says Craig Stollard, one of the trustees. “We identified this gap in the ICT industry, and put a plan in action to achieve our goal of increasing Black Females in ICT by providing financial assistance to cover study fees. “Our goal is, on a national level, to produce IT graduates who will be work ready in their fields and be productive in the ICT sector”
Kennedy Ndlovu, BET trustee, and working in the Sector for nearly 20 years, has identified some challenges for female IT graduates, saying that funds are clearly one of the main issues. Another, he says, is geographical in nature. “Getting to campus, and/ or paying for accommodation can be a great challenge for financially challenged school leavers. Because Boston has 45 campuses nationally, we created easier access for those wishing to pursue higher education in IT. They do not have to leave home”. Ndlovu continues saying, “We have to take socio-economic factors into account. Black females are often carers and homemakers, and it is more productive for them to stay home while they study and not move into a University residence”. And, of course, Ndlovu believes that there are gender stereotypes in this industry. “This industry can be unwelcoming to females – they can enter an IT department and easily be the only female on the team, so many women may be discouraged both from studying and working in IT”, he says.
For many of the Black women and entrepreneurs trying to break into the South African ICT market, gaining access to the required business skills and resources could be the make-or-break for their ICT careers. Stollard aims to change this. “The Boston Education Trust is offering 20 bursaries in IT with applications now open, to start their studies in February 2020,” he says.
Visit www.bostonedutrust.co.za for more details
How to apply:
c. South African
d. Under the age of 35
The Trustees of the Boston Education Trust will choose the recipients of the bursaries based on criteria such as academic results and financial need.
How to Apply
1. Apply for a Boston City Campus IT Diploma online at www.boston.co.za. Application is free.
2. If your application is successful, apply for the bursary at www.bostonedutrust.co.za
3. The closing date for bursary applications is 11 February 2020, before 17h00 (to be in time, please allow 2 working days for your application to register for the IT Diploma to be processed.)