TechWomen in Cape Town: Inspiring the Next Generation of Tech Leaders

Members of the TechWomen delegation with learners from the Center of Science and Technology (COSAT) High School in Khayelitsha
Members of the TechWomen delegation with learners from the Center of Science and Technology (COSAT) High School in Khayelitsha

From January 28-30, 2015, a dynamic group of international women leaders in technology came to Cape Town to engage with women and girls who are striving to become future leaders in the tech industry in South Africa.  The visiting group was part of TechWomen, an organization sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the Institute of International Education to empower, connect, and support the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East.  TechWomen provides them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities.  Through mentorship and exchange, TechWomen strengthens participants’ professional capacity, increases mutual understanding, and expands girls’ interest in STEM careers by exposing them to female role models.

Future girl coders at the Bandwidth Barns
Future girl coders at the Bandwidth Barns

The TechWomen visiting Cape Town were from the United States, Egypt, Palestine, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Zimbabwe and represented companies such as Twitter, Brighthouse, Proctor and Gamble, Sun Edison, and Symantec.  The group met with future girl coders at the Bandwidth Barns in Khayelitsha and Woodstock and attended a networking event sponsored by the State Department and Cape Town’s Silicon Cape Initiative.  At the networking event, U.S. Consul General Teddy Taylor addressed the group, highlighting the importance of mentors linking up with protégées.  The group was also greeted by Deputy Minister of telecommunications Hlengiwe Buhle Mkhize and City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Corporate Services Xanthea Limberg.

To sum up the impact of the visit, TechWomen mentor, Mohna Dhomse, Senior Manager at Symantec said, “It has been a life-changing experience.”  For more on TechWomen, please visit: https://www.techwomen.org/