Empowering Women in Technology: Lessons from a Successful Woman Entrepreneur in Kenya Case Study No 10

"Over the past decade, Africa has experienced significant growth in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. This can be attributed to the willingness of African countries to realize the transformational potential of ICTs to boost their economies. Unfortunately, despite the important role of African women in the economy of their countries, millions of them have no access to ICTs and they cannot use the ICT facilities. The gender digital divide is so remarkable that institutions at different levels commit themselves to bridge the gap. This paper provides the success story of Judith Owigar who co-created AkiraChix, a space for women in technology to experiment, fail, and excel, with the vision to increase the ratio of women in technology. After five years of activities, AkiraChix has developed many programs intended for women at different ages and impacted hundreds of girls and women in Nairobi. Even if it is too early to assess the real impact of AkiraChix on the issue of the gender digital divide in Kenya, the initiative is to be recognized and encouraged as already done by many international organizations. On the specific issue of women’s access to and use of ICTs, much has been achieved but much more remains to be done to ensure that women in urban and rural regions in all parts of Africa benefit from ICT opportunities. The paper calls for African states to close the gap in gender access to ICT in Africa by promoting and building capacity of women in ICT sector for inclusive achievement of economic development of these countries."