Girls and women generally see jobs in the technology sector as solitary, boring and useless for helping others. These ideas keep girls away from the sector, since they prefer to work with people instead of machines and to perform tasks related to communication and helping others.
Furthermore, there are numerous stereotypes which surround the sector, such as the existence of very long working hours, the predominance of a strong male dominated environment, the difficulty of reconciling personal and professional life, etc.
In the African context, women empowerment has not been fully achieved with women being considered inferior to their male counterparts. It is therefore vital to find out the role of women empowerment in development so as to encourage women empowerment to fully take its course in Africa and Kenya.
The idea of the need to change the image of the sector is found in reports and existing case studies European Commission (2006). Traditionally speaking, the negative image of the sector has been linked to the following factors: Work in the sector is connected to isolation and people with limited social skills. Former Policymaker, John Makeen was quoted as follows “And of course the stereotypes that people have about IT: they normally think that they are people sitting alone with their computers. People in IT are normally very creative and very innovative”. An ICT consultant Jerry Hart was quoted as follows “People just assume that people that work in IT, even women, are kind of nerd. So far I didn’t find any. I mean, there are people really very technical in language, however I didn’t consider them as nerds: most of them are very open-minded, friendly, communicating”. The sector has very hard working hours and schedules European Commission.
In addition, the concept of ICT as an enabling tool for innovations in health, governance, communications, commerce, etc. may well be a telling success factor. This allows for great mobility among types of jobs within the sector and in other sectors whilst also providing an abundance of chances for women to meet their professional expectations. Although the ICT sector has not been exploited by women in a broader sense, it is vital to find out the role of women in the sector and their role in the general development hence the women and technology series on the blog. Some previous studies have already pointed out these ideas as well although work is still needed in this sense.
Although these stereotypes persist, certain things are already changing and some improvements have been made. For instance, companies such as Google have been able to change this image and as a result most young graduates want to work for them. It is important to identify the factors behind women empowerment and their role in development in organizations. The number of women in the IT sector is minimal. Even though the number is minimal, the impact of the women in the sector needs to be highlighted so that more and more women can be encouraged to venture into the sector. So, what now?