By Stephen Macharia,
Every eighth day of the third month each year marks the International women’s day. It is a global day honoring women’s social, economic, cultural, and political accomplishments. This year Oracle academy in collaboration with JKUAT organized a hybrid seminar to discuss “The Role of ICT in Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow.’
This year the hashtag #BreakTheBias has been used around the world to honor women. Marion Karanja, Principal Technology Solution Engineer, Oracle Kenya launched her speech by giving her experience being in a Telecommunication class full of men and being able to compete with them at a plain level, to an instance where a friend was amused that a ‘boda boda’ delivery man can be eloquent in English. However, this should not be the case, having women in a Telecommunication class and a boda boda rider who is eloquent should not be astonishing. This is the bias that needs to stop. In her speech, Marion’s emphasis was for everybody to break the bias at a personal level.
During the Seminar, Ms. Bekere Amassoma, the Oracle academy program Manager in Sub Saharan Africa, shed light in to what the academy is doing in advancing computing education globally to increase knowledge, skills development, innovation, diversity in technology and supporting education since 1993. The Internet is a fantastic enabler, giving female entrepreneurs unparalleled access to global markets for the first time. ICT helps in developing engagements and empowering the future generation of women.
Women are less likely than men to utilize or own digital technology at the moment. Dr. Agnes Naliaka, lecturer Department of Computing at JKUAT also shared with the audience how her journey with ICT was like, giving credits to the vital women who nurtured her. Her physics teacher would repeatedly make affirmations to her that one day she will be an engineer, breaking the bias that women can only handle or have more caring jobs like nursing or office jobs e.t.c. Dr. Naliaka urged all mothers to encourage their girls in Technology, “ I implore you to at least be a member of an ICT community where you can build your capacity as mentors, working with industry players, networking and working simultaneously.”
The moderator Sheila Waswa CEO Chasing Mavericks engaged Dr. Agnes Naliaka and Dr. Geoffrey Chemwa in a Q&A session and later made a call to action for women to market themselves and urged the general public to be intentional about giving support to girls in tech.
The Director School of Computing and Information Technology (SCIT), Dr. Michael Kimwele highlighted the role Oracle academy has played in training and providing opportunities for highly trained human capital in the fast-growing economy. “A greater emphasis should be placed in ensuring that individuals are equipped with strong foundation skills, high level thinking competences as well as social and emotional skills to respond to greater levels of uncertainty,” stressed Dr. Kimwele.
Also, in attendance was, Janet Kamau, the marketing Director Oracle Africa, Lecturer Department of Computing, Dr. Lawrence Nderu, Chairman Department of Computing, and Mrs. Dorothy W. Kahenya, Head of Social Media and Customer Relations Department.