Almost 80% of South African companies are battling to fill tech positions, and women hold just 23% of tech jobs.

The situation calls for urgent intervention, acccording to Johannesburg-based coding training institute HyperionDev, which advocates inclusive learning as a practical solution.

HyperionDev runs online coding bootcamps to help people acquire certifications in software development, data science and web development.

Simone Botes, head of education
operations and impact at HyperionDev, says gender disparity within ICT ndustry stems from a combination of historical, cultural, and structural factors.

“Traditional gender stereotypes and social norms often steer women away from science, ttechnology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Also, the lack of prominent female role models in tech can contribute to the perception that technology is not a welcoming arena for women,” says Botes.


She adds that education systems don’t provide equal encouragement and resources to young girls who may be interested in technology. “This results in fewer women pursuing tech-related degrees and careers.”


The situation is exacerbated by workplace cultures that give rise to sexism and bias, says Botes. “This can lead to limited career advancement opportunities and higher attrition rates among women compared to their male counterparts,” she adds.


Tech opportunities exist

Despite the chellenges, there are plenty of opportunities for women entering the technology fieldd.


Botes cites research by McKinsey & Co. which estimates that machine learning, artificial intelligence, and advanced robotics could generate 4.5 million jobs, resulting in a net gain of 1.2 million new employment opportunities in South Africa by 2027.


HyperionDev advocates inclusive learning as the best approach to adopt to create employment opprtunities and address gender disparity.


By providing tailored support where necessary, inclusive learning helps to level the playing field, allowing girls to thrive academically.


Simone Botes, HyperionDev

The company defines Inclusive learning as an educational philosophy whereby all students, regardless of their background, identity, or abilities, are provided with equal opportunities to succeed. It involves adapting teaching methods, curricula, and learning environments to accommodate the diverse needs of learners and to ensure that every student feels valued and supported.


“By implementing an inclusive learning strategy, educators can significantly impact the gender gap,” Botes continues. “For instance, in STEM education, where girls have historically been underrepresented, inclusive learning can involve using gender-neutral language, integrating examples of successful female role models in the field, and actively combating stereotypes that can discourage girls from pursuing these subjects.”


This approach includes strategies that recognise and address specific challenges that some girls face, such as cultural expectations, socioeconomic barriers, or limited access to resources. “By providing tailored support where necessary, inclusive learning helps to level the playing field, allowing girls to thrive academically,” Botes says.

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