By Amy Juelsgaard, Program Associate
TechWomen is a global network of women. While we often categorize the women as a mentor, Emerging Leader or fellow, they are all leaders who share the desire and the will to make a difference in their communities. Numerous women within the TechWomen network – fellows, an incoming Emerging Leader and a mentor – received recognition for their work and community engagement.
The Anita Borg Institute (ABI), a nonprofit organization focused on the advancement of women in computing, awarded ABIE Awards to 2013 fellow Janet Bih Shufor of Cameroon and 2016 Emerging Leader Amanda Gicharu of Kenya. Each year the ABIE Awards recognize female leaders in the categories of technical leadership, social impact, innovative teaching practices, emerging leadership and international change agent. Janet received the A. Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award, which honors educators working to encourage girls and women to study computing, engineering and math through innovative teaching practices. She has been teaching electrical engineering for 15 years in Cameroon and founded a K-12 private school. Janet helps her students to see the importance of STEM through hands-on projects and activities using her own interactive science kits, STEM Boxes.
“Sometimes I wonder if I am doing enough to pay back,” Janet said. “Now when I look back, at how far I have come, I think my little pint of contributions will yield fruit for the next generation of STEM leaders.”
Amanda received the Change Agent ABIE Award, which recognizes women who create opportunities in technology for girls and women abroad. She co-founded Tech Republic Africa, a startup that creates technology education experiences for youth to increase capacity, engagement and innovation within the STEAM fields. Amanda has helped train 172 students from 61 schools through numerous clubs, camps, challenges and workshops. Last year, Mai Temraz, 2014 fellow of the Palestinian Territories, won the Change Agent ABIE Award.
Fellow receives award for work empowering women
Sukaina Al-Nasrawi, 2011 fellow of Lebanon, received the Gold Award for the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) on Advancing Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women on September 8. This award recognizes staff members who have worked to support gender equality within ESCWA and its member countries through prominent and original ideas.
Sukaina currently works as an associate statistician in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Unit at ESCWA. She previously worked as an associate social affairs officer at the ESCWA Center for Women, where she focused on improving gender equity and the empowerment of women through information and community technology (ICT). Sukaina joined the UN’s regional commission in 2003 as a researcher in the ICT division.
Inaugural award honoring women in ICT recognizes fellows
In South Africa, two TechWomen fellows were recognized for the inaugural Women in ICT – Partnership for Change Awards, which “celebrate and acknowledge the contribution by female professionals to the growth and development of the information communication technology sector in South Africa,” on August 31.
Zimkhita Buwa, 2013 fellow, received the Outstanding Women Award for her work in the community. As a committee member of the Silicon Cape Initiative, her responsibilities include understanding challenges women-led startups face while simultaneously promoting them, increasing female participation in the field and encouraging girls to start technical careers. In addition, Zimkhita mentors for Girls Invent Tomorrow, an organization which aims to educate and empower girls in the ICT and STEM fields.
Baratang Miya, 2015 fellow, was runner-up for the Community Builder Award. News24, South Africa’s largest digital publisher, featured Baratang in an interview during which she discussed her organization, GirlHype. In the interview, she expressed GirlHype’s goal to empower girls and youth in the ICT sector as well as her experience with TechWomen. “Being part of that global community of women in tech has been the best,” Baratang said. “Being in that space, the time that I was there and going to Washington, DC, … being pushed to a level that I thought I would never experience is one of the best gifts I received. I can now impact the girls better than I did before.”
Trailblazing mentor makes Forty Over 40 list
In the Bay Area, mentor Myra Nawabi was named a 2016 honoree of Forty Over 40, a list that celebrates innovative women making an impact. Myra founded the Palo Alto Lean In Circle, the largest in the Bay Area with 1,200 active members. Since 2013, she has volunteered as a TechWomen mentor and in May presented a webinar to the TechWomen community on Lean In Circles. Earlier this year, the Silicon Valley Business Journal also named Myra a recipient of the 2016 Women of Influence Award.
From Silicon Valley to Cameroon and beyond, members of the TechWomen community continue to lead the way in the quest to address the gender gap and empower women.