Impact Stories from Empowering Women and Girls Policy Area
Fellows host webinar on intersection of motherhood and STEM
Fellow(s): Houda Chakiri, Unity Chipunza
Country: Morocco, Zimbabwe
Cohort: 2012, 2013
Recently, 2012 fellow of Morocco Houda Chakiri facilitated the webinar “The voices of Moms in Tech during COVID-19,” in partnership with AfChix, a network for supporting African women in technology. The online panel included 2013 fellow of Zimbabwe Unity Chipunza and other women who shared their experiences of being working mothers in the STEM field, especially in light of the pandemic. The webinar is part of a series that was originally part of the cancelled TechWomen Summit meant to be held in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this year. As the summit’s theme was “A Spectrum of Opportunities,” the topic of this panel and upcoming panels focus on cultivating inclusion.
During the webinar, Unity, an educational technologist at the Bindura University of Science Education, talked about overcoming the stigma of thinking e-learning as only for distance learners during the pandemic and how e-learning methods could be adapated towards any sort of curriculum, highlighting that children will be drawn to learning if given the right resources. Houda, a specialist in e-Government solutions, concluded the panel by encouraging attendees to instill hope in the children they are raising through the pandemic: “Moms are coping with the problems we have everyday and trying to solve them,” she says. “But the new generation can give us the solution by seeing this situation from the outside.”
Report Date...: 7/27/20
Fellow featured in 1 Million Women in STEM Campaign
Fellow(s): Nabila Bashir
2018 fellow of Jordan Nabila Bashir was recently featured as one of the role models for the 1 Million Women in STEM Campaign, a campaign seeking to profile the experiences of one million women working in STEM to promote visible role models to the next generation of girls.
Nabila, as the director at the Queen Rania Teacher Academy, helps educators gain STEM professional development opportunities. She credits her time in TechWomen for empowering her to drive change in her community. “Being mentored by a group of professional women mentors through the TechWomen program assured [me] that women need support and role models to excel in their careers and that had a huge impact on my career,” she writes. “So, technology should empower leadership to drive change in community especially through education of girls, mentorship and support.”
Report Date...: 7/27/20
Fellow(s): Alaa Khoja
This week, 2019 fellow of Libya Alaa Khoja celebrated the completion of Teccamp, an eight-week web and mobile app course for young students in Libya. Teccamp is run through Alaa’s employer, Tatweer Research, a company that educates and empowers Libya’s young entrepreneurs. Alaa works as their community development officer, responsible for selecting Teccamp’s trainers and applicants as well as supervising the program. Teccamp’s goal is to instill in its graduates an entrepreneurial spirit, inspiring them to start businesses of their own.
Originally planned to be in-person, the course was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alaa and her team also faced internet issues and persistent 10-hour power outages, requiring them to try different technologies and work together to usher the students through the learning process. Ultimately, their students – mostly comprised of university students and new graduates — were trained in front-end and back-end languages, database design and app development. Trainees also applied their knowledge to innovative projects that they presented at the conclusion of the course. “Teccampers went through a lot this time,” said Alaa. “But nothing inspired me more than their stamina and their love of learning.”
Report Date...: 7/20/20
In guest blog fellow reflects on creating the “Silicon Savannah”
Fellow(s): Josephine Ndambuki
In the latest post on the TechWomen blog, 2013 fellow Josephine Ndambuki reflects on her TechWomen experience and career trajectory that led her to helping create a groundbreaking project in Kenya.
Josephine is the manager for economic development, partnerships and resource mobilization for Konza Technolopolis Development Authority, a flagship project south of Nairobi that is part of Kenya’s Vision 2030 economic development portfolio. Konza Technopolis will be a world-class mixed-use walkable city and innovation hub with ICT, engineering and life sciences sectors. “My acceptance to the TechWomen program signified a new turn; it was the wind that propelled me in the direction of my passion,” Josephine writes. In the post, she recalls visiting an accelerator program in Silicon Valley and learning about tech founders at the forefront of innovation: “As I looked at the company logos in the ‘wall of fame’ I couldn’t help but wonder what it would take for Kenya to have the same thing.” Phase one construction has begun on the tech city, which is projected to create 17,000 direct jobs when it’s completed.
Report Date...: 7/20/20
TechWomen alumnae offer advice and inspiration for TechGirls
Fellow(s): Azhar Mambetova, Dalel Mansour, Faten Khalfallah, Ghada Ameen, Nisreen Deeb, Sara Dib
Country: Algeria, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Tunisia
Cohort: 2013, 2015, 2018, 2019
Recently, TechGirls created a resource for TechGirls participants and girls interested in STEM fields to hear from TechWomen fellows, receive mentorship and learn about careers in STEM. Profiles of Women in STEM features TechWomen fellows from Algeria, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon and Tunisia who created videos sharing their career journeys and the lessons they learned along the way.
Fellows Azhar Mambetova (Kyrgyzstan, 2019), Dalel Mansour (Tunisia, 2015), Faten Khalfallah (Tunisia, 2015) Ghada Ameen (Egypt, 2018), Nisreen Deeb (Lebanon, 2013) and Sara Dib (Algeria, 2019) participated in the initiative, highlighting their career wins and challenges, and offering advice for girls who are curious about STEM. “I chose to teach in technology because I wanted to inspire others…and you can inspire others too,” said Faten, who also gave advice for finding a career in STEM: “I advise all the TechGirls, all the girls, to discover many domains and many subjects. I advise them to choose the career that you love,” she said. Azhar chronicled her career in banking and fintech, speaking about what drives her to mentor others: “In my career, I hadn’t had a lot of role models…and at some point, I decided I can become one,” she said. Nisreen presented on her experience as a woman in tech, encouraging girls to raise their voice, ask for help and give back to their community. “I’m really proud to be a woman in tech,” she said. “Why? Because we can inspire, we can give back to our community and we can help other people.”
Report Date...: 7/13/20
Fellow discusses ethical leadership at UN event
Fellow(s): Sylvia Mukasa
This week, 2014 fellow Sylvia Mukasa shared her insights on advancing gender equality and ethical leadership in a roundtable on Women in Industry and Innovation sponsored by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. Sylvia was joined by Louise Blaise, Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations, as well as CEO’s and women entrepreneurs from India, Mexico and San Francisco.
Sylvia, the CEO of GlobalX Investments and GlobalX Innovation Labs, spoke about how institutions can encourage responsible leadership within their organizational culture: “Leaders must manage resources, be visionary and ethical and focus on long-term goals without compromising values and principles,” she said. “This requires leaders to be agile, think in new ways, be innovative, ask the right questions and be comfortable not having all the answers.” She also included the challenges she’s faced leading as a woman in her industry. “We know the tech sector must do more towards equality, diversity and inclusion to overcome biases, barriers and stereotypes,” she said.
Report Date...: 7/13/20
Fellow featured as advocate for gender equality in STEM fields
Fellow(s): Sadaf Shaheen
This week, 2018 fellow Sadaf Shaheen was interviewed in City Pulse magazine, an online periodical from Amnick, a UK-based social enterprise consulting firm. Sadaf is an international collaborator for their Smart Cities program.
In the feature, Sadaf reflects on the challenges she has faced as a woman in tech in Pakistan, sharing her work to dispel stronglyheld gender stereotypes within the country. “I knew it would be especially hard for me to enter the notoriously male-dominated field given the deeply entrenched gender norms in Pakistan, but I did it anyway,” she said. “Now, I am working as a role model in my native town for young girls.” Sadaf also spoke about her participation in the TechWomen program, as well as her upcoming professional goals. Soon, she hopes to launch a startup that trains women and girls in STEM fields, as well as expand her work as regional ambassador for Technovation.
Report Date...: 6/29/20
Fellow speaks about the importance of representation in tech
Fellow(s): Saba Rasheed Malik
This week, 2017 fellow Saba Rasheed Malik was featured by Wogrammer, an AnitaB.org platform that amplifies the work and impact of international women in STEM fields. Saba is an assistant professor of computer science at the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences as well as the cofounder of weePro, a STEM education program that teaches young students about computational thinking, robotics, programming and more.
In the feature, Saba spoke about her passion for computer science as well as her efforts to increase the visibility of women technologists in Pakistan. She created her initiative, Pakistani Women in Computing (PWiC), in order to foster a network of women who can support one another and serve as role models for the next generation of women in STEM. With nine global chapters, Saba hopes that the network will inspire other women to push forward in their careers despite challenges. “Your mantra of life should be ‘learn and learn and learn!’” she said. “Never get tired of learning.”
Report Date...: 6/22/20
Fellow and mentor collaborate for COVID-19 hackathon
Fellow(s): Binta Moustapha, Dr. Jeannice Fairrer Samani (mentor)
Country: Nigeria, United States
Recently, 2014 fellow of Nigeria Binta Moustapha and TechWomen mentor Dr. Jeannice Fairrer Samani worked together for Hack the Crisis Nigeria, a three-day hackathon for COVID-19 innovation. The effort was a part of Hack the Crisis, a network of global hackathons that aims to harness the power of technology to solve leading crises. 100 Women in Tech Nigeria, Binta’s campaign that amplifies women leaders in Nigeria, organized the event.
Over the course of the hackathon, 50 teams addressed four challenge areas, applying their innovations to healthcare, communications and more. In addition to sourcing tech solutions to COVID-19 challenges, Binta prioritized creating awareness in indigenous languages such as Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. Jeannice, the chair and founder of Fifth Wave STEaM Education initiative, delivered a virtual session on best practices in pitching. In her presentation Jeannice took the hackathon teams step-by-step through a successful pitching process, beginning with identifying a problem and pitching how their idea plans to solve it. “Introduce your company’s product or service as the ultimate solution to these problems,” she said. She also spoke about the importance of identifying a target market, finding an advantage over competitors and laying out a future roadmap. At the conclusion of the hackathon, three teams were given a cash award sponsored by NITDA, Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency, as well as access to consulting services to further develop their ideas.
Report Date...: 6/22/20
Mentor(s): Eileen Brewer (mentor)
Recently, TechWomen mentor Eileen Brewer led a webinar for CareeHer, an online community where women entrepreneurs can network, share knowledge and find mentorship. In her session, Eileen discussed the difference between a personal and professional brand, focusing on the soft skills and emotional intelligence required for success in the workplace and beyond.
Throughout her talk, Eileen stressed the importance of learning skills, life skills and literacy skills when interacting with others. She also shared best practices for communication and collaboration, giving tips on maintaining an open and inviting tone that encourages a culture of knowledge-sharing: “The more we share, the smarter everyone gets, and we all rise up together,” she said. She concluded the session with advice on optimizing social networking platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, reminding the audience to be consistent, positive and intentional with their messaging.
Report Date...: 6/15/20