The African women breaking down tech barriers

(CNN) — When I was doing my degree in computer science in Ghana’s Valley View University 10 years ago, there just were seven girls in the class. After four years, only four graduated and out of that number, just two of us have stayed in technical roles. Today, my little sister’s computer science class has at least 30% females and a smaller drop-off rate.

All across Africa, the number of women entering the tech industry is improving thanks to the several nonprofit groups teaching girls how to code and the bigger availability of funds. As a result, more women are training to become tech professionals. Yet, a large number of them are having to leave their jobs after a few years as they can’t break the glass ceiling in an industry that’s still largely male-dominated.

To address this, the Google Developer Group for women was created in Ghana less than two years ago. But soon the organizers came under attack from some men in the wider Google Developer Group community, with comments like "why do you need a women only group?" One guy’s email even said, "leave them alone, maybe they want to create apps about menstrual periods together."

Such attitudes are widespread. I run the Women in Tech group in Ghana and at one of our monthly events one young female computer scientist approached me and said: "They keep telling me I cannot be really good at IT and also be a good wife and a mother." Straight away, I introduced her to Estelle Akrofi, the Google Country Manager for Ghana…

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