Huawei graduates ‘pioneering space for more women to work in ICT’

Huawei graduates. | Supplied

Huawei graduates. | Supplied

Published Apr 18, 2024


YOUNG women who are part of the Huawei Graduate Programme are forging ahead in proving that there is no place for ‘gender stereotypes’ within the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

Even though the ICT sector remains dominated by men, the Huawei Graduate Programme in celebrating International Girls in ICT Day, celebrated officially on April 25, showcased some of their brightest female recruits who were making significant contributions and showing how women and girls were just as good if not better than their counterparts.

The programme initiated in 2017 has been a catalyst for empowering young professionals in the ICT industry, recruiting hundreds of graduates from universities across South Africa and broadening and deepening the skills they need to succeed within the tech sector.

On Wednesday, Lindiwe Udzembwe, from Huawei, said women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) still faced a number of challenges in the workplace even though statistics revealed that 20% of engineering degrees were awarded to women.

Udzembwe said statistics also revealed that 13% of the engineering workforce were women, however they also showed that 7% of them left the engineering field after graduating with their degrees due to challenges in getting the roles or not fitting in the workplace.

“This is a clear indication that women globally are underrepresented in STEM careers however we have this programme in place to play a pivotal role in talent development and empowering individuals to reach their full potential in the dynamic environment of ICT.

“We recruit graduates from diverse backgrounds which has helped us foster a more inclusive workforce. We work with a number of institutions and currently we are supporting 54 students across seven universities in the country.”

Udzembwe said although the challenge in women entering and remaining in STEM due to unconscious bias, Huawei was making significant efforts to offer a standard contract and pay to all graduates regardless and working bit by bit to cover the gender gap in the sector.

Tina Mtonga, 23, an account manager who is part of the programme, said she had learnt a great deal in the four months she had been at Huawei.

Mtonga said she believed that the ICT sector had made many strides to improve gender equality over the years, however much more still needed to be done to bring more young girls in.

“I want young girls out there to know that we are currently trying to pioneer spaces for them to come on and they need to know despite the challenges they are just as brilliant and that anything a man can do they can do better. Women can code, we are exceptional engineers, software developers, the works and no matter what we are making waves.”

Another graduate, Asanda Tshabalala, added: “Women need to be fearless, be headstrong, and have a spine of steel and know they’ve got this too. We need to keep working to break stereotypes that exist in the sector because there is no correlation between your intelligence and gender. If they believe they can work in this space they need to be determined and give 110%.”

The Star

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