South Africa's ICT sector is lagging behind the curve when it comes to gender diversity.
According to the advocacy organisation, Women in Tech, South African women only occupy approximately 23% ICT/tech jobs in the country.
Simone Dickson, director in the technology and sourcing practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, says that by achieving gender parity in the country, South Africa can begin to realise real GDP growth across the broader economy.
Dickson points to statistics highlighted by PwC economists, who cite that South Africa’s GDP stands the chance to grow by 3,2% if the country’s gender pay gap were to close by a mere 10%. Additionally, the country could also see a 6,5% reduction in the number of job seekers.
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She goes on to explain that the 2017 WEF Annual Global Gender Gap Report ranked South Africa as 5th in the G20 group of countries with the highest record of progress toward achieving gender parity – citing that the country is 68% of the way toward achieving this goal.
Dickson says that although South Africa is making strides in many sectors in terms of gender parity, the ICT sector is still lagging – with more that can be done, especially when it comes to young, black female professionals in the sector.
“It needs to start with education and awareness of ICT as a career path,” says Dickson. “ICT professionals need to collaborate on how best to achieve gender parity and transformation in this sector,” she concludes.