Karen Quintos, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at Dell Globally, said women’s entrepreneurship rates are growing more than 10% each year. In fact, women are as likely – if not more likely than men to start businesses in many markets. However, financial, cultural and political barriers can limit the success of these businesses.
Quintos commented on the company’s Dell Women Entrepreneur Cities Index 2017, an evaluation of a city’s ability to attract and support female entrepreneurs.
According to the Index, Nairobi and Johannesburg are the only African cities in its selection of top 50 (an additional 25 cities compared to the 2016 research) international cities, offering a favourable platform in support of female entrepreneurs.
Johannesburg and Nairobi were ranked 28th and 33rd respectively, based on access to capital, markets, talent, technology and culture.
According to industry research, women remain under-represented in the ICT sector.
The ISACA 2017 women in technology survey states, “Women in tech are still facing significant barriers in the workplace, from a shortage of women role models, to gender-based pay gap, to persistent gender bias that nearly 90% of them say they have experienced.”
ISACA notes that eight in ten women report their supervisors are male; nine in ten are concerned about the number of women in the tech field; one in five companies are very committed to hiring and advancing women in tech roles, and one in five organisations are not at all committed to hiring and advancing women in tech roles.
The organisation identifies the top barriers experienced by women in technology as being the lack of mentors, female role models in the field, workplace gender bias, unequal growth opportunities and unequal pay compared to male counterparts.
In the survey, Jo Stewart-Rattray, board director of ISACA and director of information security and IT assurance at BRM, is quoted as saying, “Women should be encouraged to be confident and persistent in pursuit of their technology careers and a mentor in the field, whether male or female, can be the most effective person to make that case.”
Former board director of ISACA and director of the assurance and advisory management program at The Home Depot, Krysten M. McCabe says the first step to encouraging more women to pursue a career in technology is educating current technology leaders that gender diversity in the workforce is valuable and important.