Female African coders ‘on the front-line of the battle’ to change gender power relations: UN chief

UN Photo/Antonio Fiorente Secretary-General António Guterres attends a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Event on Digital Coding at the 32nd Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Young female African coders are “on the front-line” of the battle to change traditionally male power relations and bring about a more equitable balance between men and women, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said during his visit to Ethiopia to attend the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.

The UN chief was speaking after meeting girls from across the continent taking part in the African Girls Can Code Initiative, a joint initiative from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and UN Women. This new programme saw more than 80 girls from 34 African countries join the first Coding Camp in Addis Ababa for 10 days in August 2018.

The girls attending the courses learn about digital literacy, coding and personal development skills, including enterprise know-how to ensure their financial security. They are trained as programmers, creators and designers, so that they are well equipped to compete for careers in areas such as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and coding. The initiative will runs until 2022 and is expected to reach more than 2,000 girls through 18 Coding Camps.

Mr. Guterres said that one of the fundamental problems in the world is that power is in the hands of men, leading to a male-dominated culture. In Africa, this is one of the reason why it is so difficult for girls to go to school. In technology professions, the problem is particularly acute, with an overwhelming majority of men.

ITU data from 2017 shows that, as well having the lowest rates of Internet penetration, the African region has the widest digital gender gap in the world: only 18.6 per cent of women use the Internet, compared with 24.9 per cent of men.

The UN chief recalled his time studying electrical engineering, when there was just one women female in a class of 300: “This is what we need to change, and we are not yet there. We need more girls to take technology courses. This is absolutely crucial. If girls and women are not more involved in technology professions, power relations will remain very male dominated.”

Monday is the 2019 International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which raises awareness of the fact that women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully and science, importance of changing this trend: According to UN data, only around 30 per cent of all female students select fields related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in higher education, and less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

A few, or rather two, trade and economic alliances may rule our brave new world

Sydney is choking on record levels of smog – and the bushfire season is just getting started

Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Insurance Ireland for restricting access to a data sharing platform

These Dutch cities are using the circular economy to conserve water

Coronavirus: Using European supercomputing, EU-funded research project announces promising results for potential treatment*

Myanmar: New UN envoy offers to serve ‘as a bridge’, recognizes ‘positive steps’ over Rakhine state

Dark spots on EU humanitarian aid spending

Cultural Intelligence: the importance of changing perspectives

German heavy artillery against Brussels and Paris

Commission adopts White Paper on foreign subsidies in the Single Market

Libya: $202 million needed to bring life-saving aid to half a million people hit by humanitarian crisis

Hostilities in Syria’s southwest, mean cuts in vital aid across Jordanian border: Senior UN official

Guterres underscores UN role in achieving a free, secure Internet

EU-Turkey deal on migrants kicked off but to who’s interest?

Artificial intelligence summit focuses on fighting hunger, climate crisis and transition to ‘smart sustainable cities’

Rohingya crisis: EU allocates €31 million for Bangladesh and Myanmar

Alcoholic drinks: Commission tables update of rules governing alcohol excise duties

Africa is set to get its first vertical forest

State aid: Commission invites interested parties to provide comments on proposed revision of Guidelines on State aid to promote risk finance investments

Look to cities, not nation-states, to solve our biggest challenges

Three experts on why eradicating plastic pollution will help achieve gender equality

Young students envision turning Europe into an Entrepreneurial Society

5 ways urban transport could step up a gear for women

EU-wide protection and support for whistle-blowers

Pay packet inequality growing worldwide, says new UN report

The European Council takes more measures to stem illegal migration

COVID-19: ‘Top priority’ must be on containment, insists WHO’s Tedros

Technology is a means, not an end

Food safety: Enhancing consumer trust in EU risk assessment and authorisation

4 ways to cyberproof your business during mergers & acquisitions

Does the “climate change” require ombudsman services for environment?

Trade negotiations with US can start under certain conditions

From ‘strength to strength’ UN-African Union security partnership growing, Security Council hears

‘Shared responsibility’ to stop 420,000 needless deaths from tainted food each year, UN, world leaders warn

Brexit Update: EU endorses unprecedented compromise to help Cameron out of the referendum mess he got himself into

Engaging women and girls in science ‘vital’ for Sustainable Development Goals

Bring killers of journalists to justice: UN agency seeks media partners for new campaign

These are the cities with the biggest carbon footprints

US life expectancy is falling – here’s why

“CETA is a game changer for major trade agreements”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015

It’s time we harnessed Big Data for good

UN and African Union in ‘common battle’ for development and climate change financing

As G7 calls time on coal, have you checked your supply chain?

Changing how we produce and consume: New Circular Economy Action Plan shows the way to a climate-neutral, competitive economy of empowered consumers

Withdrawal Agreement: Commission sends letter of formal notice to the United Kingdom for breach of its obligations under the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland

Medical students and their ability to edify women’s rights

EU tax haven blacklist not catching worst offenders

A Sting Exclusive: “Stronger Cybersecurity for a safer EU against cybercrime and cyber threats”, by MEP Dalli

Young people struggling in digital world, finds latest OECD PISA survey

This is what has led to the George Floyd protests in the United States

Renewable energy could power the world by 2050. Here’s what that future might look like

3 ways blockchain can revolutionize global supply chains

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €231 million in pre-financing to Slovenia

Investing in health workers yields ‘triple dividend’, WHO chief says in New Year’s message

EU and UK reach agreement in principle on fishing opportunities for the remainder of 2021

Why the UK government must do more to boost green revolution

Deal on faster exchange of non-EU nationals’ criminal records

EU founding values: Commission starts legal action against Hungary and Poland for violations of fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people

UN’s AIDS agency ‘greatly encouraged’ by latest scientific breakthrough showing cure is possible

Alarming number of Ebola deaths in DRC a ‘rallying cry’ to scale up treatment

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s