Ramasedi gives insight into Google Women Techmakers 2016 summit
By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
One of Botswana’s rising women techno ambassadors Tirelo Ramasedi, had a rare chance of celebrating the International Women’s Day (IWD) in a fashion she would desire for all the women in the world, at Google’s Women Techmakers Global Event Series summit in Seattle.
Besides being an eye opener for Ramasedi, this event which is in its second year and hosted by Women Techmakers at the Google offices, reincarnated in her a new sense of awareness.
The whole idea is to bring women within the same sector to say “what can we learn from one another?” She said there are a lot of women that have been successful within the ICT space for example in the ICT developer community in Botswana.
Her journey to the USA also revived in her the nagging question of how else can she not only be of assistance to the womenfolk of Botswana but as well tech entrepreneurs in cognizance of her role at the Botswana Innovation Hub. “I learnt on more efficient and effective ways of problem solving, market validation and getting a tech product out to market faster. By imparting what I have learnt back at home it will hopefully contribute towards having younger tech entrepreneurs develop more targeted solutions that speak to the need of the customers.
“Because this was an International Women’s day Google has made a commitment for the empowerment of women and women need an enabling environment in which to work in,” said Ramasedi.
She said this converted trip was also important in that it helped her get to know what other women are doing in different parts of the world. “You also became part of a community of women around the world. The summit was just to bring us together. You meet people that are working for Facebook, Google and other major ICT establishments.”
She added that it was her hope to see women from Botswana being part of this grand Google summit. “The summit had all manner of women from various levels and disciplines within the tech space, from a student to woman who was working on high tech projects such as the Google Self Driving Car.”
Besides lack of women participation in ICT space, there was also the issue of representation especially with women of colour. “There are not enough women and more so women of colour. There is a need for an emphasis for women from other countries especially Africa to come and attend. Despite the fact that one such summit was in Nigeria that did not help the situation at all.”
She said countries like the United States are making steps to accommodate all women. She said organisations such as Black Girls Code in the United States are making great strides to have representation of women of colour with Tech and Engineering which is awesome.
“In the US, you have the organisations like the Black Women’s Code whose mission is to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.”
Although the women’s days are known for raising awareness about gender-based violence, she admitted that the one major cause of this was the disparities that come between men and women in spheres of human interaction. “For me I think there is more dialogue than needs to be done. We sometimes leave out women who really need to be in the conversation,” added Tirelo Ramasedi.
The whole idea is to bring women within the same sector to say “celebrate, learn, share and engage in a practical and meaningful manner?”
She said there are a number of exemplary women that have been successful within the ICT sector in Botswana.
According her, IWD many a times is known for raising awareness on social challenges such as gender-based violence, she admitted that the one major cause of this was the disparities that exist economically between men and women in spheres of human interaction.
“For me I believe that more defined targets must be set as well as continued and consistent dialogue accompanied by action. We sometimes leave out girls and women who really need to be in the conversation.”
I have been a part of Programs such as the Girls in ICT Day facilitated through the Botswana Innovation Hub as well as other stakeholders in the local ICT sector which are practical ways of achieving the above mentioned. “Through last year's Girls in ICT Day we were able to inspire and impart skills to more than 150 girls within a period of just two days.
There is a need for an emphasis for women from other countries especially Africa to participate in such fora and it's great to know that the same summit was held in Nigeria on March 19th.”
“Google has made a deliberate and strategic commitment towards diversity in the work environment and the International Women's Day Techmakers Summit was an example of putting the decision into action and focusing emphasis of an enabling environment for women to progress in tandem with their male counterparts which I believe we can learn from,” said Ramasedi.
Google says the Google's Women Techmakers program provides visibility, community, and resources for women in technology. “From 2014 to present, Women Techmakers is continually launching global scalable initiatives and piloting new programs to support and empower women in the industry.”