Women in IT – in Africa!

We’re always going on about why IT is a great place for women to work – opportunities to travel abroad, the chance to make a difference, exciting projects. It’s all very well saying that but sometimes these words can go in one ear and out the other pretty quickly – so it’s great to see examples of real women doing great things with technology.

I recently heard about a partnership between Vodafone and the UN (the long winded version is the United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Group Foundation Technology Partnership!) This is a programme which aims to implement technology in developing countries – to allow both general development and to help with disaster relief.

Vodafone works with womenintechnology and they told us about their Secondment programme where their employees are placed with the World Food Programme for a year. They’re given a grant to cover a modest salary and their expenses, all the support they need and the chance to really make a difference to people’s lives. This year, four people are taking part in the programme – one being Salma Farouque from Vodafone Australia who’s now working as an ICT Specialist for Emergency Telecommunications in Kampala, Uganda after spending seven years working as a Solutions Designer in the Technology Division in Sydney.

During her year in Uganda, Salma will work as an IT Specialist, to support co-ordination in countries in the Eastern, Central and Southern Africa region. Due to the ongoing conflicts in the area, the need for emergency security telecommunications is greater than ever and the role Salma is working on this year, will make a huge difference to humanitarian workers from 30 UN agencies and around 100 non government organisations in the region. You can read her blog here.

It’s great to see that working in technology really can make a difference – and it’s even better to see female technologists being involved. Let’s hope we see more schemes like this in the future as it sounds like a brilliant opportunity.

Career DIY

Read my article on helping to progress your own IT career on Business Computing World, featuring quotes and advice from top female technologists: http://www.businesscomputingworld.co.uk/?p=2153

WITsend

Just a quick post to say thank you to the people over at Computer Weekly’s WITsend blog for welcoming me on board as a guest blogger! I’m really looking forward to contributing and engaging with their readers about more women in IT issues. My first post is now up, discussing how I recently signed the ECWT Code of Best Practice for Women in ICT on behalf of womenintechnology, so please have a read!

Female bosses

Whenever we run an event at womenintechnology, we always ask the women (and the few men!) who sign up, a few questions – and they never disappoint. We always get interesting statistics, quotes and anecdotes to share, so we thought we’d create a poll here on our blog. Once again our network didn’t let us down and we got some great information!

We asked a simple question – do you prefer a male or female boss? With all the stories about female on female bullying and the lack of women in leadership positions, I thought this was a very relevant question. The result? Almost half (44%) said they preferred a male boss. So does that mean the majority preferred a female boss? No. 38% said they had no preference and just 19% favoured women.

However I wasn’t at all surprised about this because we’ve heard this before – see our previous blog post on women vs women. It seems that when it comes to supporting other women, we’re just not very good at it. Or do we just need to give more women the opportunity to have these positions of leadership?

So we have the stats but we’d love to hear the thoughts behind them – why do you prefer men as bosses? What experiences have you had with female bosses? And what do you think about these results? Please leave your comments below!