Let's Celebrate the Girl Child.
3 min read
Today marks a very important day, it is the day of the Girl Child. A day set aside to honor how far we have come and to see how far we are going. To empower young girls and also to bring focus to the various challenges that they go through.
It was first honored on 11th October 2012, where it was declared an International day by UNICEF (United Nation Children’s Fund).
As we celebrate this phenomenal day, we acknowledge that the world has long since been digitized and more people are getting access to the internet every day. This includes young girls.
Times have changed and girls are no longer expected to finish school and wait for a suitor to marry them and give them children. Girls are now taking charge of their future and pursuing the careers they want, including male-dominated ones such as Technology and Sciences. They have stepped up to break the boundaries that had been set for them.
Even though this has been an active movement, there is still a deficit in the numbers.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), reports that boys are three times as likely to go for science-related careers than girls. This has not been because of a lack of skills on the girl’s side but the stereotype that sciences are difficult and ‘not for girls.’
This trend has also been seen in tech-related jobs. However, it has been shifting over the past few years, and more girls are climbing up the tech ladder.
This year, we at She Code Africa celebrate the Girl child by showcasing a prominent figure who has been active in the empowerment of Girls in Technology.
This is the story of Ruth Kaveke.
Ruth Kaveke grew up in Isibaya, a town in Migori County that neighbors Tanzania. She developed her interest in technology in high school when she took Computer as a subject. Little did she know that this would pave her way to founding the First Girls-Only Technology Hub in Kenya.
Ruth went on to pursue Computer Science in university where she was one out of six girls who had enrolled. The massive gender gap birthed a desire in her to bring in more girls into the tech sector since they were as capable as their male counterparts.
She recalls that during her internship, her supervisor was shocked when she shared a project she had worked on. The men she worked alongside couldn’t believe it and thought someone else (a man) had done the work for her.
After the internship, she joined hands with one of her classmates, Aisha Abubakar, and formed Teknowgalz, where they began training two high school girls in Mombasa. This was back in 2015.
Today, Pwani Teknowgalz has trained over 5,000 girls. It has expanded from just Mombasa to reach Kisumu, Lamu, Nakuru, and even Nairobi. It has also partnered with international brands such as American spaces and Django girls.
Ruth has been awarded a STEM honoree by Zuri Awards, a Kenyan platform that celebrates women who have been at the forefront of changing the lives of Kenyans. She also received a “Women Add Value Recognition Award “ for her remarkable work.
This is what she had to say.
“Since our launch in 2015, we’ve trained over 5,000 girls. Many of our students struggle financially, so I hope that they can use the skills they’ve gained from Pwani Teknowgalz to sustain themselves, support their families, and also give back.”
She has also gone ahead to publish a book titled, ‘She is a Techie’. Ruth is an example that truly defines beauty with brains.
She believed she could, so she did, and proved that indeed girls are just as capable as boys. She also showed that through empowering the girl child, only great things are expected to come.
Ruth's story is sourced from: nsesafoundation.org/ruth-kaveke-stemwow and care.org/news-and-stories/culture/these-wom..
Lovely day and let us continue uplifting our girls.
- Story by Millie *