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Help Egyptian Women Learn How to Code

Help Egyptian Women Learn How to Code

While the field of technology has been known for its gender problem, Egyptian women have taken the initiative to break the underrepresentation of women in the technological field.

AlMakinah and The Giza and Cairo Hubs of the Global Shapers Community are joining efforts to launch a campaign which aims at financially supporting 25 young Egyptian women in entering the tech field.

AlMakinah Gear Up is a 10-day program to take place on August 20 until August 31; it functions as an introduction to frontend web development crash course. The women led tech initiative aspires to teach young women basics of programming, coding and elements of building websites among others.

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to train young women to code and to prepare them for job opportunities.

“We strongly believe that everyone should have an opportunity to learn. Without these opportunities, our society and economy, may fail to empower the most creative minds of our time. We all stand to gain from supporting young, female talent,” according to the campaign description.

Growth Hacker and Manager of the Women Track at AlMakinah Hoda Hamad shares her observations throughout the current Gear-up program and previous boot-camp programs.

“There is a huge gap between the portion of males and females; the programs are always male dominated and that is something I wanted to change,” says Hamad.

Although learning methods vary among individuals, girls have shared certain patterns that reflect lack of self confidence as opposed to their male colleagues.

“I realised the way we learn as girls is very different from the way guys learned at the bootcamp. For some reason, women are more prone to self-doubt; they are reluctant to take certain risks and there is the pressure of being perfect the first time,” adds Hamad.

Hamad continues explaining the role of Gear up program where women are invited to come learn the fundamentals of programing.

“The reason why we want to do that is to brand this program as something for women. In other words, there is room and space for women to come and experiment. The program will ideally cover all programing topics that we usually cover in gear-up, but we will also feature women in leadership and women in tech with the main goal to try to encourage more women to take part of the global movement to be more independent, self-reliant and participate in the labour market,” says Hamad.

“I see Egypt as a country where there are a lot of challenges and it is not really an optimistic time now, but I see that with challenge comes opportunities. I want to continue with my entrepreneurial mind-set and continue to provide variety of opportunities for people,” says Hamad.

Hamad continues that there are a lot of barriers for women in the technological field, so the campaign aims at alleviating the financial barriers.

“From our side, what we are trying to do is streamlining our cost to make the program not too expensive and even take a step further through launching a crowdfunding campaign through Global Shapers,” adds Hamad.

Global Shapers is a network of city based hubs across the globe which constitutes of young and passionate people who initiate projects for the benefit of their community.

“As I work in the field of education research, it exposes me to the issues of gender inequality and the great disparity in engineering schools and computer science unlike art and medicine schools. We wanted to do a crowd-funding campaign along with Cairo Hub for a stronger network,” says Curator of Giza Global Shapers Hub Salma Abou Hussein.

Abou Hussein continues that the main challenge is to raise the fund which is $US 5500.

“We are planning to support 25 girls so it is already planned out for us. If this campaign succeeds, we are going to support Fire-up which is 12 weeks, so we are taking it one step further,” adds Abou Hussein.

Abou Hussein adds that Global Shapers are individuals who are interested in many aspects and based on these interests; they generate products, services or shape projects for the benefit of the society.

“We focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)s. One of the SDGs is addressing gender inequality whether in education or unemployment. This project is hitting the core of the SDGs; however, we do not focus only on gender related campaigns; this is not the mandate of Global Shapers,” says Abou Hussein.

“The women in tech track at AlMakinah is linked with the hashtag #YouCodeGirl. The purpose of our hashtag is not only to encourage women to penetrate the tech space, but also to infuse a supportive culture amongst the community. The only way we can move forward in our careers is to stand together, and not create barriers for other women to succeed,” says Hamad.

Women hold only 25 percent of all computing occupations, and even fewer held leadership roles.

The World Bank reported in 2016 that the rate of female unemployment in Egypt was around 25 percent excluding women who were not actively searching for a job.

Support the campaign here

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Engy Adham is a Cairo-based journalist. She works as the managing editor at Egyptian Streets. She reports on social issues and arts and culture. Previously published in Daily News Egypt, Ahram Online among others. She received her bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism and Political Science from The American University in Cairo. Follow her on @J_Adham_

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