Her Right to Her Seat At the Table to Build an Inclusive Digital Future

By Innovator Trust on 13 Mar 24

Her Right to Her Seat At the Table to Build an Inclusive Digital Future

"Women, the conduits of the next generation!" Pabi Moloi, hostess of the Innovator Trust's Her Seat at the Table 2024, delivered this poignant truth that carries such weight that it would inspire anyone listening to act. Around the table sat women who embodied Moloi's powerful message. They weren't just forging their paths in tech but actively shaping the future by igniting the potential of the next generation.

The conversation centered on three key discussion points:

  • Authentic Acceleration
  • Envisioning an African Digital Society Driven by Women
  • Investing in Women and Girls as a Human Rights Issue.

Bringing their expert voices to the table are the inimitable changemakers making their mark in the African tech landscape: Charmaine Houvet, Marilyn White Radebe, Dr Ntombi Mutshekwane, and Wahseema Miller.

Beyond the Platitudes: Authentic Acceleration and Progress

True equality would not ask women to prove anything to be given access or empowered.

Pabi emphasised that the time for simply discussing women's empowerment has passed. In a refreshing perspective, Charmaine highlighted that her network demonstrates women are taking the lead, not waiting for permission. Houvet pointedly asks, "Women are out there claiming their space, but are they taking up enough space?"

This sparked a crucial discussion about the need for intentional action. Everyone acknowledged the long road ahead and celebrated the achievements of trailblazers like the Tintswalos, who seized opportunities and paved the way for future generations. Miller echoed this spirit, saying, "We need to bring younger people into the room to understand the language of technology," highlighting the importance of building a robust pipeline.

All the women around the table acknowledged that while we may have a long way to go, we have come a long way already, particularly noting the success of the trailblazers, the Tintswalos, who ran with the opportunities that came their way, working tirelessly not only for themselves but for those who will walk the paths they have carved.

Engaging with Male Counterparts

The conversation explores the complexities of collaboration between men and women in the tech industry. It emphasises the need to move beyond placing the burden of change solely on men and advocates for dismantling harmful gender norms to create a more collaborative and supportive environment.

It highlights the need for a shift in societal norms and the importance of creating spaces where women are valued for their unique contributions.

The conversation calls for aligning with men as allies as they are still the economic decision-makers and need to participate in the conversations concerning women's advancement and empowerment.

Leveraging Technology for Good

The conversation acknowledges the potential of technology to both empower and isolate individuals. It emphasises the importance of using technology responsibly and thoughtfully, fostering social connections, creating more employment and building a more inclusive digital society. Considering the impressive examples of how women innovate out of need across Africa, it's easy to envision an African digital future driven by women.

Envisioning an African Digital Future Driven by Women

The conversation reinforces African women's critical role in shaping the continent's digital future. It highlights the need to address existing barriers, empower women through targeted initiatives, and promote inclusivity to unlock the full potential of the tech sector. As Radebe stated, "The future of tech is pink." The ladies around the table listed a barrage of women being innovative and resourceful across Africa because of a need. The resounding conclusion was finding out what the need is and innovating for that need.

Investing in Women: A Human Rights Imperative

Echoing the powerful theme of International Women's Day, it's clear that investing in women and girls isn't just a social issue – it's a fundamental human right. Gender equality isn't a privilege; it's the foundation for a just and prosperous world.

Investing in women and girls drives progress and development. Policies that empower women create ripple effects, benefiting entire communities.

Creating Enabling Environments

So, how do we turn the tide? We need to create enabling environments where women can thrive:

  • Policies that address gender biases and support equal access to education and opportunities are crucial.
  • Embrace opportunities
  • Develop your voice
  • Continuous learning and curiosity are crucial
  • Don't be Frustrated with where you are in life
  • Reinvent yourself as much as you want and need to

Her Seat at the Table 2024 is an inspiring conversion with women who are doing the work to build other women. From accelerating female participation to an African digital future driven by women and investing in women and girls as a human right. From fostering supportive environments to dismantling harmful stereotypes, the conversation emphasised intentional action and collaboration to unlock technology's potential for an inclusive and thriving future.

To watch the entire webinar, click here.

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