81% of African women in STEM careers had a negative impact on financial support, the impact of COVID

52% believe that women’s careers in technology have suffered due to COVID-19 and the cost of living crisis; 32% of those in the technology sector say they haven’t received a promotion for more than 24 months; 68% see skills shortages as the main barrier to entry; 21% of women in tech roles in Africa are working more than one job to make ends meet; women still need better pay and better flexible work options.

A new global survey of women and allies, conducted under the theme DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality, reveals that parity for women in technology-related positions and industries is still far from achieved, and suggests that COVID-19 has had a significant impact. The role of blocking women’s progress, along with skills shortages, and the fact that women are further hindered by the cost of living crisis and lack of funding.

surveys called Delve into the challenges and opportunities for women in technology careers and women-led companies in Asia, Europe and attracted respondents from these three regions, with 45% of respondents living and working in Africa, 38% in Europe and 17% in Asia.

The survey is part of a new annual benchmark survey that maps the barriers women face in business, the perception of why they can’t get ahead, and potential solutions and opportunities to bridge the gender gap.

the challenges

According to the survey, more than half of the respondents, 56% of the respondents believed that due to the recent pandemic and the economic challenges in general, it was women who lost their job opportunities, were forced to reduce their work and take time to care. children, as well as doing more housework.

26% of respondents believe that women are more likely than men to have been denied access to government financial assistance, and another 26% believe that women shoulder most of the burden of childcare or dependent care in their homes, while juggling work responsibilities. . . The number rises to almost 81% of African women. The cost of living crisis seems to have a greater impact on Africa than on Asia and Europe.

Working more than one job is becoming more common: 15% revealed that they were previously self-employed or owned a business, but have now taken on another job while managing their business on the side, while 21% of African respondents confirmed that they now work two or more jobs . more employment, a higher proportion than their counterparts in Europe and Asia.

In the tech sector, where women still experience a gender bias, overall unemployment in the tech ecosystem was found to be lower than in other industry sectors surveyed, with only 2% of female tech workers in the three targeted regions being laid off in the last 24 months. 12% of these respondents are working full-time when they were previously unemployed and a further 16% are working full-time from part-time jobs.

73% of female respondents across three continents saw their work situation in the tech sector as impacted by a lack of career development opportunities, and 32% reported losing wages and not receiving a promotion for more than 24 months. , although this is due to the expanding economic climate.

Lack of funding

The survey shows that women are still far from achieving equality when it comes to funding. The increased number of women-focused business events and awards is perceived as one of the strongest initiatives, which has helped women-led start-ups gain better access to funding over the past 24 months. It follows closely that more women in technology are advocated in the press. African women, however, seem to be struggling the most, with 19% saying it is now significantly more difficult to access finance.

Other factors that could lead to better support for women-led businesses and encouraging more women to enter the field include more women-led venture capital funds and women-led accelerator programs.

Underscoring this, and in a continent increasingly dependent on the start-up ecosystem for economic sustainability, Africa is where women struggle the most to launch a new business, with 41% and 68% of respondents believing that skills shortages are the biggest obstacle. to women entering the sector.

Unfortunately, 40% of female respondents in Africa believed it was more difficult for women to secure a raise in tech, and 41% said it was more difficult for women to achieve senior management or executive positions.

Women would like to see better visibility and promotion of STEM job opportunities for women to help more women enter and thrive in the tech industry. This would help achieve greater gender equality with male counterparts in the sector, as well as greater gender pay equality and more flexible work options.

The women also believe that there should be more mentoring programs for women, as well as opportunities to participate in panel discussions and discussions and to participate in the development of female role models, which will help encourage more women to enter STEM-related businesses.

Given that women take on the lion’s share of parenting and home care, women also believe that more support at work for parents and flexible working hours and arrangements would level the playing field.

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