Sage, the leader in accounting, financial, HR and payroll technology for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), celebrates its five-year partnership between Sage Foundation and GirlCode. GirlCode, a registered non-profit organisation, is committed to empowering young girls and women in the technology field by equipping them with the skills they need to become proficient software developers, readying them for careers in the technology sector.
Sage Foundation will support 1,000 aspiring young South African GirlCoders this year, enabling them to acquire coding and technology skills, which include education and mentorship focused on developing their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills.
“It’s concerning that only 23% of technology jobs are currently held by women. Empowering girls and women in the tech sector from a young age is not only crucial for their personal growth, but also essential for cultivating a future-ready workforce, which is vital for driving economic prosperity,” says GirlCode CEO, Zandile Mkwanazi. “Furthermore, in South Africa, there exists a critical need for technology skills amidst a rising youth unemployment crisis. To ensure everyone benefits from technology and its opportunities, we should strive for a diverse tech sector where all individuals have equal opportunities to thrive in the new era of work.”
Derk Bleeker, Sage president, EMEA, added: “Young women looking to enter the technology workforce encounter significant obstacles, including a lack of role models, structural discrimination, and a lack of access to finance and training opportunities. As an international technology company with a global footprint, we have a role to play and an opportunity to help address digital inequality. Providing access to digital learning and technology skills, training is an important way we can break down barriers for young women and help build a more inclusive technology workforce of the future. We proudly collaborate with partners such as GirlCode to address these challenges.”
Sage Foundation supported more than 12,000 people globally through its STEM programmes in financial year 2023, bringing the cumulative total to nearly 19,000 over the last two years. This includes a range of initiatives and programmes in South Africa targeting learners at the school level and young people about to embark on careers.
“With artificial intelligence and automation rapidly transforming jobs and economies, South Africa cannot afford to let its skills base fall behind. Sage Foundation’s goal is to equip the next generation, especially young girls and women, with the skills they need to access further opportunities in a digital economy,” says Pieter Bensch, Executive VP for Sage Africa & Middle East.
“We need a diverse technology sector for all South Africans to benefit from the opportunities it creates.”