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Integrating Tech’s Genders – For The Millions Of Jobs In The Digital Sphere

Written by: Dr. Hynd Bouhia, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Despite making inroads, there are still too few women yet in the male-dominated world of advanced technology.


The sector is booming; some countries can’t fill 1,000,000 tech jobs. But in many cases, the proportion of female to male ratios are shrinking. As mentioned in my previous Article [1] on “women in AI”, a male-dominant tech force constricts the future for women, as in AI’s built-in sexist outlook.

In other cases, the lack of engineers is a matter of life and death. When male mechanical engineers dominate the design of auto-collision airbags, they ignore smaller framed women and children, resulting in deaths. Male civil engineers get more excited about large, centralized dam-building projects, rather than structuring distributed water delivery systems so that families benefit.

The point isn’t that females are better than male engineers. Gender determines neither competence nor intelligence. Women simply bring a fresh perspective, different than men. They tend to encourage more inclusive design or apply more creative innovations. The result enriches the outcome. Co-ed teams tend to come up with more new ideas, discoveries, patents than those with men alone. By working alongside as equals, men and women improve the work of each other, to the benefit of society.

No woman expects to be handed a position in technology


Mainly in emerging countries. She knows early on that such an achievement will require twice the work as men. But she also senses early on that that a career in STEM for young women is equivalent to job security, financial independence. More than that, it is a personal affirmation that – even finding herself alone on a large team of men – her hard work has earned her a place in a new, exciting and highly competitive field, and should hold her head high. This pride was expressed, in another field, by the pioneering female founder of the cosmetics giant Estée Lauder: “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”


While still too few, women engineers exist. In 2010, after 82 years of all-male domination, the Academy Awards finally honored a filmmaker who was female. Kathryn Bigelow won an Oscar for Best Director of the almost entirely male action movie: The Hurt Locker, which also won Best Picture. So, she knew something about breaking into the men’s club. “If there's specific resistance to women making movies,” said Bigelow, “I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can't change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies.”


Success stories out of Africa [2]

The very same outlook applies to every woman in Africa and in any developing countries as she used to meet resistance to breaking into the fields of technology and engineering. That’s how Moroccan Najat Mokhtar entered various male-only sectors – nuclear, atomic energy, defense, security – where she lit a candle within the gendered darkness. She was nominated in January 2021 as the Vice President of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Dr. Najat Mokhtar confirms how mentality change is required so that more women can reach same level of responsibilities as men in international institutions. For that girls need to be encouraged to choose scientific fields. She has the same roadmap to female leadership: self-discipline, perseverance, self-confidence, and ignoring unconstructive remarks.

This same rigor leads the African woman to overcome political obstacles and bring a more integrated approach to her chosen field. Aurélie Adam Soulé Zoumarou, aged 35, became Benin’s youngest female Minister of Telecommunications, while Botswana’s even younger Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, 31, became that country’s Minister of Investment. Dipuo Peter has led South Africa’s energy and transport ministries. Senegal’s energy and telecommunications ministries are both run by females. And a whopping eight Egyptian ministers are women.


Now having become heads of state in several countries, the African woman appears to have grown impatient with the role of “associate,” “assistant” or “deputy” and are fighting to take on the responsibility of lead decision-maker – at any age.


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Dr. Hynd Bouhia, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dr. Hynd Bouhia has cumulated more than 20 years of professional experience in high-level and leadership positions, covering investments, financial structuring, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development strategies. Hynd Bouhia was nominated by Forbes among the 100 most influential women in the world in 2008 and the most influential women in Business in the Arab World in 2015 and honored as a member of the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars in 2018.


With a Ph.D. from Harvard University (GSAS 1998), an Engineering degree from Ecole Centrale Paris (1995), and a Master from Johns Hopkins SAIS (2000), Hynd Bouhia started her career at the World Bank in Washington before joining Morocco’s Prime Minister as an economic advisor. She was appointed in 2008 as the Managing Director of Casablanca Stock Exchange. After that, she structured and managed investments and venture capital funds.


As the CEO of Strategica, she advises entrepreneurs, companies, and institutions on economic intelligence, sustainable finance, and growth strategies. Dr. Hynd Bouhia is the author of the motivational book for women entitled "Africa Girl, African Woman: How agile, empowered, and tech-savvy females will transform the continent for good."

 

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