Female participation is falling in a field that is expanding globally and men still dominate the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates in most countries, South Africa among them. In response to these concerns, Vodacom took part in a Vodafone global initiative throughout 2017 aimed at providing teenage girls across 26 countries, including 14- to 18-year-old girls in South Africa, with coding training.
In what is the largest international, in-person global coding programme of its kind, Vodafone partnered with Code First: Girls, which runs coding courses for women and girls, to provide five-day coding workshops for teenage girls across its geographical footprint in South Africa, Europe, India, the Middle East, and Australasia.
Matimba Mbungela, Chief Human Resources Officer at Vodacom, had this to say on the successful initiative: 'In recent years, there has been significant progress in closing the global gender gap in various aspects of society. However, in many countries, including South Africa, the gap is widening in STEM careers. Vodacom’s programme with Code First: Girls is designed to give girls an interest in a sector currently more popular with boys, helping widen their opportunities and increase their future career choices.'