According to the United Nations Institute of Statistics (UIS), less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women. Other studies have also found that women are underrepresented in STEM fields, particularly in Sub Saharan Africa.
In a report titled Factors Which Contribute to or Inhibit Women in Science, the African Academy of Sciences said that the choice to pursue a career in STEM-related fields was heavily influenced by the example set by other women who are established in those fields.
In light of this, Microsoft 4Afrika employee EduAbasi Chukwunweike, who has a masters degree in software engineering, launched Wentors. She arrived at it after she saw that most of the conversations she was having in her field in Nigeria were with men.
We believe the people best situated to nurture these dreams are the women currently in technology and hence we are redeﬁning the mentorship roadmap by building a global community of women in technology who nurture each other,”EduAbasi Chukwunweike
The organisation runs cohort programmes that run up to 3 months in which a mentor commits to an hour-long weekly session with her mentee. These cohort sessions have weekly themes and give mentors a mentorship package to help them along the process.
The cohort programme offers soft skills through raining and webinars in areas like personal branding, network communication and Imposter Syndrome.
At the end of the programme, Wentors wants the mentees to enter the tech industry with the necessary skills to thrive and sustain a career in the industry.
“An opportunity to interact with great women in the technology space and having them give me insight of the job market and ways to improve myself before getting into the job market is such a bonus for me, considering I am a student,” comments Anne Wariara, a participant from Kenya. “Being exposed to workshops that enable me grow my soft skill is also the best considering most institutions dwell on equipping us with technical skills and overlooking on the soft skills which often play a huge role in our career,”EduAbasi Chukwunweike
All the Wentors programmes are held virtually allowing women from across Africa and the world a chance to participate. To date Wentors has facilitated mentorship for 240 women across 4 continents and has a community that is 900 strong.
The programme has now set itself the goal of facilitating 1000 mentorships worldwide. To achieve this the organisation has partnered up with a number of tech companies around the world, chiefly Microsoft.
“Our ultimate goal is to have women in technology make up 50% across all positions in the IT industry, which amounts to impacting the lives of 8 million women globally.”EduAbasi Chukwunweike
You can check out the Wentors programme for yourself with the link here