Microsoft to mentor women tech students in universities

From left: Catherine Murage, MD of Microsoft ADC, Marjan Hussein, Student of Multimedia University and Kua-Gyekye, Governement Affairs and Legal Director at Microsoft. Photo courtesy.

The Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC) has launched a mentorship programme for women pursuing technology studies at universities.

The first cohort of the initiative dubbed “Women Inspiring and Nurturing Students (WINS)”, gathers approximately 70 young women pursuing tech-related courses at various universities across Kenya. They will be mentored by women working at Microsoft for a year-long mentorship.

Speaking during the launch, Microsoft ADC Managing Director Catherine Muraga said that the large gender gap in technology education highlighted the need to encourage more girls and women to further their studies and pursue careers in technology.

“Women face numerous obstacles to achieving equal participation in many fields, including the technology industry. There aren’t many young women who pursue technology courses in their tertiary education, and those who do often switch to other courses or drop out along the way.

Pairing learners with mentors will be critical to encouraging course completion and opening doors for them as they transition from the classroom to the workplace,” said Ms Muraga.

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According to the 2021 UNESCO Science Report, there has been significant progress in women’s representation in higher education over the years, but they continue to be underrepresented in critical Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields such as digital information technology, computing, physics, mathematics and engineering.

The report also notes that more women than men leave the technology field, citing poor working conditions, stagnant careers, and a lack of access to creative roles.

“We believe that diversity can drive innovation and progress. The WINS programme demonstrates our commitment to making the tech industry more inclusive and equitable. By providing women with the necessary tools and support, we hope to reshape the future of technology. It is linked to our broader diversity and inclusion objectives, whose achievement will demonstrate that we are empowering everyone to do more,” Ms Muraga added.

The 70 student are from the following universities Nairobi, Kabarak, Dedan Kimathi, Multimedia, St. Paul’s, Machakos, and Zetech. As well as Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and United States International University-Afric.

By John Kamau

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