Microsoft Kenya Champions Women in Tech with New Mentorship Program

Microsoft

Microsoft is taking a big step towards bridging the gender gap in the tech industry with the launch of their Women Inspiring and Nurturing Students (WINS) program. This exciting initiative, unveiled on International Women’s Day, pairs 70 young Kenyan women pursuing tech degrees at various universities with experienced female mentors currently working at Microsoft.

Microsoft
L-R Catherine Muraga, Managing Director Microsoft ADC, Marjan Hussein, Student at Multimedia University and Kua Gyekye, Government Affairs and Legal Director at Microsoft ATO

Why WINS?

Catherine Muraga, Managing Director of the Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC), highlighted the alarming gender disparity in tech education during the program launch. “There just aren’t enough young women entering the tech field,” she stated, emphasizing the need for encouragement and support. WINS aims to address this by offering a year-long mentorship experience, guiding these aspiring female tech professionals throughout their university journey.

The Need for Change

The program is a response to a global trend. According to a 2021 UNESCO Science Report, despite progress in female representation within higher education, women remain significantly underrepresented in crucial STEM fields like technology. The report further reveals a concerning dropout rate among women in tech careers, often attributed to unfavorable working environments and limited creative opportunities.

Building a Brighter Future

WINS joins a growing list of Microsoft ADC initiatives focused on amplifying women’s voices in tech. From campus tours and faculty training programs to the innovative Game of Learners, Microsoft is actively investing in building a more diverse and inclusive tech workforce.

“Diversity fuels innovation,” says Ms. Muraga, emphasizing Microsoft’s commitment to this ideal. “WINS is about empowering women with the tools and support they need to reshape the future of technology.” The program aligns with Microsoft’s broader diversity and inclusion goals, aiming to create an environment where everyone can thrive and reach their full potential.

The First Cohort

The inaugural WINS cohort comprises 70 talented students from prestigious Kenyan universities like the University of Nairobi, Kabarak University, and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. This diverse group represents the future of Kenyan tech, and with Microsoft’s guidance, they are poised to make incredible contributions to the ever-evolving world of technology.

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