Ingressive For Good, an ed-tech nonprofit on the mission to increase the earning power of African youth by empowering them with tech skills, took a giant stride towards fulfilling that mission by empowering 1000 African Women with design skills to help them build careers in tech in partnership with Geneza School of Design.
On March 8, 2022, Ingressive for Good put out a call to women interested in building skills in design to apply for the annual #1000WomenInDesign scholarship program. This scholarship program was the flagship #1000WomenInX program created to address the inequalities faced by women and challenge the disproportionate gender inequalities that exist in the tech industry. In addition, the African Women in X Scholarship Program was created to expand access to tech education exclusively for women.
According to the UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030, women in the tech industry constitute only 28% of professionals in the sector worldwide and just 30% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Companies with more women in managerial positions have been shown to achieve a 35% higher return on investment in the technology sector. This posed a significant concern as the lack of gender diversity negatively impacts individual tech companies and the tech sector.
The Global Gender Gap Report 2020 published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) highlighted disproportionate inequalities in almost all of the job sectors related to technology– like cloud computing, engineering, data, marketing, AI, and product development.
The women of Ingressive for Good came together and partnered with the women of Geneza school of design to help 1000 women build skills in design. The program will contribute its quota toward closing the gender equity gap in the design industry and empower women with design skills to ensure they are better prepared and positioned for opportunities in the design space.
In 2021, the program received over 17,000 applications across 74 countries. This year, in just two weeks of opening, the program received over 19,000 applications as of 11:59pm March 22, 2022. All applications were evaluated by a selection committee ensuring high levels of transparency based on the selection criteria and went through a rigorous selection process to choose 1000 women to take the design program. Each woman would be trained on one of three (3) key design skills – product design, graphics design, and brand design. The training is geared to kick off on April 8, 2022.
Blessing Abeng, Cofounder of Ingressive For Good, celebrated the 1000 honorees and highlighted how each individual was selected carefully based on the selection criteria, thirst, and quality of their application. She said:
“I’ve always been told Women do not apply for things, but the WomenInX program floors that narrative time and time again. We didn’t do any publicity and over 19,000 women applied. The thirst exists. These women want it badly but most of them cannot afford the training they need, and that’s where we come in. It broke our hearts so much to turn down over 17,000 women. We hope that we find donors who would happily sponsor more women through this program. However, we are excited about the outstanding 1000 women kick starting this journey. We know their earning power will increase and contribute to socio-economic development. We started with 1000 women as an organisation, fully aware that 1000 can become 10,000. Eventually, 1,000,000 women in Africa will have skills in design or tech, and gradually, the gap will eventually close up.”
One of the 2021 beneficiaries of the program shared her story:
“My name is Mary Omoye Oiku – a 26-year-old with the dream of becoming a product designer. I love designing, and I have always wanted to help individuals and businesses tell their stories using design while also giving back to society. I knew who I wanted to be, but I was unsure how to start. I wanted a career in design, but I didn’t have the design skill I needed, and most courses were costly. Then, one day, I saw the opportunity, and I applied for it. I knew this design course would help me gain knowledge, start a tech career, and help businesses tell their story through creative design. I was so delighted the day I got the message that I had been chosen. I immediately took the training and did all my assignments. The training was phenomenal. I have learned so much from my tutor. Through this #1000- WomenInDesign program, I have learned to express myself and tell stories using design. None of this would have been possible without the help of Ingressive for Good scholarship.
“The images above are some of my many assignments. I drafted a wireframe, designed a responsive website user interface, and did some prototyping. We were asked to create a responsive website for a hotel, where you can make bookings, confirm reservations, get informed on the services they offer, and much more. I am thankful to Ingressive for Good and Geneza.”
Speaking about the partnership with Ingressive for Good, Bolanle Banwo, the founder of Geneza School of Design said:
“Through partnerships like this, Ingressive for Good truly walks its talk and fulfills its promise to empower young African women to achieve their potential through the provision of continuous learning opportunities like this. These goals align perfectly with our goal to empower 50,000 women across Africa in the next 5 to 10 years. With the increasing number of unemployed youths, there is no better time to empower women than now. And we are doing this by introducing them to skills that can help them support themselves. We are delighted to be working with Ingressive for Good to enable young African women to compete with their peers in tech on the world stage and demonstrate the tenacious, creative African Spirit. We are so proud of the 1000 honorees and we can’t wait to see them graduate in flying colours, showcasing their skills to the world.”
The celebrated honorees of this year’s awards cut across over 80 countries. They are:
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