She believes that women have earned a place in tech and business.
Taylor Kwong, CSI Manager at Vuma, exemplifies the adage that “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”. She is passionate about empowerment and says that her work allows her to do what she is most passionate about, which is having a meaningful impact on real people, communities, and her beloved country.
“As CSI Manager at Vuma, where ‘because we can, we must’ is the guiding ethos behind everything we do, this is what I get to do every day,” she says. “It brings me boundless joy and fulfilment knowing that my work is purpose-led and makes a difference.
“The overarching goal that my team and I constantly have in our sights is that no one gets left behind on this journey towards a better, connected future for all South Africans. And, as we celebrate Women’s Month in South Africa, I am reminded of the importance of my experiences and existence as a woman, and the important part I must play in ensuring girls and women are empowered and uplifted through the projects I oversee.”
According to Taylor, female representation in the tech industry is increasing. However, we still have a long way to go not only in terms of bringing more female perspectives and voices into the space, but also in ensuring that they are equipped with the skills and experiences necessary to sustain fulfilling careers in the industry.
To prove her point, Taylor points at recent statistics that reveal that women only represent 28 percent of all people pursuing science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers. “It’s clear that there’s still a great deal of work to be done to boost female participation and representation in tech and business spaces,” she says. “However, initiatives like GirlCode, which has set out to empower 10 million girls and women with tech skills by 2030, are actively working toward remedying this challenge and it gives me great pride to be able to help expand their reach.”
She believes that socio-economic issues should not be ignored, and that when we consider that nearly four million South African children are raised by their grandmothers, it is clear how the most senior women in our communities need our help not only to get by, but also to give their children a good start in life.
“Gogos with Vuma, in partnership with goGOGOgo, is another great initiative that was recently launched to teach grandmothers in underserved communities much needed ICT skills – from learning to order their own Uber rides to teaching their grandchildren vital digital skills that will prepare them for a successful schooling career,” says Taylor.
Taylor has also faced her own challenges and experiences, which have fuelled her desire to see change in the country and communities she cares about. “As such, I appeal to my fellow female compatriots: advocate for other women and be their support and stepping stone wherever possible,” she urges.
“Celebrate and ululate just as loudly for small victories as you do for big ones. We’ve got each other's backs. Above all, remember that there is room for you, so keep striving for the extraordinary futures you deserve.”