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While in Cameroon and the entire African continent, only 22.5% of women have access to computer technologies, the European Commission of the United Nations has set up coding training for young women, aimed at filling the digital gender divide. In Cameroon, 1,500 of them are currently being trained.
The goal is to bridge the digital gender divide on the African continent. In Cameroon, thanks to training from the United Nations Economic Commission, some 1,500 adolescent girls and young women aged 12 to 25 will soon be able to program video games, software and digital applications.
They learn computer code, a language that has become ubiquitous, with its rules and vocabulary, to develop everyday solutions. In total, the UN Economic Commission hopes to train 8,000 young African women in information and communication technologies (ICT). A first on a continent where one of the main challenges remains the inclusion of women in this field. Particularly in Cameroon where coding professionals often have difficulty gaining acceptance in companies.
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“Show the world what I can do”
“I am doing a concert where there is a ballerina who starts to dance. To start, I first chose my figurine and then I chose the background”, explains to France 24 Gloria, who, at 12, created his own cartoon. “I also plan to create my own scratch accounts so that I can create my own comics, my own games.”
A language responding to its own grammar that these teenage girls intend to master in this university in Yaoundé. They are 300 to participate in this express training in coding implemented by the United Nations. “I have a few ideas that I would like to implement thanks to robotics,” says Lise. “It’s an area of coding that girls often don’t care about, but it really interested me. I have a feeling that if I master coding, I will be able to show the world what I can do. . “
In Cameroon, most of the computer code professions are occupied by men. For Gloire Junior Bidias, professional trainer and coder, this 15-day initiation is a bet on the future. The aim is to encourage companies to recruit more women.
“Because it’s coding, the computer won’t know the difference between a boy and a girl,” he told France 24. “We realize that when the barrier to what they are disappears, they are just like everyone else, and there are geniuses among them. “
“To bring our stone to the building”
“As a woman, it was not easy and it is still not easy since we remain the exceptions and not the rule”, testifies Reine Essobmadje, a coder who has headed for ten years a firm where applications are developed and software. “Our company is clearly a benchmark since the companies with which we are generally in competition are very large multinationals. It is also a pride to show that with our experience by being women, we can make our contribution to the building. . “
According to a June 2021 report from the United Nations Economic Commission, in Cameroon as on the rest of the continent, only 22.5% of women have access to ICTs.