Something Exciting Is Happening With The Prevalence Of Women In The Tech Industry

Did you know that the world’s first generated computer known as the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) , was also developed by women? The future looks bright for young women who aspire to leave their mark in the world of science and technology. According to Meltwater Africa, 29% of senior roles are filled by women in South Africa.

Something is happening in the technology industry right now. The diversity pendulum is finally starting to swing. A Non-Profit Organisation called Inspiring Fifty celebrates 50 most inspiring South African women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) annually. The organisation itself was established in 2013 in the Netherlands by two founders, Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters.

“The African tech ecosystem is growing exponentially. This is re-shaping the South African economy as technology and innovation are leapfrogging beyond established technology, ideas, and infrastructure. The instrumental role played by women in this sector should be made more visible on a local and global level.

These women are the inspiring role models for the future. Inspiring Fifty South Africa allows us to create a platform for these women in technology, showing our girls that they can do the same.” says Bonnie Horbach, the Netherlands Council General in Cape Town .

If you are a founder of a technology company or in the technology or innovation space then you will relate to Arlene Mulder who was on our Heavy Chef stage last year. Arnele is natural coder herself, who saw the gap in skills in the development world and decided to fill it with her coding startup, We Think Code_. Together with her co-founder, Arlene has created one of the most disruptive businesses in Africa

Watch here:

Here are some trailblazers to look out for in the STEM sector, who were in the forefront at last year’s Inspiring Fifty 2018 awards here (via SMESouthAfrica):

Last year’s winners were:

  • Alysia Silberg, founder at Global FiresideChat and general partner at Street Global Venture Capital

  • Anita Nel, senior director at Innovation of Stellenbosch University and CEO of Innovus

  • Annu Augustine, founder at NedRock and product management consultant

  • Anri van der Spuy, manager at Africa Digital Policy Project

  • Anujah Bosman, CEO at Chillisoft Solution Services

  • Benedicta Mahlangu-Durcan, executive at Ease of Doing Business and co-founder and CEO of Afrobodies

  • Dr Denisha Jairam-Owthar, ICT manager at Projects, Governance & Assets

  • Dr Fanelwa Ngece Ajayi, founder at AmaQawe Ngemfundo

  • Dr Imogen Wright, chief scientific officer at Hyrax Biosciences

  • Dr Rethabile Mashale Sonibare, director and founder at Molo Mhlaba School for girls & Thope Foundation

  • Genevieve Mannel, head of BI and EKM at The Foschini Group

  • Heloise Greeff, co-inventor and machine learning engineer at Oxford Smart Handpump

  • Kholeka Tsotsotso, CIO at Development Bank of South Africa

  • Kiara Nirghin, student at Stanford University

  • Laura Ilunga, helicopter and airplane pilot at Starlite Aviation Operations and Crew Resources International

  • Leah Molatseli, founder and MD at Lenoma Legal

  • Lebo Mokgabudi, MD at EagleQuest Africa

  • Lehlogonolo Moseri, founding director at Mosa Environmental Consulting and Educate-A-Girl Foundation

  • Lerato Motsamai, founder & CEO at Petrolink and Girlignite Africa Academy

  • Lesley Donna Williams, CEO at Tshimologong Precinct

  • Lianne du Toit, business director at YPO, CareDirect, Future FemalesLorraine Steyn, director at Khanyisa Real Systems

  • Lungile Maile , founder and MD at Nubian Smarts

  • Mamokgethi Phakeng, vice-chancellor at University of Cape Town

  • Marilyn Radebe, CEO at Soma Solutions

  • Maureen Ann Grosvenor, director and head of custom applications at Appsolve

  • Mmabatho Mokiti, founder and CEO at Mathemaniacs

  • Nadia Karrim, ENT/Head and Neck Surgical Registrar; South African National Point of Contact at Department of Health; Space Generation Advisory Council

  • Nandi Zama, commander pilot at South African Air Force

  • Noletu Moti, chief inspector: Nuclear Power Plant at National Nuclear Regulator

  • Nomsa Nteleko, MD at OS Holdings

  • Palesa Sibeko, commercialisation young professional and MSc astrophysics student at South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, University of the Western Cape

  • Pam Mkhize, head of Sub-Saharan Africa Digital Satellite at Enel

  • Phuti Ragophala, Microsoft innovative educator trainer at Phuti Training and Motivational Speaking

  • Professor Keolebogile Shirley Motaung, assistant dean: Research and Entrepreneur at Tshwane University of Technology/ Global Health Biotech

  • Professor Glenda Gray, president and CEO at South African Medical Research Council

  • Refilwe Ledwaba, founder and executive director at Women and Aviation/Girls fly programme in Africa

  • Ridhwana Khan, co-founder of Zero One Bespoke Software Development at Zero One Bespoke Software Development, Kasi Maths, Women in Tech JHB, Ladies that UX JHB

  • Rivonia Pillay, water engineer at Department of Water and Sanitation

  • Samantha N. Ngcolomba, founder and manager at Lady Liberty SA

  • Sandiso Sibisi, Open Innovation Africa Africa Manager at Accenture

  • Shana Derman, CEO and co-founder at IntelliCred

  • Sonya Kuhnel, MD at Blockchain Academy

  • Sorene Assefa, founder and MD at Cyber Czar

  • Veronica Motloutsi, chief executive and founder at SmartDigital Solution

  • Yolisa Skwintshi, head of Technology at Absa Bank

  • Zandile Keebine, chairperson at GirlCode

  • Zarina Ebrahim, MD and founder at Nebula Designs

  • Zimkhita Buwa, COO at Britehouse

  • Zinhle Mpungose, MD at Digi Change Guru

Let us know who YOUR women leaders are. We’d love to hear from you, leave your suggestions in the comments or email us at