Bridging Cameroon’s IT gender divide
Nadège Merline Bouche knew starting a technology business wouldn’t be easy.
As a Cameroonian woman, she has experienced firsthand how women and girls aren’t given equal opportunities to seize jobs in the technology industry and are paid significantly lower wages compared to their male counterparts.
In Cameroon women make up only 18 per cent of the IT sector with 60 per cent paid lower than men, and only 3 per cent in executive positions.
Despite the odds, Nadège chose to launch her own digital communications company. Her business, Rising Tech-Communications, focuses on audio and video editing of short educational films and billboard graphic design.
“We provide companies with visibility and communication services,” she says.
Not long after starting her business, Nadège had challenges accessing needed financial resources and was forced to use outdated equipment.
It was at this point she saw an ad for TechWomen Factory, a project supported by Cuso International in partnership with the Cameroon Youth School Tech Incubator (CAYSTI). TechWomen Factory was looking for people like her, working or studying in the IT sector.
“When I saw the poster for TechWomen Factory, I knew it was what I needed to do,” Nadège says.
Established in 2021, TechWomen Factory is aimed at assisting women 18-35 years old, including individuals with disabilities and low-income situations, and offers training in coding, data science, numeric art, and cybersecurity. Additionally, it provides participants with funding, scholarships, and grants to help launch their businesses.
Since enrolling in the program, Nadège has been able to further develop her video editing skills and expand her digital business. The experience of being trained and collaborating with other women has inspired her to open a branch of her business that exclusively offers single mothers, young women, and girls the opportunity to study graphic design.