CIO East Africa today held it second edition of Hernovation, a platform that aims to empower women in technology across East Africa with soft skills. Hernovation was held at the ongoing annual CIO100 awards being held at the Lake Naivasha Resort.

Speaking at the event,  Laura Chite, CIO East Africa CEO who is also a Co-Founder of HerNovation said women have always been left behind when it comes to technology and there are several things that are hindering them from venturing into these careers – mentorship, opportunities and soft skills. 

Infact, according to a report issued by PwC’s Economics team despite decades of progress towards achieving equality in the workplace, women remain significantly under-represented in emerging tech. The imbalance between men and women in the technology sector the report says is unlikely to be remedied unless organisations, schools and universities work together to change entrenched perceptions about the tech industry, and also educate young people about the dynamics and range of careers in the technology world. 

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The report analysed the behavioural measures that bring gender equality to emerging tech. It shows that women currently hold 19% of tech-related jobs at the top 10 global tech companies, relative to men who hold 81%. In leadership positions at these global tech giants, women make up 28%, with men representing 72%.

Laura noted that soft skills are very important in any business working environment. ‘’One of the things we have noted is that most of us invest in hard certificates and skills, ignoring the soft skills which are more important’’

While these hard skills are important Laura said today’s employers seek more than this. Increasing importance is being placed on soft skills – personal attributes that enable you to interact well with other people. 

Hernovation brought together top female technology professionals within the region. Attendees were taken through different topics including building alliance with decision-makers,  becoming a member of the C-Suite, Speaking-up, dealing with negative thoughts among others.  There were also panel discussions on  personal branding for women in the corporate space and leadership.  

Soft skills have always been important in business but in the last few years, it’s become clear just how much more important they have become to the changing working environment.  In 2020, hernovation focus will be on communication skills, leadership development and emotional intelligence. 

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