“People are still in awe when they hear of a female software engineer or a female medical doctor! – role models like me are so important in communities to prove that gender and marginality have no stronghold over one’s aspirations and passion.”
The Coronavirus pandemic has exposed and increased the vulnerability of many people and communities across the globe. With an unemployment rate of 8.4% in the US and approximately 881,000 deaths from COVID-19 worldwide, the negative and lasting effects of the virus have been devastating. One international example of how the pandemic has exacerbated inequality can be found in the education of girls in rural Zimbabwe.
In Andrew Wight’s recent Forbes article, he highlights the achievements of Zimbabwean woman Patience Mkandawire, who is providing education and resources to girls who have had their schooling impacted by the Coronavirus. Mkandawire is a student of IT and software engineering and is giving back to her community by helping girls in rural areas who have faced school closures. Wight explains,
“Mkandawire says the Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare the vast digital gap amongst children in urban areas and those in rural areas. School closures mean learners in Zimbabwe’s rural communities have little or no access to initiatives from the government such as radio lessons, online learning platforms and online tutorials.”
One way in which Mkandawire is working to bridge the gap between the rural school children and the urban school children is by, “working with a core team of young women who have access to the internet, to download and share available educational content with the learners in the communities through offline data sharing.” This kind of teamwork is a heartwarming story of a community of women working together to support the future of STEM: girls. wegg® is inspired by Mkandawire and her team’s efforts, as they assist girls in becoming the engineers, scientists, and leaders they are destined to be.