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On the 4th of February 2019, Dream Girls Academy alongside the UK South Africa Tech Hub launched the month-long DreamCode Boot Camp. The Boot Camp intends to empower 30 young women aged 18 – 35 years old by equipping them with digital, basic coding and personal branding skills.

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The upcoming fourth industrial revolution has resulted in companies across all industries and continents digitizing their businesses, which has resulted in digital skills being in high demand. Digital skills during this revolution make one instantly employable. However, the tech industry is still predominantly a “men’s world” with studies reporting that 80% of tech jobs are held by men. This is due to the discouragement women encounter from a young age and the lack of skills transfer.

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According to StatsSA, the South African rate of unemployment among women was 29,5% in the second quarter of 2018 compared to 25,8 % with men. This may look like a slight difference but considering that statistically there are more women than men, the difference in the employment rates show that there are strides South Africa needs to take to ensure gender equality in the South African labour market.

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Employment empowers women because it provides women with control over their own lives, bodies and gives them a valuable voice in the household and economy. According to the United Nations when more women work, economies grow. Hence, when women receive employment opportunities it is not only beneficial to the one gender but to society. Plus, women spend a larger percent of their income in the household and are more likely to give to charity organisations.

Programmes such as the DreamCode BootCamp are very important for our society not only because they may or may not lead to employment and boost our economy. Women empowerment programmes are important because they help the beneficiaries realize their potential and open up their world to new people and new experiences. Most importantly, programmes that organisations like Dream Girls Academy offer will hopefully inspire the beneficiaries to invest their time and energy in empowering their own communities.

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Written by Nkhesani Jessica Mahlekisi

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