Gazan women in IT: doing what you love
Ghada Ibrahim is 33 years old and a senior management member at Gaza Sky Geeks - the leading co-working space, startup accelerator, and technology education hub in Gaza. The company teaches young men and women relevant IT skills, enabling them to find a job in the tech sector.
‘My journey with Gaza Sky Geeks started when I joined the Code Academy to learn programming. I had no experience in computer science. But I wanted to learn computer languages and really do something that matters. That brought me to the Code Academy. In late 2018 I officially joined the Gaza Sky Geeks team. All along, the sense of belonging to a talented, young, diverse community is what kept me wanting to take part and contribute.’
The Netherlands invests in entrepreneurship and innovative IT projects in Gaza, with the aim of offering young people better prospects for building a stable and sustainable future. Gender equality and promoting female entrepreneurship is an important aspect of Dutch policy.
‘Unfortunately, though young people in Gaza are among the most highly educated in the world, they face many challenges, including a lack of overall opportunities. A direct cause of that scarcity is the siege that we’ve been living under for over a decade now. This not only affects opportunities for acquiring and applying skills, but also slowly kills hope for a better quality of life. All that means that lots of young Gazans are competing for few existing job opportunities. It pushes people to leave Gaza and seek a new life elsewhere. That’s why it’s so important to have opportunities like Gaza Sky Geeks.
Gaza Sky Geeks is not only a Startup Accelerator. There’s an equal focus on empowering young Gazans through the mighty power of the internet. We build their technical skills and guide them in earning their income, both locally and remotely.’
Participation of women
‘Where I come from, women have to deal with their own specific challenges, balancing expectations and aspirations. Cultural norms and societal expectations have a huge effect on how women pursue opportunities. Even after obtaining a university degree, many women still get married and stay home to take care of the kids. However, many women are finding their voice, and equality is increasing. In some sectors women are now doing even better than men in terms of quality of work. Good examples are engineering, technology, management and teaching.
The real challenge now is to get more women to participate and to change the face of industries. It all starts with them doing what they love. That starts in schools. By working with young girls, we can offer them the right tools and skills to stand out.’