Wentors, a women’s mentorship organisation, and Microsoft, have committed to mentor and train 1,000 women working in the technology industry, as a way of promoting gender diversity.

Wentors is a global community of women in technology mentoring and nurturing each other. On the platform, experienced women in the tech industry mentor upcoming young women joining the industry, and final year students looking to start a technology career.

The initiative was launched by Microsoft 4Afrika employee, EduAbasi Chukwunweike. The idea was formed from her professional conversations, and a will to make an impact with gender diversity in the technology industry.

“We believe the people best situated to nurture these dreams are the women currently in technology and hence we are redefining the mentorship roadmap by building a global community of women in technology who nurture each other,” said Chukwunweike.

According to the United Nations Institute of Statistics (UIS) less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women. Numerous studies have found that women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields publish less, are paid less for their research and do not progress as far as men in their careers. UNESCO notes that a strong gender imbalance exists globally, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, in regard to women’s representation in STEM fields.

The organisation runs Cohorts programs, eight to 12-week periods during which each mentor commits to an hour-long weekly session with her mentee. The cohorts have weekly themes and provide the mentors with mentorship packages to guide them through the process. As part of the cohort, the programme provides soft skills training and webinars in areas such as personal branding, networking, communication and imposter syndrome.

To date, Wentors has facilitated mentorship among 240 women across four continents, with a community of over 900 members through partnership with different communities and tech companies.

Anne Wariara, One of the participants from Kenya, said, “An opportunity to interact with great women in the technology space and having them give me insight of the job market and ways to improve myself before getting into the job market is such a bonus for me, considering I am a student.”

The programmes are all virtual, which enables a global audience to participate, and uses a platform that leverages AI algorithms to match mentors with mentees. The organisation uses Microsoft Office 365 and hosts all its training and webinars using Teams.