Baratang Miya – Empowering Women and Girls in Tech

Baratang Miya – Empowering Women and Girls in Tech
4 min read

“Media is one of the biggest influences on how girls define themselves. We want them to write and curate content for various distribution channels to inspire healthy conversations and honest perspectives.”

– Baratang Miya

Baratang Miya

Baratang Miya is the Founder and CEO of GirlHype — Women Who Code, a not-for-profit that provides programming and app development training for girls and young women. She is also a key leader of the Mozilla Clubs for Women and Girls.

As a self-taught coder, Baratang has been sharing her skills and experiences with women and girls through her organisation. Although she focuses on getting women into STEM, she understands that this is about building women’s self-efficacy and confidence, to work in tech and beyond.

Baratang Miya

Despite the success she has acquired, Baratang started from humble beginnings characterised by sexism and discrimination. Born an African black girl during the time of Apartheid in South Africa, she kept working hard though society was designed in such a way that there was a lack of opportunities and hope for her.

Baratang Miya

As Baratang grew older, she came to realise that being denied certain educational and career opportunities inspired her to work with women and girls. She learnt how to code in 2003 and felt it was a powerful skill every child should learn. She thought about how powerful it would be for more young women to be exposed to it, and realise that technology and entrepreneurship is an option for them too. This led to the creation of GirlHype in 2003.

GirlHype is a platform for empowered woman to be able to empower other groups of young women around them-through mentorship and instilling values and beliefs of, “I can do it,” through tangible leadership tools and education that teach girls emotional intelligence, professional skills, and personal growth.

“This is one way to bridge the digital divide in South Africa. The faster women’s digital skills are being developed and women are being given internet access, the faster they will become economically strong. They will be able to realise the economic benefits that can be unlocked by being on the web, and access opportunities that are being provided by e-commerce.”

GirlHype has helped more than 10,000 women and girls so far and has its eyes set on helping 200, 000 women and girls by 2020.

Baratang Miya at Africa Code Week

Baratang Miya is a woman who worked her way up the ladder. She has been named among 50 People Who Made the Internet a Better Place in 2016 by Mozilla, and was a first runner-up at the 2016 MTN Women in ICT Community Builder awards ceremony. She  received a TechWomen award by the US State Department to spend six weeks in Silicon Valley mentored by women executives in Tech, and a week in Washington DC learning about United States ICT policies from the state department. Baratang was also chosen for the 2017 ITS Global Policy Fellowship which took place in Brazil, where she had the opportunity to work with key ICT stakeholders and government officials. She was recently invited by UNCDP to Geneva Switzerland to present on e-commerce from the perspective of ACP countries. Her work at GirlHype has been presented to Deutsche Welle in Germany to G20 countries delegates.

Baratang is changing the world a day at a time and helping to bridge the gender gap in STEM. When interviewed by TEDxCape Town and asked what inspires her to get out of bed every morning, she replied, “empowering women and girls to be content creators and closing the gender gap in technology.”

Baratang Miya at TEDx Cape Town

Her journey teaches us a great lesson to be persistent, hardworking and above all, passionate in everything we do.