An individual who has previously been unable to make decisions on his own—is said to be empowered—when given the opportunity and freedom to do so. Among women, empowerment is a crucial factor for promoting their growth and influence in areas like health, nutrition, and their socioeconomic position. But empowerment is not the same everywhere. In the regions of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), African girls and women are constrained to seeking empowerment geographically, as the concept is ambiguously defined with an unreliable statistic to compare regions altogether.
It is only in the past few years that empowerment has climbed a steady growth there. African girls and women are noted to seek the perks of empowerment and attain success in their respective endeavors. From empowerment being poorly defined to making it a conceptual way of being, several intellectuals have put forth their voices and stood up for women. One of these is Amina H. Haji, a project manager at the MWIT (Muslim Women Institute for Technology)– Tech Women, which is a tech-driven nonprofit organization where she addresses the challenges faced by high-potential, disadvantaged women and youth in education, employment, and leadership. In addition, she is also the CEO and co-founder of Somali Professionals Network Eastern Africa (SPNEA), a corporate company that celebrates and connects Somalis who are successful business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs, and students.
Steering women in the direction of empowerment, Amina invites every skill set of coders, designers, strategists, marketers, and related professionals, providing them with the support they need through training, resources, experiences, and community.
Let’s walk through the interview between The CIO World and Amina H. Haji to learn about how she leads women’s empowerment globally.
What has been your source of motivation so far and what has led you on the path of a disciplined life?
God created each of us with unique personalities, traits, and ambitions. My uniqueness is something of which I should be proud. One thing I always remind myself of that motivates me is that we all have certain ingrained personality traits. As long as there is nothing negative or harmful about them, there is no reason for me to try hard to change them for the sake of anyone else. And if I dislike a particular
characteristic and want to change it as a way of improving myself, this can be a reason to change.
Could you kindly tell us about MWIT-Tech Women and the role you are playing there? Also, please share the ideas and developments that led to its inception.
MWIT is a non-profit organization and a tech company driven by young, passionate female leaders who are building a diverse team to work with partners to address the challenges faced by high-potential but disadvantaged women and youth in education, employment, and leadership.
What are the organization’s key offerings, and how are they impacting the demographic concerned?
MWIT addresses issues pertaining to women’s empowerment through technical capacity building, mentorship, networking, research, and innovation. There is a lack of awareness; women and girls are misinformed and left behind in many opportunities. We help Muslim women with skills and give them opportunities to service their work. The organization offers branding (web design, digital marketing, and graphic design), ICT, cloud computing, and software development to businesses. It helps to achieve important development goals and bring about positive changes for these women.
What is special about the organization? How is it enabling an environment for women technology leaders and aspirants to thrive in the industry? How are we achieving gender equality?
There has been some progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment, but women are still not fully empowered in technology and leadership. Women are the change agents and champions of their communities. When they are economically independent, women can better influence politics and empower themselves economically.
We would love to know about an incident that shaped your life profoundly and has made you into the person you are today. Could you please share it with us to motivate our audience to never give up in life?
I have been living, working, and staying with Muslim women from my community for my entire life. Many women have been forced into seclusion and silence, have been denied jobs and education, and are unable to be financially independent. I have always recognized cultural approaches that are harmful and, at the same time, prevent women and girls from expressing themselves or getting
information when needed. This laid the groundwork for my involvement in finding solutions to these issues and gave me the potential and strength to inspire other women and girls and change their lives.
As an experienced entrepreneur, what would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who wish to enter the industry, especially women entrepreneurs?
There is a lack of awareness. Women and girls are misinformed and left behind in many opportunities. This not only laid the groundwork for my involvement in finding solutions to these issues but also for gaining the potential and strength to inspire other women and girls and change their lives.
What are the future goals of your organization? How do you envision upscaling its operations and reach in 2022 and beyond?
To promote, empower, and build many confident Muslim women to participate in and influence society through technology. Our main mission is to ensure women are economically empowered through technology and build the diversity to work with partners to address the challenges faced by high-potential but disadvantaged women and youth in education, employment, and leadership.