In March 2022, in celebration of International Women’s day, we organised an Africa focused event and hackathon related to Women in Data Science in Africa. The partners in this event were DARA Big Data, IDIA, SARAO and the OAD.
In March 2021, the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) released a Women in Data Science report that used the DARA Big Data project as a case study to assess the participation of young African women in data science initiatives, identify factors hampering their participation in skills training and research development initiatives, and explore recommendations that may increase women’s participation in future initiatives based on findings from the study. A key finding echoed throughout the study was the lack of African female role models who are actively working in frontier areas of data science and associated technologies, who can play a significant and active role in inspiring a younger cohort of aspiring female data scientists, data engineers and technologists. The study identified a Women in Data Science event which showcases and profiles Africa’s female talent in emerging technology areas within data science as an excellent initiative to inspire and engage a younger generation of female students from across the continent who may have similar ambitions.
DARA Big Data hosted its first African-focused Women in Data Science event from 8 – 10 March 2022. The event consisted of a one-day plenary session coinciding with International Women’s Day on Tuesday 8 March 2022. The event was open to women with a strong interest in data science from across the African continent. The one-day plenary was then followed by a hackathon event for female participants from the SKA Africa partner countries, which took place on the 9 and 10 March 2022.
The project for the hackathon involved conducting sentiment analysis using Twitter. Through the hackathon, students were be tasked with getting some understanding on the given topic and exploring opinions and reactions to it, both in Africa and internationally.
Adapted from the event website.