Sponsored: Celebrating and recognising women in technology

Telkom is also sponsoring two categories: Leader of the Year (CIO, CTO, CISO) and Top Tech Student.

01 April 2024

Gugu Mthembu, Chief Marketing Officer, Telkom Consumer

It’s been a rocky journey, but South African women have demonstrated their strength and been consistently pursuing careers in the technology sector, with an ever increasing number of women making their mark in this sector.

The Wired4Women Tech Forum was established to lift up women and guide them through their career journeys, improving the gender balance. And to assist with this, Wired4Women launched a uniquely South African awards in 2024, devoted solely to women in tech.

Wired4Women believes that an annual awards programme is a natural progression to celebrate female excellence and showcase the impact women are having on the industry – and so does Telkom, which has stepped in, along with ITWeb Brainstorm, to be the primary sponsor of the awards.

Gugu Mthembu, Chief Marketing Officer, Telkom Consumer, says: “Telkom has chosen to sponsor these awards because we recognise the indispensable role of women in driving innovation and progress within the technology industry. By supporting these awards, we aim to champion female excellence and promote gender diversity, ensuring that women’s contributions are celebrated and acknowledged.

“Our sponsorship reflects our commitment to fostering a more inclusive and equitable industry landscape, where every talented individual has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.”

Mthembu adds that the Wired4Women awards set themselves apart from other forms of recognition in the technology sector through demonstration of and dedication to diversity and inclusivity, crucial principles that strongly resonate with Telkom’s objectives.

“These awards hold particular significance for us as they perfectly align with our core mission of fostering gender diversity and empowering women in the technology realm. What is unique about Wired4Women is that it’s not just about celebrating the role the awardees play in the industry, but the fact that the initiative also promotes active mentoring and collaborative engagements on topical matters in the field. It’s a holistic approach to ensuring a sustainable pipeline for women in technology fields and a platform to provide role models for future generations.

“By virtue of the awards attracting and honouring entrants from all levels of organisations, including multinationals, they will have exposure beyond the borders of South Africa. I believe the awards will be fertile ground for organisations to identify key talent in the technology arena and that their significance will grow, serving as a powerful symbol of progress and empowerment within the technology community.

Championing gender diversity

“We’re excited about the positive impact our support will bring. It’s more than just sponsorship for us as a brand; it’s about reaffirming Telkom’s commitment to championing gender diversity and empowering women in the tech industry. We see this as an opportunity to connect with inspiring female professionals and emerging talent, fostering meaningful collaborations and partnerships along the way. By showcasing female excellence in a deeply resonant manner, both within the technology community and to our wider consumers, these awards will actively shape a more inclusive and equitable industry landscape and future. “We are seeing a rise in women in South Africa who are spearheading transformative initiatives across multiple sectors. Women bring a unique set of qualities and perspectives that can greatly influence the socio-demographics of our country. Female leadership is paving the way for meaningful change.”

Telkom is also sponsoring two categories: Leader of the Year (CIO, CTO, CISO) and Top Tech Student. “By recognising both ends of the spectrum – those who have just entered the field and those who have traversed the technology journey – shows that Telkom is invested in both planting the seeds and enjoying the resultant harvest. The two complement each other. The Leader of the Year is an inspiration to the Top Tech Student and the Top Tech Student is a reminder to the Leader of the Year of the journey taken to where they are today,” says Mthembu.

“Telkom values the qualities of leadership and innovation. By supporting these categories, we aim to honour exemplary leadership and encourage the next generation of tech professionals. It’s our way of investing in the future of the tech industry.

“This also aligns with our Future Makers Programme that recognises and encourages tech startups and SMEs using digital technology to provide solutions to social challenges and building strong, resilient businesses.”

Recognising excellence

Mthembu elaborates on why Telkom is an avid sponsor of industry and sporting awards. “We are very intentional about the initiatives we support and place great importance on recognising excellence and promoting talent.

“The platforms we choose to sponsor must always align to our brand purpose, our key values.

“Sponsorships strengthen our brand presence, build positive relationships and also align with our values as a socially responsible organisation. By connecting with our customers, employees, and stakeholders through sponsorships, we aim to make a meaningful and positive impact in the communities we serve.

“By sponsoring these awards, Telkom can prominently associate its brand with a crucial initiative, fostering discussions on women’s impact on technology and society, and advancing gender equity in ICT.”

There are 11 Wired4Women awards categories, around the technology areas of leadership, entrepreneurship, business and talent. Judging of the awards will be conducted by an independent, carefully selected jury. “Telkom will not influence any judging decisions. Our role is to ensure that through our investment, this platform has the right level of prestige expected of an awards initiative of this nature,” concludes Mthembu.