Cambodian girls defy gender barriers to excel in technology

The founder culture of tech startups around the world continues to be dominated by men, and one recent study of over 40,000 global companies found that only 17 percent were founded by women. Hurdles to startups run by women include lack of venture capital and less networking opportunities.

In Cambodia, the tech sector is growing rapidly, but traditional gender barriers are preventing young women from taking advantage of opportunities to participate in the future of the Southeast Asian nation’s tech industry.

Technovation is a global technology entrepreneurship program which encourages girls between 10 and 18 years old to develop skills they need to emerge as tech entrepreneurs and leaders. It also aims to raise their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program encourages girls to engage in their communities and come up with technological solutions to resolve problems.

In Cambodia, the initiative was launched in 2014, organized by USAID in partnership with Cambodia’s education ministry, NGOs and the private sector.

Heang Oumuoy, Technovation’s ambassador for Cambodia, told DW that the program aims to increase the number of women in technology-driven sectors and equip young girls with entrepreneurial knowledge. “In 2017, one of the 23 Cambodian teams advanced to the final stage of Technovation’s international competition. They beat 1,100 teams, and approximately 5,000 girls, from all over the world,” said Oumuoy.