A Honoris’ commitment to gender equality

The Sustainable Development Agenda, adopted by UN Member States in 2015, consists of 17 goals, developed to be a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. The 5th of these, Sustainable Development Goal 5, set a 2023 deadline for the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

Honoris United Universities acknowledges the magnitude of its role in helping to solve global sustainability challenges, currently demonstrating a contribution to 11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG5. Through the endeavors of our extensive network and student base, we demonstrate our commitment to these goals, with our various institutions and countries each contributing different pan-African initiatives for catalyzing change.

Gender equality for a sustainable economy across three pillars

At Honoris, our focus on gender equality is realized across three core areas: Students, Employees, and Community.

Within our student body, we have embedded a gender approach to our Employability Mandate. Despite high historical and structural gender inequalities in the markets where Honoris operates, progress has been made in tackling the gender gap across several disciplines, subject matters, and grades, ensuring that there is equal opportunity for all women and girls graduating while also increasing access to empowerment and leadership training for our female students. The 2022 female cohort, which has made up 51% of our entire pan-African student body for the past two years, is also given increasing access to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses and training, as well as access to transversal programs to build their work readiness.

To ensure equality among our employees, which has achieved a female majority of 53% for two consecutive years, we facilitate cross-border exchange and collaboration to increase shared knowledge among Honoris female talent while promoting favorable working conditions for women. In addition to this, our various teams work hard to nurture female mentoring and sponsorship across practices, functions, and markets to grow and excel as future leaders.

On a community level, we are passionate about partnering with international and regional initiatives that ignite change and impact women and girls in Africa, including Women In Africa, Women In Tech Africa. These initiatives, partnered with the sponsorship of the brightest young female talent to increase opportunity and impact across centers of excellence, particularly in STEM, works to emphasize women’s empowerment and upliftment.

Championing STEM – DigitalAll: Innovation and technology for gender equality

As the United Nations celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8th under the special theme, “DigitalAll: Innovation and Technology For Gender Equality,” we proudly celebrate our contribution to closing the gender gap across STEM. The necessary social, economic, and technological transformations laid out in the SDGs require that the STEM gender gap is closed, and this is also imperative for women’s economic empowerment, enabling women and girls to make informed life choices and participate fully in society. Without the equal contribution of women and girls to a career in STEM, we risk losing half of the potential creators, innovators, and scientists and their essential contributions to solving the world’s major problems.

We are proud that STEM enrolment for women and girls is above average in all Honoris markets, with 41% of women participating in STEM in 2022, +32% above the global market average. From 2021 to 2022, we also grew our STEM female participation by 11.4%, achieving an increase of 1,300 women in STEM courses in just one year.

These statistics are to celebrate, but there is still progress to be made to seize the momentum of the technological revolution for women’s empowerment. By 2050, 75% of jobs will be related to STEM access. Yet today, women hold just 22% of positions in Artificial Intelligence, to name just one. That’s why, through our coding Bootcamp, Le Wagon Casablanca, and in partnership with Orange Maroc, we launched the program “Hello Women” early this year to break down data science barriers and form a diverse and enthusiastic community of graduates, educators, and researchers.

Transforming female lives through relevant education for lifetime success

As active supporters of SDG 5, we are passionate about the vast untapped potential to empower women and girls in STEM fields and across our educational offerings. Gender equality is even more pressing in Africa. This continent boasts the highest number of female entrepreneurs anywhere in the world, and where there remains unlimited potential for women and girls to be harnessed to position Africa as the technology hub for the future.

They must have role models to encourage the next generation of women to enter STEM fields. At Honoris, we are proud to witness outstanding women’s achievements in STEM amongst our Faculty, Researchers, Students, and Alumni that can be inspirational for their communities.

As we join the UN in celebrating International Women’s Day, we reaffirm our commitment to uplifting and empowering these women and girls in STEM and promoting gender equality in our communities for a sustainable and thriving African economy.

Now is the time to capitalize upon this technological revolution and drive forward our societies together, leaving no one behind.