In the words of Nino Enukidze: “Technology is the most powerful tool of support”
Nino Enukidze, the rector of the Business and Technology University, is just 35 years old. With her direct participation, the university became a signatory to UN Women’s Empowerment Principles in 2019, and to further support the involvement of girls in technology, she launched the “Coding School for Women” Initiative. Under its efforts, more than 2,500 girls have been trained in technological professions, with 75 per cent later employed in the industry. Nino Enukidze actively backs girls’ access to ICT education, their employment and a reduction of gender inequality through technology. She is currently involved in the joint “500 Women in Technology” project, which, together with UN Women, is supported by the Government of Norway and involves the participation of girls in targeted technologies.
Given as a compliment, the phrase ‘you have a man’s brain’ irritated me and caused feelings of resentment at school. Later, when I was a student, I clearly saw that boys enjoyed more privileges and that the lecturers, as well as decision-makers, were all men. Then, while working in different fields, I repeatedly experienced what it means when you want to do something new, good, but your opinion is not taken into account just because you are a woman, while you are only surrounded by men. I always wished that no other girl would ever experience such injustice. I wanted to somehow contribute to the changes in that kind of reality – and technology turned out to be the best opportunity.
In 2019, when we had an open day on the most demanding ICT programme at university, only one girl turned up; the rest of the entrants were boys. After the meeting, I became interested in the gender statistics of the programme. I found that the university’s efforts to promote digital transformation and bring various technologies into each field affected only boys, leaving girls behind. It was a turning point that made me see the problem clearly and prompted me to turn to UN Women for help.
Shortly after the signing of the Women’s Empowerment Principles, we started the Coding School for Women. Gathering volunteers at that stage turned out to be very difficult; girls did not even register for the free technology course. We practically begged our initial eight participants to agree and prepared the first round with our own resources. For the next stage, other companies and donors joined us, and the number of participants also increased. In general, this initiative has brought many positive changes to the university: we now have twice as many girls in the ICT programme, and the number of female lecturers who teach technology has equally increased. Moreover, while we could barely gather eight applicants in the first cycle, now we have four thousand girls registered in the “500 Women in Technology” project, which works on the preparation and employment of girls in technological professions. This is a very impressive figure.
Technology is the most powerful tool for supporting women. It can really make a quick and transformative change in reducing gender inequality, and defeating the injustices that girls face not only in technology but because of their own gender in general. Consequently, harnessing the potential of this industry is critically important.
The involvement of women in technology has a positive impact on the development of the field itself. There is a serious shortage of staff in the industry today, and girls’ potential is completely untapped. It is good that the companies themselves are aware of this and are ready, even within the framework of our initiative, to teach, train and employ 500 women. Of course, we never tell organizations to hire women just because of their gender. We ask them to create equal conditions and, when a woman is a worthy competitor, to support her. Ultimately, this decision is beneficial and favourable not only for the candidates but for the companies themselves. After all, the best results in successful organizations are created by balanced, gender-equal teams, including in technology.
Unfortunately, the largest barrier in Georgia – access to technology – remains a serious problem. Most girls do not have access to the appropriate devices or the Internet. This is a very serious challenge, and I think everyone should make an effort to overcome it. I believe that in this case, technology will change the lives of many more women and bring good results to the country.”