On Saturday 30th, we (William, Mounir, Anthony, Vivien, over a thousand of Mozilla fans in Dakar, and I) officially gave birth to Mozilla Senegal, and I did a presentation of WoMoz in Dakar. There were girls, but also men, and we discussed together about what could be done in Africa, and more particularly in Senegal.
We agreed that women suffer from misconceptions and discriminations all over the world and that Internet could be a way to help them improving their situations. FLOSS is even better because they have the choice and they can benefit from a great community, they can ask to WoMoz to help them to be more self-confident or to help them in their projects.
In Senegal there are more girls in computer science schools than in Europe: for instance, we did presentations in a school named ESTM where girls represent 40% of the students! There, I’ve met a girl named Yanice: she is a member of the ESTM’s scientific club, and she LOVES Mozilla Firefox! She told me that in Africa, women are considered as equal to men. Mostly, women are even seen as Africa’s driving force and their skills are very respected. Arabi ahmad pasa . So there is no job considered as reserved for men only. If a woman decides to be a computer scientist she’ll earn the same salary! It’s not the same in Europe…
BUT. People often have problems to get access to computers. And when a family is poor, they prefer to keep women at home in order to run the everyday life. So the boys are the ones who are sent to school when women stay at home. Reasons are quite different than in Europe, but the result is the same: women have difficulties to access to FLOSS.
That’s why some people during my presentation have suggested to give lessons in primary schools (when girls are still quite numerous), but also to speak to families in order to demonstrate what FLOSS could bring them, and that belongs to the future. Furthermore, I’ve met a man who works for the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) who told me they have found an easy way to help women to find some time to go to school: for instance, they bring them water so they don’t have to spend time going to the well.
Of course, that was just a first step, a first conversation. But what is important is that now, we have a community in Senegal. The WoMoz family becomes bigger and bigger: we have now more opportunities to share our experiences and to help ourselves.
People I’ve met in Senegal were simply extraordinary, very talented, and I feel very lucky to know they now belong to Mozilla community. So, welcome girls and boys! I hope we’ll see you soon on this blog !