Baratang Miya: From Being Rejecting for being Pregnant to Teaching Girls Coding and Empowerment in South Africa

The list of challenges women must have faced during the apartheid season in South Africa would have been endless. It was a double edged sword – facing being owned in a man’s world to being regarded as a second fiddle, if at all – that pierced the women’s core at will. Countless women may have been denied successes just because they are women at that time.

These handicaps were not enough to lockdown Baratang Miya, who is a survivor of one of South Africa’s harshest moment and now leading the charge to get girls and women to learn coding in today’s competitive market place. Her experiences have been bitter-sweet, serving as the fuel for her mission.

A young Baratang saw herself as a daring, go-getting and effect lawyer in the future but the stereotype profiling of women at the time during the 1948 – 1994 South Africa’s apartheid regime dashed such hopes but she still rose from sadness to now be a helpmeet for over a million girls learning about software creation and working with the software giants like Mozilla, Adobe, CiTi, Blackberry etc.

The apartheid era fuelled her as she watched over one of her sons during childcare session and found a cluster of people typing away and the screens showed 1s and 0s endlessly on the screens. Being an inquisitive woman, she drew nearer and her interest rose tight within her chest afterwards. That was the birth time for GirlHype Coders Academy.

GirlHype was founded in 2003, a creative hub training for young girls and women in the digital and internet age for the purose of empowering the female folk in the work force. She is championing the internet age in South Africa to include women in digital world as well as making it possible for the youth to be recognised as a vital component in decision making and policy formulation at all levels.

In 2006, Baratang Miya was named among 50 People Who Made the Internet a Better Place in 2016 awarded by Mozilla; First runner-up 2016 MTN Women in ICT Community Builder award. She received a TechWomen award by US State Department to spend six weeks in Silicon Valley mentored by women executives in Tech. She also won the Anzisha Prize for African youth entrepreneurship and the TechWomen Emerging Leader Award from the U.S. Department of State.

She got her placement at Adobe for her mentorship. Baratang was chosen for the 2017 ITS Global Policy Fellowship in Brazil, where she worked with key ICT stakeholders and government officials. Baratang was a speaker at UNCDP Geneva Switzerland to present on E-commerce from the perspective of ACP countries. Her Girlhype initiative has been presented to Deutsche Welle in Germany to G20 countries delegates.

She was the business development manager for Cape Innovation Technology Initiative, BlackBerry Appslab, and managed the City of Cape Town’s SmartCity content development strategy. She is also the founder of Women in Tech Academy. GirlHype was possible with entities such Cape Chamber Of Commerce, dtic’s Technology for Women In Business (TWIB), Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town, South African Women In Business (SAWEN), South African Women In Science and Engineering (SAWISE) and the Universities in Western Cape especially UCT, UWC, CPUT and University of Stellenbosch.