It's a fact: technology is a mostly male industry. It's a problem that affects IT well outside of Silicon Valley. It even stretches into the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, where a group of women are fighting back with a femme-centric network of designers, programmers and other techies.
The self-styled Akirachix ("Akira" is Japanese for energy and intelligence) are a collaborative group of women that met at the iHub, a hacker-space in Nairobi, Kenya. The projects that the various Akirachix work on have a distinctly local flavor. They echo other projects in Kenya's fast-growing tech sector. Judith Owigar, the founder of Akirachix created JuaKali a microjobs site that connects skilled laborers to new projects. Another project allowed rural farmers to check crop prices via text message, cutting out (often corrupt) middlemen. That project morphed into M-Farm and now employs 18 people.
Akirachix leverages these successful apps and businesses to promote the growing role of women in Kenya's fast-growing tech sector. Owigar put it simply, "We need them to see that we are doing it and we enjoy it. You know, you don't find many African women looking for the spotlight. Most of them tend to hide their awesomeness."