Hello Friends! Yeah, it has been a while… I know.
So, I recently got the opportunity to speak at two International Women’s Day tech events in March 2020. One was the Facebook Developer’s Circle [titled: Collectively Building An Equal And Enabled World Using Technology]
and the other was for the Google Women Techmakers [titled: Achieving Gender Balance In Tech].
How did it go? it went well, I mean you could ask the awesome sisters in the audience. (I hope I inspired them).
So basically I spoke about the constant challenges women face the tech industry, how we are redefining it and also how we can help lift each other. Curious? Well here’s what I spoke about:
Gender equality is not just a global fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.
Gender inequality is not an issue that only affects women. When half of the human population is denied their full potential, the world as a whole is at an enormous disadvantage.
The goal of a gender-balanced world:
Equal access to resources and opportunities, irrespective of gender
The tech industry is a great place to work as a woman because it is a dynamic and expanding sector that provides enough opportunities for all of us.
Over time, history has shown that women have and will continue to make significant contributions to technology from Ada Lovelace, Juliet Ehimuan, Funke Opeke, to Temie Giwa-Tobusun, etc.
However, women are a minority in tech in Nigeria. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, women make up on average just 22% of the total number of Engineering and Technology university graduates each year.
Meaning, women have fewer digital literates, digital skills and make-up roughly a fifth of the total number of people working in information and communication technology sector.
This disparity starts much earlier when female enrolment in technology and engineering courses of Nigerian higher institutions is lower than men’s. This means men are shaping the technology being developed, while women are largely passive users.
Research has shown that better and more useful tools are created when the developers fully represent the diversity of the societies we live in. Also, 90% of the jobs in the next 10 years will require technology skills and knowledge. If women are under-represented as technology developers and sophisticated users, we will be left behind in tomorrow’s world.
The lack of women in technology roles contributes to a vicious cycle where other young women are deterred from entering the industry due to a lack of inspiration, role models, or even a support system.
However, across Nigeria, technology can give women a leg up and cause a global transformation, giving them the flexibility to earn an income as well as look after their families, via flexible hours and remote jobs which can boost economic growth and empowerment in the process, and giving companies opportunities to have a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Women are creating businesses with impact using tech-enabled digital platforms, in turn contributing to the annual GDP growth.
More women in tech mean more women closing the gender employment gap in the sector and Nigeria. With a support system, mentorship, training access and networks that will allow them to truly accelerate their careers.
Technologies can aid in health care, this can help reduce women mortality rate during pregnancy, improve access to health education and medical assistance.
Technology also gives women more of a voice to improve their social status, women can now easily speak against stereotypes, bias, harassment and influence policies.
Why should an equal and enabled tech industry matter to you?
- Better team performance engaging proactively with diverse skills, better communication and collaboration
- Diverse perspective from different genders and experiences
- Better problem solving
- A boost in creativity & innovation
- An increase in revenue
- and an increase in reputation
How do we achieve it?
I came up with a unique idea which requires women acting as support systems for each other creating a chain reaction…
We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.
— Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
Finally, I believe that tech has the power to unlock amazing new possibilities for gender equality in the world.
This can in turn help with inclusion and an enabled world transformation in all sectors of our community and the environment.
So start today and bring your unique perspective, contributions or project to help build an equal and enabled world for gender equality to thrive, be each for equal by applying your tech unique talents for positive social change and together we will rise.