Shining the light on women in tech
Stride ERP and Patricia have joined the list of global brands agitating for an inclusion of women in tech in a webinar/twitter space conversations hosted about having an inclusive space in tech for women. The conversation followed women on their journey into the tech space, an industry considered to be a man’s world.
The panel consisted of budding of tech entrepreneurs and other incredible women in tech, Ada Nduka Oyom (founder, SheCodeAfrica); Adora Nwodo (software engineer, Microsoft); Oluwakemi Adeleke (Design Pal); Chidinma Ukaegbu (BossBus); Chinedu Nwankwo (growth analyst, Bamboo), and Tyrhonda Glinton (Stem Fem).
The events, inspiring, featured accomplished women who beat the odds. One message that came through “loud and clear” at each session was the need for any girl starting out in tech to have a community and get a mentor. The discussions reinforced that pacing oneself is important as well as being intentional about learning and putting in the work.
Every other year since 1975 International Women’s Day has been globally celebrated. Focusing on the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Marked annually on March 8, International Women’s Day (IWD) is one of the most important days of the year to: Celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness about women’s equality
The panellists discussed challenges, noting being a woman in tech and the way forward. The audience, which included many women in tech and also those in the process of exploring tech for themselves, were engaged and had many questions.
“Although women are a small minority in the tech industry, it is also an issue that many women tend to understate their achievements, and not let their own light shine. Women in tech event by Stride Erp is a first step to intentionally creating an awareness for inclusion of women in tech.
“Diversity and inclusion cannot be a one-time campaign; rather, they are causes that require continuous work that needs to be developed, maintained and cultivated. We hope to see a lot more conversation and communities created to help girls fit in,” Tyhonda Gliton, said.
The way forward
Education: “Encouraging younger girls to choose STEM subjects is the first step on the road to getting more women in the technology industry. Helping schools broaden their curriculum is another positive way to get school children thinking about a career in technology.
“Gender equality begins with education. This leads to more women in STEM that are well equipped to go into tech and leadership roles,” Adora Nwodo said.
Pointing to personal experience, she recalled: “Growing up, my parents instilled in my brothers and me a love of learning, curiosity and the ability to go in any direction in our careers. I chose tech. When girls are educated and have the support of their family and friends, our countries, communities, and companies become stronger and better able to flourish.”
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It’s vitally important that support for women in tech continues beyond their school years. “Increased mentorship is one way forward for diversity,” according to Chidinma. “As a woman working in technology, I can say that, outside of my dogged stubbornness, my opportunities have stemmed from having mentors in this space willing to advocate for me and show me the way.
“Recognising the dearth of diversity in the industry, I’m passionate about increasing the participation and impact of both women and under-represented communities in technology. I volunteer at many levels, from She Code Africa to coaching and mentoring with the Innovation and Tech team at Slum 2 School Africa. We must create more space for women within the industry,” she said.
Tyhorda Glinton, founder, Fem Stem, reinforced the importance of supporting other women: “Remember to be champions for each other. Be the change you want to see. It is up to us to empower the next generation of women in all industries to pursue their dreams and demand equality.”
Adora also argued that institutional change is key. “Finding a supportive, inclusive organisation is not easy, but they do exist. Here at Fluent Commerce, we support, and continue to support, a diverse team and an open, inclusive working environment.
“To drive real cultural change, business leaders need to create a platform for exploring women’s diverse experiences and perspectives, only then can they have meaningful conversations, generate truly impactful action plans, and fully realise the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce.”
She also pointed out that it is on the hiring of every company/organisation to be intentional about their hiring process. “The hiring process of companies should be all inclusive. There is a tendency for more men to apply for IT roles but the hiring manager can go extra miles to include women.”
To conclude, Oluwakemi Adeleke, founder, Design Pal, pointed out how far things have come in recent years. “There are now so many opportunities, organisations and initiatives that push for a future of work where everybody has a seat at the table, from International Day of the Girl to Women in Tech by Stride ERP to other awareness events. Pursuit of progress towards a fair and equitable environment is always a worthy undertaking – let’s keep the momentum going.”
Together we can Break the bias.
Isiah, a communication strategist, writes from Lagos