Bias, whether intentional or unintentional, makes it very hard for women to advance. It is not enough to recognize bias; action is required to level the playing field.
These young women are taking steps to combat gender inequality in the tech industry as this year’s IWD theme is “break the bias”.
We at Techbuild Africa are taking advantage of this chance to shine a light on these young ladies as they discuss their experiences forging new ground in the tech world.
Adedoyin Afolabi is a 24-year-old Nigerian graphics/brand designer. Adedoyin is the product marketing team’s lead designer of Sterline Bank, one of Nigeria’s most prestigious banks, she led the team of designers for Social Media Week now called AfricaNXT.
She revealed that she stumbled into the tech industry without even realizing it because all she wanted to do was design.
Adedoyin also stated that people are her motivation since they are the ones who make the world go round; whatever she does, she wants to reach out to people and resonate with them.
Breaking the bias for her will be having more women in her industry; she mentioned that in the beginning, whenever she wanted to ask a question, it was always a man on the other end; however, there are more female lead designers in 2022 than there were previously.
Doyin believes that scholarships should be developed for girls and women to study design, coding, and other tech skills in order to increase the number of women in the tech industry.
According to her, these scholarships will inspire more women to enter the tech industry. Adedoyin’s contribution is to train graphic designers in her community and, she wishes to do so on a bigger scale, to offer her time and skills to help other women.
Also read, #BreakTheBias: 5 Nigerian Female Innovators you should know
Ese Nieketien is a technical support lead with Tek Experts Nigeria, where she supports Microsoft 365 products and services, as well as customers from all over the world who use Microsoft products.
In an interview with Techbuild Africa, Ese revealed that she began her career in technology at a young age, starting with graphics and repairing devices. Ese’s motivation stems from her desire to learn new things and become involved in the world around her.
Ese shared that in her tech career, women are often considered as not intellectual enough, not qualified enough, or physically equipped enough to fill the role, while women, on the other hand, typically look down on their abilities to lead a tech position.
She argued that, in order to be included in the tech system, women should be better educated. Increase the number of tech classes, forums, hubs, and groups, and teach them that technology is not gender-based.
She encouraged women to pursue careers in technology, not for the money, but for the love of it.
Techbuild Africa also had a chat with Ajiri Omafokpe, a Web3 product designer in Yellow Card financial. Ajiri has always been interested in technology and has gravitated toward it.
Breaking the bias for her means being able to have her technical work valued and not having to jump through hoops merely to prove that she’s capable of advancing to a tech leadership role as soon as the other gender.
Ajiri believes heavily in mentorship, particularly in career, because it can assist to bridge the gender gap. She believes that having professionals in the tech space, such as herself, speak to young girls can help them understand that this is achievable.
Her advice to younger women and girls who want to pursue careers in technology is to own it. She also recommended that they should allow themselves to fail, win, and give themselves grace because they can overcome mistakes and become the best they can be. It will take time, but they will get there.
Also read, IWD 2022: 5 African Women Breaking the Bias in Technology
Deborah Emeni, a software developer and active member of tech communities across Africa, spoke with Techbuild Africa.
She began her career in technology in 2018 as an active part of the University of Port Harcourt’s tech community, as well as an active member of Google’s Developer Student’s Club, where she rose to become the club’s leader. Seeing other young individuals her age in the tech industry piqued her attention.
Deborah told Techbuild that more awareness is needed to break the bias in the tech environment, and she also urged that when a woman is underpaid due to her gender, she should speak out and share her concerns.
She believes that women should not confine themselves to their various skills and should instead participate in empowerment programs and obtain degrees.
Deborah also recommended that women get out there and volunteer in tech groups. She counseled all young women and girls to be bold and go after what they want; if they desire a tech talent, they should learn it and enroll in courses. Deborah recommended that if you perceive an opening in technology, you should take it.
Featured Image (L-R) Ajiri Omafopke, Deborah Emeni, Ese Nieketien, Adedoyin Afolabi
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