Breaking the code: how women in Nigeria are changing the face of tech

Female developers are proving itself to be influential forces within the countrys booming technology sector however the stigma persists that computing is really a male industry

The Nigerian tech scene is booming. This past year, Lagos-based startup Andela received $24m (18.5m) in funding from Mark Zuckerberg. In 2015, financial technology startup Paystack among the first Nigerian tech companies to become recognized into famous California-based startup accelerator Y Combinator guaranteed roughly $1.3m in seed investment from worldwide investors.

In this particular growth, women are proving itself to be influential forces, and altering the face area of technology in Africa, mainly in the fields of farming and financial tech. This really is even though, as lately as about ten years ago, women were grossly underrepresented in and excluded in the industries they are assisting to shape.

I believe individuals who’re joining the tech world today come with an simpler road to tread, states Nnenna Nwakanma, a Nigerian activist for accessible internet. There have been situations where individuals would won’t recognise my authority, but would patronise or objectify me, or won’t fulfil contracts they’d voluntarily joined into all due to my gender. Regardless of this, Nwakanma co-founded the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) and it is now a senior policy manager for the World Wide Web Foundation, where she supports digital equality and promotes the legal rights of Nigerian women online.

The negative attitude towards womens participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) is beginning to alter, thanks partially to initiatives like the Stem outreach and mentoring programmes established through the Trying to Advance Science Education for African Women (WAAW) Foundation, which are operating in 11 countries. There’s also Intels programme She Will Connect Africa, that has trained greater than 150,000 women in Nigeria, Nigeria and Kenya in digital literacy because it launched in 2013.

The interest in tech talent has become so that it can’t be met by men alone. Rapid digitalisation in Nigeria is heavily concentrated within the countrys metropolitan megacity, Lagos. Here, the startup culture flourishes, while big business have moved in: in 2015, global tech supplier Bosch opened up a subsidiary in Ikeja, the main city of Lagos region, and Microsoft comes with an office within the affluent Lagos neighbourhood of Ikoyi.

Ire Aderinokun the writer of web design blog, a front-finish developer and Nigerias first female Google Developer Expert states her passion for tech began like a hobby. I did previously play a web-based game known as Neopets, which in fact had some HTML abilities. After that, I acquired really interested and ongoing to find out more. But, despite Aderinokuns enthusiasm, her interest wasn’t always encouraged. Its certainly not what society expected of me. I studied psychology in my undergraduate and law in my masters. After I stated I needed to pursue this, there have been lots of people who explained to not.

Rukayat Sadiq, an application engineer along with a technical team leader at Andela, also faced opposition. She made a decision to study electrical engineering a topic where a type of 150 students may include only 15 women towards the surprise of buddies and family, who’d expected her to become physician.

While women entering and participating equally within the work marketplace is commonplace in Nigeria, computing and engineering continue to be industries dominated heavily by men. However, many ladies who operate in the tech industry want to provide support to individuals approaching. Aderinokun, for instance, is funding full scholarships to 5 women for online programming nanodegrees. These qualifications don’t guarantee employment, however they give individuals who’ve earned them a definite advantage at work and therefore are endorsed by top employers, including Google, AT&T and Amazon . com. Sadiq also spends time teaching and mentoring newbies.

Taking out the stigma and assumption that tech is just said to be for males is essential, and i believe we have to begin with as at the start of childrens lives as you possibly can, states Aderinokun. We ought to work at eliminating negative statements and mindsets that perpetuate the parable that ladies cant engage in Stem.

It’s hopeful that we’ll eventually get to some extent where tech-related fields are level playing cause for both sexes.

It’s a challenge that continues around the world, but it’s one Nigeria is well outfitted to deal with.

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