The Nigerian tech ecosystem has been witnessing hyper growth levels in the last couple of years. The ecosystem has had record levels of funding, with startups springing up from different verticals.
However, despite all these strides, the Nigerian tech ecosystem is an industry heavily dominated by men. Due to years of tech educational imbalances, men have gone on to control the technology business. For instance, none of the top 15 startup funding rounds in Nigeria included any female-led startups.
Dear Women,— Olúwatósìn Olaseinde (@tosinolaseinde) March 8, 2019
Pls don't wait for anyone to call you intelligent, smart, powerful, magic or any of those acronyms
You are enough
Happy International Women's Day
Yet, women are increasingly playing a big role in tech. From learning to code to financing tech startups, women are gradually making their marks on the Nigerian tech scene. And recognising the strides made by women is one of the core aspects of the 2019 International Women’s Day celebration.
Themed “Balance for Better,” #IWD 2019 pays attention to the ways by which gender balancing can be achieved globally.
So here are four women that have earned their ways to the top of the tech ladder and are inspirational for greater gender parity in the Nigerian tech world.
One of the crucial reasons why there are not a lot of women in tech is because of the skillset requirements. Simply put, not a lot of women code. But Banke Alawaye is at the forefront of changing this narrative.
As Program Manager for the Code Lagos Initiative, Ms Banke is leading the push to train one million Lagosians how to code. Since taking up the reins in May 2017, the Code Lagos initiative has concluded 5 batches and has trained over 60,000 residents on how to code.
Although it still has a lot to do, the free and accessible nature of the Code Lagos initiative makes it an important way to equip more women with the necessary tech skills to enter the field.
Ms Omobola Johnson is one of the biggest names in the Nigerian tech world. But she’s neither a coder or a startup founder. Rather, she’s a financier. After nearly three decades as a consultant, Ms Omobola became Nigeria’s minister for Communication Technology from 2011 to 2015.
Her term in office paralleled the initial growth of the Nigerian startup ecosystem.
She helped support the early growths of companies like Jumia, Konga, CcHub and many others.
Stanbic does an excellent job with diversity and representation.— Olúwatósìn Olaseinde (@tosinolaseinde) March 8, 2019
Did you know that there are only 3 Women CEOs of the 169 companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange?
PS: Stanbic IBTC prior CEO was a woman
Now chief executive of African region of Standard Bank pic.twitter.com/lMBeFrxonA
Since leaving office, Ms Omobola has been a senior partner at TLCom Capital, a VC firm dedicated to financing African startups.
Ire Aderinokun was the first ever Google Developer Expert (GDE). Google Developer Experts are like rockstar developers highly skilled in certain technologies. And as expected GDEs, particularly from Nigeria, are majorly men.
But Ire changed this narrative and serves as a huge inspiration to female coders just starting out. She shares her experiences and coding tutorials to inspire more coders and keep them in tune with trending technologies.
Ms Funke Opeke is the most famous woman in the Nigerian tech ecosystem. As founder and CEO of MainOne Cable Company, Ms Opeke is not in a consumer-facing tech sector. Rather her work is highly technical and involves more business-to-business dealings. But she has earned her place and her company is now one of the biggest connectivity solutions provider in West Africa.
On this International Women’s Day for better gender parity, these women are important role models. They help to show that women can do more in the tech sector and can take up equal responsibility as their male counterparts.