Making the Invisible Visible: Practical Lessons For Nigerian Women in Tech
Companies the world over have tried encouraging women to participate more by giving out scholarships for women into technology institutes, to learn the things they need to know to advance in this particular area. Various programs and events have been organized in this regard but often time fewer women turn up at these events. One of such event was the Women in Tech organized by Abisoye, one of the ladies at iDEA Hub Lagos, on the 26th of March, 2015. As usual, very few women turned up at the event.
Despite all these awareness and events, there seem to be fewer and fewer women showing interest in anything techie. I remember telling a male friend how I could never purchase a phone without understanding its works and what’s in it( the OS, Core processor etc.) but I can’t say same about majority of my female friends. Some can’t even be bothered about the model of their phones.
Using iDEA Hub itself as a case study, since I myself work from there, while there are over 70 guys at the hub, there are less than 20 women there, and even fewer of us really relate with each other. I realized that until recently when I celebrated my birthday at the hub, I had not spoken to more than five of the ladies there and yet we all work in the same office space. Of course I am as guilty as every one of these women.
How can we women do things differently so as to encourage others develop a new kind of interest for technology?
There is this ‘thing’, that women hardly work together successfully without a fight during and after. I myself have found instances where I would rather relate with the guys in the office than with any of the girls. Guys tend to say what they really feel about you and your work than the ladies. I think this is something that needs to change, ladies have to relate with each other more at the office and build budding friendships like never before. We don’t need to act like we’ve got something stuck up our butt when we are around each other.
Build a Support System
Rather than letting jealousy and bitterness get the better of us, we should build a working support system for each other. It will definitely be a breath of fresh air knowing that every time I encounter a bump in my job, I have my techie female friends to discuss it with and get sound advice in return. Believe me this is very important; I bet you understand better if you have had to discuss your techie problems with your friends who have no idea how to successfully power up their computers.
Ask for Help
I think women are either built or self-develop themselves in a way to just want to fix everything by themselves. Asking for help is never a weakness but rather a sign of strength. This is one of the things I admire about my male friends, as soon as they experience a certain issue either in coding, or just getting into a site, they Skype other friends and ask for help and in few minutes have their issue resolved. I believe it will be more comfortable asking your own female friends for help and not having to bug the guys everything step of the way.
Share Ideas with each other
Women seriously need to stop hoarding information like their lives depended on it. We know you do not want to share the name of your fav weave with anyone. You have probably also instructed the lady that supplies you jewelries never sell to the other girls in the office, because you don’t want to have to see everyone else wearing them. But please leave this mindset in your fashion league. If you happen to find important information that you know will help the other women perform better and efficiently at work, share it!
Stop Digging Graves
In offices I’ve seen women develop hatred for other women without any reason whatsoever. I’ve been at the receiving end of this couple of places I’ve worked and would wonder “what did I do”. Often I hear things like “Sincerely she hasn’t offended me, I just don’t like her”; like seriously? And a lot of women are often quick to put each other down even in front of their bosses. We need to grow up and support each other, if someone does an outstanding work, commend them sincerely and ask how they were able to do it, you will be surprised how much you would learn and also end up developing a one of a kind relationship with them.
Respect Other People’s Work and Creation
It seems so easy for us women to find fault and put each other down. Rather than complaining and murmuring about ourselves, when someone in the tech industry does something outstanding, show your respect for the work done, because you understand better what it took to put that thing in place. When someone starts up a new business, don’t be quick to name one million reasons why it will fail, support them, talk to them to get better knowledge on what the business is all about and refer others to them if you can.
Do Things Differently
After all is said and done, let us all work together, have each other’s back and teach those in other industries how they should treat others by living by example.