First of all — introduction.
The modern workplace is still largely testosterone driven, despite the world being much less patriarchal than it used to be, say like a hundred years ago. And there’s not many places where the gender disparity is more pronounced than in technology.
So it’s good that successful women, in tech no less, are encouraging other women to go hard, to lean in, break through the glass ceiling. Perhaps take over the building outright even.
Looking at the global trend, it is obvious that gender parity in technology is inevitable. But it doesn’t seem to be happening fast enough for some people, in Africa especially. I can’t say I blame them. For instance, if you walked into a place like the CcHub for the first time, you could be overwhelmed by all the maleness going on there, depending on how sensitive you are to these things.
These things, however, aren’t really as they seem…certainly not from a sweeping helicopter view, as I have found in my experience. After I started getting the “where are the women in technology?” question like everyday of the week, I grew weary of it and decided to go in search of the answer.
Seek, and you shall find, right? Yup. Only I wasn’t really prepared for how how much I would find, and how fast I would find it. And I didn’t just find any women in technology…I found the ones who actually code. Six of them, so far.
So starting today, and every day till Saturday, we’ll be featuring each of them on TC on a week-long series titled Girls Who Code.
I should point out that I didn’t really set out to find female developers per se, it just sort of happened by itself, as a consequence of my search for women in technology. Which is great, because the fact that people don’t expect to find many women in tech (make no mistake, there aren’t nearly as many as there should) is only slightly more annoying than the expectation that the ones that are will likely occupy non-technical positions. Most people who write about women in tech come up with a list full of people in online media, content, strategy, policy…stuff like that. Which is all very well, only that my list is very different from that. The ladies here roll up their sleeves and get into it. Code, design, product…everything.
This all started out as an idea for one blog post. But while talking to each of the respondents, I got such amazing responses that I realised that each person deserved their own separate article. The interesting thing is that even now that we have enough respondents for a series, I still can’t seem to stop running into female developers. It’s like they’re now everywhere I turn, under every rock I happen to kick over. The other day I gave my card to a random passenger in a Danfo…simply because she was talking on the phone, and I overheard her say something about writing Linux scripts.
But I guess that’s the whole point of it. I’m hoping that by the end of this first series — yes, first series — more female devs will come through the woodwork and out into the open so we can write about them too. In the meantime, I expect this pilot to be interesting, and I’m also glad that Tolu Agunbiade is helping me out on this — she’s writing half the series. We should have announced this since last week, but we kinda got er…”right-tracked” with the LifeBank hackathon. That, by the way, was awesome.
Granted, there’s not enough female techies in the industry. But I bet that there’s more than you thought there were in the first place. In Kenya for example, there’s Akirachix, a group of women who are active in that country’s technology sector, and down here in Naij, I’ve seen the germ of a similar idea begin to take root. I hope it’ll get to the point where I can start talking about it.
Tell us what you think…and also, if you know any Nigerian women/ladies/girls in technology that we don’t already — and not just those who code — please tell us…we want to talk to them.