#GeeksInPink, an event organized to explore how women can play a stronger role in Nigeria’s growing Information Technology startup scene, held at the CcHub on the 14th of December, 2012.
With the room gradually filling up at about 5.30pm, our facilitator for the day, Damilola Sobowale, welcomed us, introduced herself, and explained what the event aimed to achieve.
The purpose of the meet-up is to form a synergy among women in tech and discover areas where participants can collaborate, learn, grow, network and make maximum use of all the opportunities available in tech particularly with regards to what the CcHUB community can provide.
After which, Olaiwola Bolaji, the only male in sight at the event, spoke about the CcHub – its mission and service offerings – and ended by asking why women are averse to technology.
All the attendees of the event then introduced themselves one after the other and we delved into the reason why most of us came.
Identifying the challenges women in technology face
The floor was open for participants to say why they felt there were few women in technology and what problems they, as women in technology, were facing. This was the heated session.
Some of the challenges identified were lack of sufficient information to aid women in technology, difficulty in balancing the technology profession with family life, the demanding nature of the profession, chauvinism within the technology sector, culture stereotype, our dilapidated educational system, and not enough opportunities for women in technology.
To these challenges identified, there were a lot of supporting arguments and rebuttals with most of us divided into two camps – those who felt there is a systemic bias against women in technology and those who felt women are not doing enough to excel in the competitive technology space.
We ended this session with our facilitator summarizing our arguments/contributions and leading us to the next session…
How can we solve the challenges identified?
This was the session I was waiting for, to see what solutions we could proffer and how we could move us, the #GeeksInPink, forward.
Encouraging female to female mentorship, partnering with someone who understands what you do and what it entails (both personally and professionally), making information available and easily accessible to encourage women who are in or who want to join the tech circle, setting up a network of women helping other women succeed in technology, and encouraging more women to participate in tech events were some of the suggestions made.
But what is talk without action? Right there and then, we got people to volunteer as part of an admin team responsible for sharing events and opportunities in the tech space to members of a forum dedicated to promoting and encouraging women in technology.
Between refreshments served and our discussions, we seemed to have forgotten all about time. Some people had to leave before we concluded the event officially but for the rest of us present, there was a lot of experience sharing and exchange of complimentary cards. In all, I can say it was a successful event – both entertaining and informative.