6 Nigerian Women In Tech Talk About Their Challenges In The Tech Space

September 24, 2020

If you’ve seen 6 Nigerian Women Share Their Experience Working In Healthcare then you’d understand how important it is to tell the challenges of Nigerian women working in different eco-systems. Today, I asked 6 Nigerian women in tech to describe the tech scene in Nigeria with one word and to share the challenges they face in this space.

Ugonna, Frontend Engineer

Challenging.

Asides the fact that I have to keep learning about technology and try to solve problems with what I’ve learnt, I constantly have to fight for to keep my space as a woman in a predominately male industry. An incident that stood out for me was one time, a male colleague of mine had a problem and needed help, this person tagged all the men in the group asking for help but didn’t tag me. Turns out I was the only one that had the solution.

Jemima, Frontend developer

Potential.

There are so many brilliant minds in the tech space doing amazing things with technology. I have no doubts that the Nigerian tech space has the potential to do incredible things. However, most of the group chats or spaces I belong to have a distinctive “boys club” feel. So the jokes or comments they make are not things that I’d agree with but I also don’t have the energy or patience to engage in discourse so I usually ignore it. I wish there was a more vibrant tech community for girls in Nigeria. Not just for advancing careers and things like that but just somewhere you can vibe with people in a similar field. 

Sarah, Data Science/Analytics

Interesting.

A major challenge for me is the overfamiliarity. A good example is if I work on a project and put it out there. Maybe post a link to the source code or write an article, people reach out to me on twitter or LinkedIn which is fine until they start texting me every day, calling me “dear” or “baby”, asking if I have eaten. I am expected to be courteous even though I find it exhausting. Some will come under the guise of “let’s work together”, “let’s collaborate” and when you turn them down, they try to make you feel stupid or proud.  Then there’s the profiling that ladies who have other casual interests like fashion, beauty, are not good technically. I need people to come off it because when guys have hobbies, nobody claims it affects their skills. 

Ope, Product Designer

Exciting.

I have to fight to be heard or taken seriously. As a woman in tech, people glide over you and assume you aren’t technical or bold enough. You’re expected to be a sort of caretaker, not the person making the bold moves. Getting a masters degree didn’t stop these things from happening to me. Although, I noticed that when people know I have an advanced degree, they tend to take me more seriously. 

Lami, Product Designer 

Pointless.

I would have described it as toxic but that’s too strong. some of the major challenges I face are my male peers not taking me seriously. There’s also inferiority complex, confidence issues and sexism. Plus a lack of a strong support system has made it challenging.  I am trying to cope by reminding myself that I love what I do and I am doing my best.

Chioma, Full Stack Developer

Confusing.

The tech space is a mix of big talkers who barely know their stuff, people who do but are barely known, downright nasty people, people who are out to scam you, people who belittle you because you are a woman, people who magnify every mistake you make because, again, you are a woman, people who genuinely want to see you grow. It’s hard to know who is who.

I worked in a place two years ago where my bosses ignored me (they were supposed to train me) and instead put me in charge of looking after the kids who came for summer coding camp because I was a babe. Another outstanding one is the way male designers I worked with, talked down to me all the time.

Names were changed to protect the identity of the subject.

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