Growing up as a child, I still remember been asked what I want to be in future, I will quickly lookup with an all smiley busy body face, I will scream at the top of my voice and shout…… “I want to be a doctor”!!! I remember how we spend our all-girls time out after doing the house chores especially after school hours or before retiring to bed.
We would gather up in twos and play “papangolo” or form a big circle asking each other………Ehen! What do you want to be when you grow up? We filled the air with our different answers, shouting and screaming at the top of our voices……..I heard a lot of things but I never heard a thing such as I want to become a computer engineer.
Becoming a computer engineer seemed to be the boy’s thing.
All through my days as a growing up child, I never heard anything like I want to be a computer engineer or I want to be a developer or I want to be a website designer from any female child. Okay ooooo……pause, I know right now someone might be saying common the knowledge about tech hasn’t even grown wide to what it is now, and internet usage has not become the order of the day as at then. Okay fine and accepted but what happened to at least wanting to become a computer engineer?
It was as though they were special professions designated for the boys alone. Though years upon years have come and gone still yet the story remained the same..
But as I moved on to adulthood and technology started becoming the order of the day, I have come to discover that there is no such thing as a boy or girl course….. If a man can be a nurse, a man can be a hairdresser, a man can be a caterer, a man can sew female clothes why then can a woman not become a computer engineer? What is the problem with women going deep into tech? Is it that it is so hard or is it that ladies generally do not like tech-related activities? Or is there a problem with the African female gender and tech? Or are females meant for just the kitchen alone?.
WHAT OUR MOTHERS TOLD US: My child go to school and learn how to read and write so that when you grow up and start working, you will buy a very big car for me and build a mansion for me and get married to a very rich man, so that you will give me grandchildren. They made it look like school was a loitering ticket to becoming rich. They made it sound like getting a job was as easy as ABC, then we grew up, and came to discover that not everything is the way it seemed. What they never told us is that life is evolving and as time goes on, some things will give way for the others to come in and take shape. What they never told us is that with time, the value of some profession will depreciate while others will appreciate. What they never told us is that you can have a first-class and still remain broke.
TEACH HER: As years go by, I continued to discover that this is not a do or die affair but a problem of not been taught. How can one be part of what they don’t even know about? How would you ask one to spend her time, resources and zeal on something she doesn’t even know the benefit or worth of? She, therefore, needs to be taught that technology has presented a big opportunity to the female gender, she needs to be made to understand that being a female technopreneur is an advantage and not a disadvantage. She must come to terms with the fact that the material, information, knowledge, and resources needed to acquire digital skills can be taught, learned and understood. She has to be taught that her phone and laptop can be used as a tool to yield financial input for her rather than just taking of pictures, chats, and calls because social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram or Facebook are becoming a must if you wish to start up a business promotion.
WHAT SHE MUST KNOW: 60% of our society is involved in the internet world and smart women are exploiting this trend. They make income, add value and earn a decent living. Female web developers are not an exception. In fact, we have the likes of Mbah Amaka a top-notch developer, Onwuaso Bethel a creative content creator/writer at a Port Harcourt, Nigeria based IT firm known as CloudNetIQ. She is very passionate about solving problems using technology. This IT firm is dedicated to providing innovative enterprise solutions and has the likes of Allison Wifa as a business strategist and business analyst…..you need to connect with these women. There are also the likes of Ire Aderinokun a self-taught UI/XI Designer and a Front-End developer; also the likes of Mayinoluwa Adeyemi a very creative person who builds Android applications. This tells us that the tech workspace is gradually paving ways for females around the world and Nigeria, therefore, is not an exemption. AND SO WHAT? MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES!!! As technology gradually becomes the trend of the day, professional sectors which were dominated by men have been abrogated by the emergence of female presence. Is it the automobile industry, aviation, repairs, and maintenance? You name it! The I.T industry is not an exception, and now women who believe in the resounding effect information technology has in the modern lifestyle are beginning to take their place. In 2040, Nigeria will be producing more technopreneurs more than it has ever produced today because by then the world will become a global village that will be in need of people to provide global solutions…………….……….where will you be?.