Minutes before the Ladies-in-Tech meetup started I had chills, thoughts ran through my mind: will the ladies come? Will it be a productive meetup?
To my surprise the room was filled by 5.30pm. It was surprising to me that we had this many ladies interested in technology. The meeting started with a brief introduction from me about Smids Animation, what we do and the reasons why we were gathered in this room today.
This was followed by a brief by Lai Bolaji on the CcHub- its vision, mission and opportunities.
All the ladies then introduced themselves; it was amazing to see what a diverse bunch we were. We had Techpreneurs, developers, digital marketers, bloggers, students, lecturers, 3D animators, etc.
We then delved into the conversations starting with why there were few women in tech and what problems women in technology face. It was a heated session. We had women on both sides of the divide- women not being given opportunities vs. women not taking opportunities available to them. As a facilitator I was saddled with responsibility of balancing the conversation and steering us ahead.
The problems highlighted include 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.
We swiftly move to solutions to help move women in tech 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.
After that, we got volunteers to form an admin team to help create concrete structure for the forum. The program ended on that note and we had time to network over drinks and some pastry.