The Rise of Women in Tech: Going Against the Gender Script

The tech industry was believed to be strictly for the male gender, but recently, that belief is becoming a cliché as there is a recent hike in the interest of women in tech. And that hike is not going down any time soon.  

There was a time when we would gather a couple of young girls around and ask them what they would like to become when they grow up, you would get a lot of responses like doctor, nurse, teacher, banker, accountant. All that would come before we eventually get one response with an engineer or other tech-related roles. I mean, at a point in my life, I wanted to be a banker too. And that role rolls off my tongue effortlessly whenever I get asked about what I wanted to be when I grow up. Did I ever think there could be a space for women in tech?  

Creating Space for Women in Tech

This scenario does not only apply to young girls, but even adult females also used to be boxed out of the tech industry. They used to think they had no place there, so why try to create a space? As a result of this, we now have eye-opening initiatives that cater to creating awareness for women in tech, such as the Women in Tech Organization. This organization is on a mission to bridge the gap between women and the tech industry, by educating and empowering women and girls.  

Another example of such a brilliant initiate for women in tech is a section of Tech4Dev known as the Women Techsters. Tech4Dev is an initiative that works toward achieving sustainable growth in Africa through technology. One of the objectives of the Women Techsters is to train five million women (twice the population of Mississippi) in digital and programming skills by 2030. This is a great impetus to accelerate the rise of women in tech.  

The Gender Script

The issue of young girls sticking to roles they think require less thinking or intelligence is rampant because of the conditioning girls receive growing up. Society produced a gender script that happens to lock up the inner potential of the girl child. And in most cases, we act out the roles in that gender script, and anyone who acts outside of it is regarded as deviant. Plus, our moms at those times were also not challenging the gender script, and we were walking on their paths. This gender script  stunts the rise of women in tech around the world.  

I also used to believe that tech roles are for boys, and not something a girl like me should be eyeing. I used to think anyone who is into tech must be extremely brilliant to take up such a magnanimous role. Or should I say, I refer to them as geniuses? Let us not forget people who are working in tech are referred to as ‘tech bros.’ Regardless of what your biology says, you are a bro as far as you are into tech. In response to this language, women in tech are updating their bios to ‘tech bae,’ to identify better with their gender.  

Attending Tech4Dev for Women in Tech

In December 2021, I was opportune to be part of an online seminar that was organized by Tech4Dev for women Techsters. This online seminar was tagged, Open Day for Women Techsters. And the objective of the online seminar was to enlighten women about the tech industry.  

During the session, the speakers who were all women speakers talked about their background and how they got into tech. One of the speakers talked about how she ensured she equipped herself with the required skills. Skills that are needed to break through into the path she wanted in tech. And currently, her colleagues do not see her as just a woman, they see her for who she is in her career.  

And in most cases, her boss directs her colleagues to her for clarification and assistance. She also talked about how those moments always make her feel super fulfilled.  

Getting Started as a Woman in Tech

There are several roles in the tech industry that do not require a background in programming. If you feel your forte is not ‘techie,’ whatever your forte is, try to channel it to the tech industry. Is your forte in marketing, human resource, or data analysis? Whatever your forte might be, you can get a role for that in tech. You can read about that here. Another article that was written by Luke Hanna also gives an analytical knowledge into jobs in the tech industry. These jobs do not require one to learn how to speak java languages, Laravel, or learn how to design.  

It is great seeing different organizations creating awareness for how much we need to close the gender gap in the tech industry. With the help of these organizations, we now have a reasonable number of women in tech, irrespective of age. Like those earlier mentioned, some of these organizations use different strategies to accelerate their main objective. The main objective is to increase the interest of women in tech and equip them with the necessary skills. Some online communities are created to create awareness for women in tech. Some of them are Heels and TechIngressive For Good, and many more.   

To get started with a tech career, try to research and find what fascinates you. Then, join a community. Look around for training grounds, e.g., online or physical courses, whichever works for you. Some courses are also free, and that is a plus! You can also find courses related to tech on Coursera and Udemy.  

All you must do is start. 

Rufai Lateefah

Rufai Lateefah is a sociology graduate from the prestigious University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. She has a national diploma in Business Administration. And has a keen knowledge of social media management and content writing. She is also starting out as a UI/UX designer, and enjoys reading a lot. You can connect with Rufai on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and via email at rufailateefah@gmail.com.