Garden Women’s Network canvasses for more women in technology
There is fast transformation wherein modern technology has been developed to make life easier for mankind.
Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates; Apple by Steve Jobs, while Larry Page among other men, founded Google.
However, women, who are known to be brilliant, hold less than a quarter of jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
It is against this backdrop that the Garden Women’s Network (GWN) of Venture Garden Group, hosted its second annual all-female tagged #SheCodes Hackathon in commemoration on International Women’s Week this month to bring together females to bring out ideas to create solutions using Technology.
The initiative is aimed at tackling the disproportionate representation of women in tech by increasing the access of women and girls in the digital world and boosting and creating access to relevant education and employment opportunities.
The event, which held in Ikeja, Lagos was attended by young girls from Vivian Fowler Memorial College, Omole Girls High School, university students and working class women.
The day started off with a panel discussion by Ms. Ashley Lewis, Investment Officer with Accion Venture Lab, Ms. Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-founder of Piggybank and Ms. Onyeka Anene, Developer from Venture Garden Group. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Chika Uwaize of Enterfive.
The occasion was packed full with other activities such as code jams, tech quizzes and a panel discussion about fuelling the SHE Economy in tech.
Participants across age groups were able to learn new skills, explore their creativity, participate in healthy competitions, test new business ideas and meet other women to build the Internet with.
Speaking, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Nichole Yembra, hinted about the successful personal and professional development of all women in the Venture Garden Group ecosystem.
“In recent times, the GWN has expanded its activities to actively promote the interest of women in tech, expose and empower women to achieve the seemingly impossible through technology.
“Last year Hackathon focused on working women in tech and building a community, because the ratio is actually very low. This year we decided to tackle the issue from the beginning. So we have secondary school students, university graduates and working women in order to see a full career progression in technology and learn on how they can grow their business for growth in technology.”
She disclosed that women earn about 24 per cent of computer science degrees and in terms of venture capital funding women gets less than five per cent.
“There is actually a rare case in terms of women that are in technology and being able to scale their business faster. Traditionally, you have women who are into makeup business, beauty or food but if they actually want to scale and get real investor money, then we need to look at the biggest companies, which comprises of Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook among others.
“These are all technology companies that are worth hundreds of billion dollars, we want women in these position so they can grow and scale these large scale companies because it is not an issue with men going into technology, but since women are brilliant, why are we not part of the ones creating this new large tech companies?
“We are here to help women to realise their full potential. Also, the public sector needs to encourage women in technology by developing programs and more funding. This is an event of the private sectors that come together and see how we can push and develop women.”
Other speakers at the event, who lamented that other sectors seem to have gotten the memo and have made conscious efforts in some cases to build a pipeline of women, who can hold leadership positions, noted this does not seem to be the case in the tech industry.
“While research also shows gender diversity to be particularly valuable where innovation is key, we are seeing fewer women involved in tech.”
Winners from each of the challenge categories were awarded with gifts and cash prizes courtesy of event sponsors and partners such as Guardian Woman, ALAT, African HerStory, Sure Gifts, Wilson’s Lemonade, Green House Capital, Flutterwave and Google.
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