But Why Women?
I’ll use this opportunity to talk about a question that had been on my mind prior to my understanding of what was actually going on in the tech & entrepreneurship space.
Before this time, I had a troubling question in my mind. I wondered why I saw support specifically for “females only” in the tech and entrepreneurship space, and till date, I have never seen any similar support for “males only.”
I mean, you hear things like Girls in ICT, Techstars Global Women Startup Weekend, Free loans for women, a certain number of participation from women etc… the list is indeed endless… yet I have never come across such extent of programs or support for males only.
Maybe there is, but that would be very unpopular because I have never come across it or probably I haven’t read enough. If there are, kindly point me in that direction.
Before you say “who be this one now?” or start predetermining why I’ll ask such question and probably feel I have some form of inadequacies, insecurities, envy, jealousy, incapacity about the opposite sex or whatever you have going on in your mind, pause for a minute and think about what you did the last time a question popped up in your mind that bothered you.
If any of the above thought crosses your mind, I forgive you. But please wipe it off before we move on. I am just being curious and concerned. Come to think of it, considering my background I’ll root for females anytime, any day. I’ll never put “sand sand in their garri” ( in no way am I doing that, the more reason why you need to read this article to the very end and not assume.) Where I come from, we think women are beautiful and we adore women.
Just a minute, don’t come for me because I said “beautiful” and think that I am referring to their physical qualities alone. When I say beautiful I am first referring to the qualities that make them generally females, the values they bring to the table and then the balance they bring to the ecosystem. Just as humans they aren’t flawless and in this regard no matter what their physical aesthetics are if they don’t meet these criteria I won’t refer to them as beautiful. Besides, I don’t reason that the term beautiful should be gender-specific, after all, there are lots of men that fit into the criteria I listed so I can very well refer to them as beautiful too…
So back to the subject matter of discussion and without further dilly dally. This question led me to ask further questions to enable me to dicipher the reason(s) for this trend. One of the questions I asked was “Could vulnerability be a reason?” I wasn’t satisfied with this thought because I think vulnerability is a mind thing. I think the more empowered a mind is, the less vulnerable it feels. Also, males are very vulnerable too, I won’t want to get in a debate on which gender is most vulnerable, but you just might be surprised if we laid facts on the table. If this were to be the reason, I would have started a movement to make sure “males only” got such type of support too…
Let’s get into perspective… When I was in University of Benin (Uniben) for my undergrad, you would find just a handful of girls in engineering. What people I interacted with attributed this to was that engineering isn’t a woman’s course, not even because it was perceived to be difficult… You’d find ladies more in the Social Sciences/Arts and what people I interacted with attributed this to was that they had more women related courses in these faculties, in fact, there are departments that are “made for women” (I will reserve my comments).
Let me take you way back a little bit. Remember there was also a time that it was said that females weren’t allowed to go to school or “learn work” because it was thought that these things were for men only? ( Specific to the geographical region I come from) It was said that a woman’s place was strictly in homemaking. Do you recall?
So I have the opportunity to work in a tech hub (Olotu Square), sit on IT related recruitment processes and calls for participation in tech/entrepreneurship-related programs. In such processes and calls for participation, you’d find the range of 1 to 10 entries out of a hundred from women. 10 is a very good number in this regard.
Ironically just weeks back in a conversation I was having with Bruce Lucas he said: ” isn’t it amazing how we’ve moved from having no females to having quite a good number of females in the square.” So in Olotu Square, we’ve had times when we just had guys in the square and not a single female.
No doubt, there are things women can do that men cannot do by default ( vice versa ) but I think things like opportunities should be evenly distributed, regardless of the colour of skin or gender, specifically for education, career, and business.
Bottom line what satisfactorily answered my question is, from what I gathered there is a low turnout of women in the space and the whole essence of female-specific programs and opportunities is to encourage more female participation and to tell them “all (wo)men are created equal.” By all means dream and go after your dreams without thinking that this is supposed to be a man’s place.
We now understand that there are times when females are better leaders and have better ideas and we want to make sure that if this is you, you are not inhibited in your thinking. So please my dear ladies, jump in on all opportunities whether designed specifically for females or in general, alas this might just make the field level for all enough to remove such clause as “females only.”
Port Harcourt to Play Host to Global Women Startup Weekend
That being said, It is worthy to note that of all listed hosts to Global Women Startup Weekend 2019, Africa has only three (3) countries listed of which Port Harcourt, Nigeria is one of them. (At the time of publication.)
I had a conversation with Ihuoma Favour Agbaru who has been responsible for the organizing team of the Techstars global women startup weekend Port Harcourt, and she had this to say about the program…
Techstars Startup Weekend is a grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. The 54-hour event brings together active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures.
This year, Olotu Square in Port Harcourt city is taking part in Global Women Startup Weekend by being a part sponsor – a Techstars initiative that has brought together dozens of cities around the world, uniting thousands of next-generation women founders and community leaders.
Olotu Square is proud to be a community that empowers women to pursue their dreams and build tools that change the world. At Global Women Startup Weekend, our goal is to encourage and inspire more female leaders in startup teams and to connect more women to the vast number of resources and mentors available in our startup community. That’s why we want you to be part of this weekend and to join some of the most talented and entrepreneurial-minded women across our community and region.
Yes, I decided to save this very best part for last because the space is very limited and they are not looking for quantity but quality. So if you happen to read to this point and you are a female or you know a female who has a great idea, you can get them to register here. I’d be looking forward to seeing you on the day.
If you are interested in supporting and being a co-sponsor of this event, kindly reach out to the Olotu Square team on how you can support here
Best wishes! I am looking forward to the very best come out from Port Harcourt.
My name is Aima Atigari, I am a contributor to TechcultureNG a Tech Media Blog and the Chief Executive Officer of Olotu Square, an innovation hub interested in the chain of youth capacity building in business and innovative technologies… all in Port Harcourt