Women in Tech and the Pyramids of Kano
There is a common saying:
What A Man Can Do… A
As a man I can’t really remember the rest of it…
A few weeks ago I saw a poster on a group chat with a slogan
“Women in Tech Meet Up”
I was like 'how is that even a thing?’ Didn’t we just finished this fight about gender equality?, now before I continue here is a little advice don’t ever underestimate the power of curiosity, especially when it involves women.
On the Tuesday the 26th of September 2017, a working day, I was supposed to be in my office anchoring a meeting with my bosses. Instead I traveled from Abuja to Kano. My phone rang and my boss said,
“Where are you? We are in the conference room waiting for you.”
Fortunately for me, I drove into a dead zone before i could respond. You see earlier that morning my calendar notified me about the Startup Kano for Women in tech Meetup and I was curious. I wanted to go and show my support. I was a little freaked out that I wouldn’t have a job when I got back to the office, but decided to go anyway.
StartUp Kano was located along Maiduguri Road with its own Pyramid hanging on the beautiful green, black and white logo. As I stood in the building I realized that this might be awkward, this is Women in Tech Meet Up.
Would they be ok with a guy showing up? What would happened if I end up being the only guy in there?
I searched for excuses, something like I missed my road. I noticed another event in the neighborhood, so I thought I could just act cool and pretend I was in the wrong place if anyone confronted me. You know like Oliver Queen from the TV Series The Green Arrow I would just step out like nothing happened.
Yes in Oliver’s voice: ‘Suite Up’.
Lucky for me the co-organizers were two cool and understanding guys, from Facebook Developers Circle Kano. I knew this because it was boldly written on there shirts.
They explained that this was going to be a DevCircle. They spoke about other DevCircles and their branches in Lagos, Abuja, and Uyo. They were excited to tell us about the new ones in Maiduguri and one coming soon to Minna. They discussed how Facebook is focusing on Women as developers and that the December event will be hosted by women from Facebook.
This was all well and good, but I wanted to hear women talk about their experiences in tech. I wanted to learn more about that so I could help.
Finally the first female speaker was up. She had a striking personality and spoke with confidence. Her knowledge, intelligence and poise mesmerized me. Probably she’s related to Steve Jobs. She works with an NGO that had some openings. She was looking for candidates and was ready to spend time mentoring them.
I was like yeah this my chance cover me I’m going in. Then she mentioned the problem was men are dominating the openings. Which was why she came to this particular meetup. At this point I realized I did fit in here and was about to become the enemy.
‘Women In Tech’ I still can’t figure out how it is a thing. It shouldn’t have to be a thing. Women participating in tech should be the norm, not something we have to fight for. ,
The next speaker laid out the landscape for me. She spoke about how men have dominated the industry, how men earn more pay than the women, how women don’t have equal opportunity as the men. That means me. They don’t have the same opportunity that I do! That is just not right.
She took me into her world, the world of a woman in tech. How did she even do that? I got to know the challenges women face in society, got to feel the huge responsibility as a daughter, sister, wife and please keep the mother I can only bear these three.
During this session there was a side story about a lady whose parents lack of understanding killed her dreams.
Promoting Women in Tech is the collective responsibility of every tech owner, user, creator, investor, government and citizen in our country today. It is even more important at this time of our economic growth. Because in this country tech and women are major opportunities being wasted due to simple lack of understanding.
I thought the next speakers topic would be lighter. “Blogging tips.” But wait, I wasn’t done learning. I was starting to feel like I couldn’t take it anymore, I was just an observer, the knowledge I was getting was beyond my capability. Let’s not forget, I’m a man!
Now wait for the big bang theory, I was making a list in my head of the blogging ideas she might suggest. They included: Make up artist, where to buy your groceries, the type of shoes to wear when you driving, how to know your husband’s first name. This is what normal girls talk about right?
Here is this perfectly normal lady telling us, well the ladies in the room, not to follow the popular topics. She was telling them to always speak about what they are passionate about. I thought ladies were only passionate about gossips… I looked around and realized I was the only person having a problem with this.
I was able to redefined that popular saying: What a man can do, a woman has done it and she probably had fun doing it.
I bet that even if the Pyramids of Kano weren’t designed or built by women, it was a woman’s idea! If you can prove me wrong let me know. But I will place my money on the women. Just for your information these ladies are coding another sets of Pyramids of Kano, don’t say you heard it from me.
As I was stepping out I was so sure I heard that song in the background, so I nodded my head to it
Who run the world…? Girls!!!
Who run the world…? Girls!!!
Who run this *****
Who run this *****
Who run the world…? Guys…! sorry my bad
If you want to know more about these people and when next they are having another Meet Up which you should not miss. You can join the Facebook group on https://www.facebook.com/groups/DevCKano/ or visit www.startupkano.com
You won’t regret it. I am Hassan Sani and if you must know I think I lost my job…
Oh and please clap for me, as in press the clap button down there if you like the post. If you don’t you can still just press it once it won’t hurt. If you really liked it then hold that clap button down as long as you want you will see the magic.