While coding and game development might come as a natural choice for many male students, it is still something that is an industry with fewer females. All that is going to change soon though, as female coders are increasingly stating their talent to break open a male bastion. It isn’t that they aren’t talented. It’s just that they have been denied the opportunity to do what they love – until now. With increasing acceptance of coders irrespective of gender, there are not more female coders than ever before. And why not?
Started in 2008, Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre today trains 5,000 women and girls all across Nigeria in technology skills. The Centre has its branches in 36 Nigerian states and not only educate but also help women and girls find STEM jobs. Every now and then, the Centre organizes hackathon and workshops for Nigerian high school girls and women in rural areas to teach them how to use information technology to run a business. You can register for the and earn cash price to help you with your studies.
Female Coders Make the Right Mark
Choosing a profession in science and technology aren’t quite common in Nigeria but the tables are changing now. One such story is of Virginia Odor, who’d earlier thought that she would study art and not anything related to science and technology. Back in 2014, when she was 14-years old, she joined Odyssey Educational Foundation, which is a coding initiative in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. And a revolution began that shaped the Nigerian economy like never before.
Odyssey is one of the many initiatives started in and make a career out of it. Most of these initiatives are started by women motivated by the desire to break work-related gender stereotypes and their advantage in the community. Stella Uzochukwu-Denis founded Odyssey in 2013 after leaving her well-paying job in at a telecommunications firm in Abuja.
Another such initiative is Girls Coding, started by Pearls Africa Foundation, a non-profit organization by Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin. She left her prosperous job as an IT engineer in Lagos and started the foundation in 2015. The reason for leaving was frustration from lack of Nigerian women in STEM field professions.
After years of efforts put in by these initiatives, they are finally seeing the results, the demand is more than ever and women and girls who graduated from the courses have become agents encouraging other girls to take up the programs. Odor, a student of Odyssey, said that she learned how to make applications and program robots at the initiative. She aims to become a computer engineer, programmer, and innovator.
Where did the inspiration come from?
While some founders found inspiration in their own country, Uzochukwu-Denis found it in India. She had come to pursue a master’s degree in telecommunications when she found that Indian girls learn animation and coding right after high school. She thought that this model could work well in Nigeria and when she returned home she started her initiative to encourage high school girls in Abuja to take up programming courses.