Over the last few years a shift has been noted in the management dynamic of technology companies in Nigeria. Women are slowly but surely claiming the top jobs with the top firms. Should we celebrate? Should we congratulate the march towards equality? Probably not, as there is still a long way to go, but it is a significant milestone and definitely worthy of recognition in the overall evolution of the ecosystem.
What it does mean is that management and board meetings across Lagos are hearing new voices, with female perspectives and styles of authority coming to the table. Considering the successes that the likes of Google, Jumia, Uber, Praekelt and MTech are enjoying, this is a very interesting development.
There are opinions that these appointments are not significant; that female candidates have been given the top jobs because of their reliability and reputation for a steady hand. This view doesn’t tie in with the substantial recruitment processes that have been undertaken prior to these appointments being made. Nor does it tie in with the superb resumes that these individuals hold or their past and current performances. Women have been selected to run top companies as they have all the attributes required to drive these market-leading organisations forward in innovative, agile ways. These are not token gestures – these are measured leadership appointments.
The most significant effect that these appointments will have is the creation of a generation of female role models. Young women in the industry now have a group of tech icons that they can look up to. In turn, this can only inspire more and more women to work at, run and found tech companies. In addition, it will have a positive impact on the creation of content, products and services designed for female consumers. A further bi-product will be less disparity between male and female mobile phone ownership. Why do men more men own smartphones than women? This industry shift will help rectify that disparity in the medium to long term.
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