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“Women’s Education Ends In Kitchen”

If you grew up in Nigeria, you’ll probably know the full meaning of the coinage ‘Week’, but I am here to help you if you grew up abroad. 

When we were kids, we had meanings for different words even though they weren’t abbreviations. It was just something we did that I can’t really explain. But this is not the story.

We thought the meaning we gave “week” made a lot of sense, until it didn’t. It no longer made sense not because someone simply had an epiphany but because no matter how messed up society was to limit a woman to a kitchen, we had examples of great women all around who were doing great things.

Some of these women ended up in the tech ecosystem, an industry traditionally regarded as the men’s space. And the great thing about these women is that despite all the obstacles – both written and unwritten – they have become indispensable, paving the way and inspiring other women. This is why the Spark team has taken the time to curate a list of tech amazons you should definitely know about.

1.       Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin

Nicknamed the “Coding Hero”, Abisoye became the first Nigerian to make the CNN Heroes list in 2018. She has demonstrated a determination to ensure gender parity in the technological space. She is a graduate of the Nigerian Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) and the University of Lagos. She established Pearls Africa Youth Foundation, an NGO created to close the gender gap in technology by helping girls develop technological skills.

2.       Mohini Ufeli

Tech is not limited to coding, there are other non-technical sub-sections of tech and Mohini Ufeli has been able to find her place in one. She started her career with Andela where she developed and told the Andela story in an authentic way. Through Andela, she had the opportunity to tell the tech story at WIMBIZ and Women In Tech conferences. She has since joined Paystack as Media Manager.

3.       Yetunde Sanni

Yetunde is a software developer and has been interested in technology since she was barely 12 when her family bought a PC. Realising her love for computers, she chose to study Computer Science at the university and has since developed her career in Andela. She is involved in TechInPink and Komplete Woman Slum Empowerment, two organisations that were inspired by her passion to develop women in tech.

4.       Nkem Begho

She is the Founder and Managing Director of Future Software Resources, one of Nigeria’s top IT solutions provider focused on online solutions, e-learning and IT security. With a degree in BioInformatics from Ludwig-Maxmillians Universitat Munchen, Germany, Nkem demonstrates a passion for driving innovative thinking and building a globally recognised technology brand. She is involved in different mentoring and empowerment programmes and also a recipient of different awards.

5.       Olayinka David-West

A senior fellow in the Operations, Information Systems and Marketing Division of Lagos Business School, Dr David-West is an Information Systems professional. Through her work in LBS, she convenes leaders and policy-makers in the financial industry with the goal of promoting the use of digital financial services in Nigeria and to ensure financial inclusion and entrepreneurship in Nigeria.

6.       Damilola Teidi-Ayoola

Damilola has over 8-years experience working in the tech space, with a focus on scaling tech start-ups. She founded GoMyWay, a tech startup that served as a carpooling platform for intrastate and interstate trips. She is presently a Director at CcHub, where she incubates start-ups and helps them scale.

7.       Odun Eweniyi

The co-founder of PiggyVest, Odun Eweniyi, is one of the faces of the fintech industry in Nigeria. Her company started from a small virtual PiggyBank for savings to a comprehensive financial platform for savings, investments, HMOs and other forms of financial growth processes. Before PiggyVest, she co-founded PushCV, a digital recruitment sites that connects the unemployed to job recruiters.

8.       Adeola Shasanya

Adeola is the co-founder of Afro-tech girls, a non-profit created to promote the participation of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). She is a graduate of Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Covenant University, she is also involved in Girls Code Academy and SheProfitsAfrica, all in a bid to ensure gender parity in the tech space.

9.       Judith Okonkwo

Described as a Tech Evangelist, Business Psychologist and Organisation Development Practitioner, Judith Okonkwo has experience working in Africa, Europe and Asia. In 2016, she founded Imisi 3D, Nigeria’s first virtual reality creation lab in Lagos focused on building the Nigerian environment for extended reality technologies. She also sits on the board of the European Organisation Design Forum.

10.   Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor

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Juliet is Google’s Country Manager in Nigeria. She is a technology expert and entrepreneur, who was listed in Forbes’ 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa in 2011. With a first degree in Computer Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University and a postgraduate degree in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge. She has won various awards and recognition for her work in the technological space.

11.   Ire Aderinokun

Ire is a UI/UX Designer and Front-End Developer. With an undergraduate degree in Experimental Psychology and a postgraduate degree in Law, Ire initially considered web design and development as a hobby and not a career choice. She soon discovered she could turn her passion into a career and there was no stopping her. The blogger at bitsofcode is Nigeria’s first female Google Developer Expert.

12.   Banke Alawaye

The International Business Manager with Praekelt Foundation is a Speaker, Management Consultant and Transformation Specialist. Her work with Praekelt included many social impact projects and applying mobile solutions to development problems. She was very involved in Code Lagos, an initiative created to train a million Lagosians to code.

13.   Maya Horgan-Famodu

Maya is a venture capital investor and the founder of Ingressive, a market entry, technology research and market operations services that have helped more than 50 top investment funds enter and operate in Sub-Saharan Africa. She was listed in the Forbes’ Africa 30 under 30 list, under the technology category.

14.   Tarebi Alebiosu

With a first degree in Computer Science and Certificate in Entrepreneurship from the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tarebi is the Managing Director of Yoke Solutions Limited, a technology firm that specialises in software development that has developed tech solutions for over 200 organisations, including the Lagos State Government.

15.   Desiree Craig

A graduate of Computing from the University of Plymouth, Desiree is the Technology Product Manager at Andela. Before Andela, she was Head of Product at CcHub. As a Product Manager, she is passionate about leveraging technology to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. She was recently listed in the Techcabal’s Tech Women Lagos, a portrait exhibition celebrating 50 women in technology.

No doubt more amazons will find their paths in the tech space and until then, let’s celebrate these women who are already providing solutions and inspiring others to join in. 

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