Moji Temowo, Third Place Winner of Essay Competition in Celebration of International Women’s Day.
GENDER EQUALITY IN TECH FROM A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE. By Mojitemowo
Achieving gender equality in the society, in the workplace, the family, even in the religious settings, has been a tough, but rewarding challenge. Changes have been seen, progress have been made and it shows in our daily lives. It shows when a see women being respected as a person, married or not, mother or not. It shows when the things that used to define a woman changed from being seen from the perspective of the man she was with, to being seen from the perspective of the woman herself. How smart she is, how valuable her inputs her, how intelligent are opinions sound. It shows, and the progress has been rewarding.
Unfortunately, this progress has not extended towards some certain areas, like Technology. Though over the years, the technology sector have seen considerable growth when it comes to gender equality,but it is still not enough.
Study shows that there are more percentage of women who study technology than there are of women who work in technology. Meaning these women study technology courses in school for years, are well versed in it and supposedly knowledgeable, but they do not put this knowledge to work. Apparently, the notion of work in tech does not jibe with the ‘responsibilities’ of a woman in her home. Working in Tech requires a certain degree of hands-on when it comes to practical experimentation of a product, which also happens to be frequently, and the average woman- by society’s standards- should be busy for an average of 80 percent of her day, doing house chores. Socially, women are the caretakers of a home,and they ensure the home is a warm and safe place for the whole family. Socially, women just wouldn’t have adequate enough time on their hands to work in Tech.
Normally, in the grand scheme of things, this grave miscalculation does not affect a lot, enough to shakethe balance of the whole world. But, I assure you, in twenty years or so, it will come to be. The overlooking of women not being enough in the technology sector will eventually become a national issue, because while men in technology suffice for now, it won’t be long before fresh perspectives and sets of eyes would be massively required of technology. And then, maybe the existing issues in technology would have to be visited. But why not visit them now?
Pay Gap. While there is a vast difference in the gender percentage in technology, there are still those who defy societal construct and these are the women whom we see in technology today; working, learning, expanding and earning from technology. And like almost every other sector in the development industry, they also have issues that need to be addressed. For example, the issue of the pay gap between the two genders, sorry, ‘the issue of vast pay gap between the two genders’. Leaving all facts and figures aside, it is barbaric that a person be receiving more pay check than another, in the same department, where these two people are assigned the same roles, given almost the same amount of responsibilities, but yet are paid differently. And even more unacceptable, are the reasons given for this difference in pay; men have more monetary responsibilities than women, men deserve the e.g. labor day bonus more because they are the breadwinners of the family. It doesn’t need a lot of explanation to explain just how wrong these notions are, and the evidence are all around to amount to the same conclusion. Women are more existential in providing for the family than men these days Roles. Another grave misstep made in technology is in assuming there are some specific roles deemed fit for men only. Diversification is something the tech sector definitely lacks. When some certain roles are being seen as ‘men only’, such roles become repetitive, they don’t receive enough creativity as they should, they become like a plant that is placed under a shed hence not awarding it enough sunlight. All such role may be lacking is gender-based freshness, the way a woman will see something might just differ, very vastly, from the way a man sees it. And of course, the notion that because of the responsibilities at home, women need to be assigned less practical roles in technology, needs to be dispelled. Let that woman on the field, see what she does. Interest. Most times, the interest of women in technology are misplaced because they have been modelled into a box due to the roles they have been assigned based on assumptions made by thegeneral public. So many conclusions. So many conclusions that it hurts the real interest of a woman in technology, not very woman wants to be in development of ideas department, some want to be in the building of sad ideas, they want to be involved in the nitty-gritty of it all. Men can’t do it all. One would think by now, that fact would be an established one, but sadly, that’s not the case. For sustainable development, for improvement that we can actually see and progress that is tangible in our society, we need to revise the gender biased culture that have taken place in the technology sector. We need to diversify, equalize and respect the gender equilibrium in tech. Women are interested in technology, we want to be recognised in it, by it and through it, we went to school for it, didn’t we? We as a society need to not let the education of technology be the last step in a woman’s journey in the tech world.