Decades ago, the mainstream stereotype was that “it is a man’s world.” The fact that there were (and still are) occupations or vocations that women could not get involved in solidified this position. But now, gone are those days. Women are gradually breaking stereotypes and daring to also explore the business world dominated by men. Our realities may not be close to an alternate universe where women dominate heavy-duty truck driving while men are in high demand as top-notch babysitters, or a world where male nurses earn accolades for their exceptional care and women thrive as electricians.
One of the key sectors where women in Nigeria are thriving and making a difference is the tech industry. It is common to have people misconstrue the Tech industry as a very difficult pathway to delve into, hence the general notion that the tech industry is for the male gender more than the female. However, there are amazing Nigerian females who, beyond specializing in tech, have also worked all the way to the top, getting better as the industry grows. While there seems to be a bias in the percentage of males against females, the story is gradually changing. Some of these include Aniekan Inyang, Adora Nwodo, Ibukun Akinnawo, Honey Ogundeyi, Yanmo Omorogbe and Abiola Eniola Amin, working at Microsoft, Kuda, and tech startups such as Bamboo and Flutter wave.
Commercial driving, especially in Lagos, has seen an influx.
Although at a low level of competitiveness, women’s participation in trade is also growing worldwide. Despite some growth bottlenecks, Nigerian women comprise 41 percent of micro-business owners, according to southernvoice.org. There are around 23 million female entrepreneurs versus 33 million male counterparts. Most females work in trade due to insufficient formal employment opportunities and training and to create extra income for the household. However, they lack access to the international market. According to a recent survey by the World Bank, Nigeria has one of the highest women entrepreneurship rates globally.
Then, there is a noticeable influx of female commercial drivers and even ‘conductors’ in Nigeria, especially in Lagos State. The transport sector is experiencing a huge overhaul with the influx of ‘Keke’ and the minibus (korope) as the most common means of movement competing in this space. A Nigerian woman, Damilola Olokesusi, came up with Shuttlers, a technology-driven transportation startup which eventually launched in 2017. Since then, through its ridesharing platform, Shuttlers has been providing companies with better mobility options for their employees. Also, there is the Lady Mechanic Professional Driver Training (LPD), which is a professional driving course for tailored to females. The practical and comprehensive driving training program empowers women with needed skills and competencies so as to be able to get a driving job, such as with LAMATA, LAGBUS, Airport Shuttles, LAWMA, etc.
Found in construction and the extraction sectors too.
They also play an essential role in Nigerian construction industry, which has traditionally been male-dominated. Many participate in various areas, from manual labour to management roles such as architects, engineers, and project managers. Their contribution is significant as they bring diversity to the industry and provide new perspectives and ideas. Despite this, females in the industry face several challenges such as limited access to funding, discrimination, and societal expectations. However, several initiatives, including the Nigerian Institute of Architects’ Women in Architecture, are promoting diversity and inclusion in the industry. Those in the industry are now gradually taking up various positions, including engineering, architecture, building and construction, project management, and construction supervision.
Another sector where women’s presence is also being registered includes the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction. The mining industry has continued to be male dominated, but in recent times, more and more have shown interest in the sector and have continued to make their impact. The existence of Women in Mining in Nigeria (WIMIN), a non-governmental organisation focused on women’s advancement in the Nigerian mineral, exploration and mining sector, proves this. WIMIN carries out its programs through research, capacity building, advocacy and campaigns built on the principles of partnership and rights-based approach. It drives empowerment and economic development processes, which tends to gender issues and inclusion in the sector. Its focus is on addressing gender equality, governance, and policy dialogue as cross-cutting issues in the mining sector.
Three sisters became pilots just like their father.
Finally, many Nigerians have kept singing the praising of three Nigerian sisters who broke the record to become pilots with different airlines and helicopter companies. These three sisters have sent a message of hope, resilience and possibility to the minds of several female Nigerians with aspirations to pursue their dreams. The female pilots, Oluwafunmilayo, Oluwaseun and Mopelola Makinde, took after their dad and became pilots just like him. Over the past ten years, the number of females successfully gaining their ways into the cockpit around the world, and in Nigeria too, is encouraging. This can be attributed to the fact that the factors that had hindered ladies into the cockpit have been completely eliminated with modern day science and greater awareness in the society.