A few questions on diversity

Women in tech in Nigeria are much fewer than the guys. I wish I had the actual numbers, but I don’t. Instead, I have this picture from a recent Devcenter event.

Image for post
Image for post
Copied from Devcenter’s Twitter account.

I work at Paystack, and we have four really competent women across support, operations and finance roles. But, we have none on the development team. I’ve been curious about this for a while, so I decided to reach out to the internet to help me with real steps to be more inclusive. I asked this question:

The last part of my question was stupidly phrased. I didn’t mean “just for diversity”? I meant;

I got a flurry of comments from various people, and I want to touch on some of the very important ones to me, because I still need some more answers.

“Men will apply if they have less than half”

Yes, competent women exist in Nigerian tech. They’re only just few (because there are not so many women anyway) and they excel at their various companies and so are much harder to poach.

It’s easy to fall into this trap of wanting to look good, but shouldn’t we still be concerned to not have women on the team?

Isn’t there a case for hiring for both diversity and potential? If there are not so many women in the pipeline, shouldn’t we be more willing to get more women up here?

I’ll give you an example. Women are hired as marketing staff ALL THE TIME with little or no experience. Is it okay to hire women for looking good, and not okay to hire them to get more women into this heavily male-dominated space?

This is a real problem. In my scenario, I’m saying

  1. There are a few experienced Nigerian women in tech.
  2. We couldn’t poach them.
  3. We actually tried a recruitment drive for designers.
  4. We didn’t get any great entries from women.
  5. We didn’t get great entries from men too, but they were averagely better than the women.

After filtering out the average people with potential, should the need to create opportunity for women have us go with their lesser averages, and put in the work to help them grow?

How does a company like us contribute to reducing this gap? Is this wrong to try to solve some of these things at the hiring level? Is it counter-intuitive?

Finally, is it a viable solution to create roles that more women can fill (and be competent for), until they get better and can take better roles?

I feel ignorant and conflicted about this, so please help me with a response.

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