Despite the gender diversity problem in the STEM field, women like Adejoke Adekunle, a Marketing Technology Entrepreneur and founder of Oddience and The African Tech Woman, have taken the bull by the horn to establish a career in that field and a platform to inspire, motivate and encourage more women in tech.
These women have constantly provided support for girls and young women to fill take these roles in the STEM space. The main goal of these women in tech is to find solutions to closing this gender gap amidst other societal problems, whether through empowerment, mentorship, or by building innovative technologies.
From a Content Marketer to a Tech CEO
Growing up, breaking into the tech industry was not something Adejoke Adekunle thought about. Although she was in the STEM field, Medicine was her first choice, but for some reason, she was “thrown” into Social Science. This is something that is not new for many Nigerians, especially with the different course marks,
The backstory, however, is that I was in the Sciences – a high flying one at that. But I went through a pre-degree programme at OAU, missed the pass mark for Medicine, and for some reason, was thrown into the Social Sciences.
For Adejoke Adekunle, she did not fight it despite it not being her dream course. She had made plans to eventually take up another undergraduate course in Mathematics as a second degree. However, during her penultimate year, she fell in love with Copywriting and knew instantly she wanted to explore the tech field.
Adejoke Adekunle took up freelance writing gigs to gain more experience and strengthen her skillset. It paid off as after her university days, she landed her first job with Jobberman.com as a Content Marketer and became the brand’s Product Marketing Specialist in just over one year
Her career ever has grown rapidly since then. In 2014, she became the Chief Operating Officer at DigiEngage Nigeria Limited, co-led and closed international and local projects.
In 2018, she began her commitment journey to providing early startups in Nigeria with growth marketing, recruitment, and consultancy services. She founded Oddience, a platform to help consultants launch and scale their private practice.
Adejoke Adekunle’s take on the major problems Nigerian startups face
Having worked with many tech companies on different projects and for different startups across Nigeria, Adejoke Adekunle has noticed some reoccurring challenges in the ecosystem that are, in fact, solvable.
For her, one major problem startups, in general, have failed to understand is that it is very important to solve the right problems for your targeted market and find a unique angle to solving them, especially as many startups are looking to solve similar problems.
Nailing distribution remains a big problem and – if gotten right – a big competitive advantage for any company today. Figuring out how to get your product in the hands of your customers and continually reducing the friction points around it is such a hard nut to crack, yet, most startups underestimate it.
As a woman in tech
Adejoke Adekunle has always strongly supported “women helping women”. She has helped women start and grow businesses in tech.
She is also the founder of African Tech Woman, a media platform focused on amplifying women’s visibility in tech to show more role models who can inspire the next generation of women to build careers in tech.
We’ve impacted over 7K people who have consumed our content. I’ve also supported companies with hiring women on their teams and directly mentored women navigating careers in tech through structured and unstructured programmes.
In 2019, Adejoke Adekunle was shortlisted to represent Nigeria at the US TechWomen program. She also had the opportunity to discuss her work with Jack Dorsey, Parag Agrawal, and the Twitter team during a panel hosted by The African Tech Woman.
The Twitter team spoke with local tech women during the panel to discuss the Nigerian tech scene. They further shared their perspective on leadership, building quality products, and their approach to diversity and inclusion.
On gender-biased challenges
Like many other strong women in the space, Adejoke Adekunle has chosen to overlook these challenges, which she sees as a “default underlying problem”.
The way I see it – tackling gender inequality and the poor perception of women in the workplace is a problem that has persisted through centuries. One way to address this is, of course, to spotlight the problems. Another way is to aim for normalcy, and you do that by improving visibility and the perception of it.
For Adejoke, the only solution to these challenges is to have more exemplary women doing great things in the industry. While it might take a while to have the balance, she believed this would slowly tilt towards normalizing the expectation that women should be and can do great things in tech
So I play my part as an individual by showing up, helping others, and celebrating those who are doing the same...My goal remains to normalize the perception of women building amazing careers in tech. When it stops being a big deal to see a woman build a tech business or say she’s a software engineer, I can say we’ve made progress.
Adejoke Adekunle believes it is important for girls and women looking to break into the tech industry to trust their abilities, stay curious, and test their hypotheses.
Rejection is also something they might need to get comfortable with, especially in this field, as more and more skilled people are penetrating the market.
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