Throughout the month of March, we hosted a series of Tweet Chats with women who are helping to forge a gender-equal world; women who, in line with the theme for this year’s celebration – Choose to Challenge – are tackling gender stereotypes, celebrating women’s achievements and raising awareness against bias.
To conclude our Women’s Month conversations this week, we spoke with tech expert and Google’s Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan, about her career and how she’s challenging norms that stand in the way of a more equal world.
Here’s everything she shared:
What does the International Women’s Day theme, “Choose To Challenge”, mean to you?
It speaks to being intentional about challenging ourselves, workplaces & communities to live beyond limits. Rather than feeling helpless against certain norms, it means knowing what we can achieve as individuals or as a society, and then working hard to achieve it.
In your opinion, why is it important that more women take up space in the tech industry?
More women in the workplace, especially in leadership positions, simply makes good business sense. Diversity breeds better ideas & is proven to result in greater psychological safety, team confidence, group experimentation, team efficiency, and an increase in profits.
What barriers have you faced to becoming successful in the tech space? How did you overcome them?
I believe the challenges to success are universal and I’ve been very strategic and intentional about my path in tech: unwavering about my goals, committed to ongoing learning, receiving & working on external feedback to hone my craft and get better at what I do.
What do you think about the impact of women so far in the tech industry?
It’s been great to see more women joining the industry – from entry-level to C-Suite execs & startup founders. There are a lot of tech-based businesses across Africa founded by women. The impact is clear: inclusive leadership fosters better businesses all around.
There is still work to be done in narrowing the gender gap and increasing impact, however.
What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting a career in tech?
Believe you can do it and go for it. Tech is broad, so do some research to narrow down your options and decide where you want to focus. See what is required to be successful in that area and develop a plan to get you there. Stay committed to your vision. You owe it to yourself.
As women, how do our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets have an impact on our larger society?
Our conversations, behaviours & mindsets help to shape the larger society. This goes back to this year’s theme. We must challenge norms, and, in so doing, challenge ourselves to think, speak and act differently to build the diversified and equitable society we want.
What do you think is the biggest issue women are facing today? And how do you think it can be solved?
Stereotypes, cultural and societal norms suggest women should dim their lights, suppress their potential, and deprive girls of a full education. Progress has been made but our society still needs to evolve.
Some workplaces still do not provide an enabling environment for women to be all they can be. We should continue to raise awareness on issues and also share inspirational stories of triumph.
How important is it for women to lift each other and what does that mean to you?
It’s essential if we are to see more women in tech. For me, this means equipping women with tools that enable success: self-discovery, visioning, attitude, time & priority management, recognising the opportunities that align with our core values and acting with discipline & integrity. These are some of the concepts covered in my new book – 30 Days of Excellence. bit.ly/30daysbooks
What is the most important thing you want young women who are challenging the status quo to know?
Continue to strive for what you believe in. You can be your best champion and the possibilities are enormous. The journey may not always be easy, but personal conviction and commitment win out in the end.