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As the ICT industry rapidly expands in Nigeria, there are still many setbacks related to cost and accessibility. Women say they must overcome an extra gender barrier to get involved or pursue ICT-related careers. But women who have overcome this obstacle encourage other women to do the same while acknowledging that more needs to be done to let them.

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LAGOS, NIGERIA – The books she read growing up made Oreoluwa Somolu, executive director of the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre, W.TEC, a Nigerian nongovernmental organization, want to be a nurse because women were usually nurses and men were usually doctors in the literature of her childhood.

She says that stereotypes in media and pop culture are reinforced every day in Nigerian life, which influence women’s career paths.

“An engineer, web developer or database manager would usually be depicted on television and in books as male,” Somolu says. “Then, women draw from their personal experiences. Frequently, many of the people they know in these types of jobs are men so the idea is reinforced that these jobs are for men.”

She says this keeps many women from achieving their potential.

“When stereotypes abound, many women might be discouraged from considering jobs that they might actually enjoy and excel at,” she says. Read more:

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