‘Women should explore limitless opportunities in tech world’

In this interview by YOMI AYELESO,  a gender activist, data analyst and founder Foresite media, Olubukola Olatokunbo Maha, speaks on her humanitarian services, the opportunities in the technology world for women, and the need for the society to respect the rights of the women, among other issues.


As a gender advocate, writer and someone who has been working for the uplift of the people, what has been the driving force for you over the years?

My driving force has been the love for humanity. I am someone who is passionate about humanity and I love to show that act of kindness. The voiceless and the hopeless people need a voice and hope. So, people like us give them hope and voice. That’s my driving force. The fact that I am making someone happy is enough force to push me to do more.


In all of these, what are the challenges you are facing in achieving your desired objectives especially in your chosen field?

Wow! The first challenge I will say is being a woman. People tend to profile you first based on your gender and how you look before they profile your ability and skills to get the job done. I get to face a lot of set backs because I am also outspoken. And when you have a voice people tend to see you as being proud and egoistic. Another challenge is the society stereotyping.

The society seem to have an idea in them on how people should talk, behave and act. Especially when you are a woman. If you do not fit into that box, you get shut down and it will be difficult to succeed and you need to work more. The country which is the biggest challenge is one that cannot be over emphasised. We are in a country that is barely working. Everything here is built to frustrate the efforts of the younger ones especially when you are a young woman. I will say my greatest challenge is being a woman in this country.


 How do you think the women can overcome these challenges you have identified in a bid for them to achieve their full potential?

Women can overcome these earlier stated challenges when we speak out in one voice and confront patriarchy which has eaten deep into the fabric of the society. We should question laws and rules that do not favour us and make the path easier for those working behind us. We should start demanding for our rightful places and working towards it. We can’t just demand for it, we must make sure we have the necessary manpower to match it up. We need to educate the girl child and raise them to be independent in thought and deed. We also need the support of the men folk to help us in this bid to achieve a society where women can be what they want to be without the fear of being ruled out because of their gender.


As a graduate of Computer Science, looking at the increasing potential in the technology space and of course your exploits in this field, how do you think youths especially women can take advantage of these opportunities and improve their lives?

This question is an important one. As a woman in tech, I think this is a space more women should explore.  More women should take a bold step and break that barrier of thinking it’s a men’s space. Tech is a wide field where everyone and anyone can fit in. And it is a money spinner. I am launching a Tech for all initiative very soon where we will be encouraging everyone, especially the women to take up the tech challenge. We will train women in soft tech skills that can change their lives. Women too can give men the run for their money when it comes to tech. I foresee a future of more women than men in tech because women love challenges. We will be going to schools to educate young girls on considering a career in tech. It may look difficult but it will get better and easier the moment they start it. For now, tech is life. Tech is everything, the world has gone digital and everyone is going virtual. More hands are being needed and the woman can take advantage of this demand.


Do you have the plan to join politics and contest for an elective position in future so you could further impact lives ?

Smiles… Yes I do and it is in the nearest future. Plans are already on ground and I am currently under tutelage of experienced and higher political leaders. As soon as I am well schooled and ready to go, there is no stopping. It is not only to be interested in politics, you need to have the necessary experience and leadership skills to handle all that you have. In politics, passion is not enough. You need to know the pros and cons of political leadership. That I am currently learning and as soon as I think I am ready to practicalise all that i have done, I will be throwing in myself for political contest. I am passionate about impacting the lives of my people and i want to see that happen. I want to replicate all that i know and give them the kind of leadership that they deserve. My people deserve better than they are getting. Mind you, I am already a card carrying member of a political party and that’s the first step to politics.


 The people tend to have general impression about gender advocates and feminists that they are not submissive and they see themselves as the best in the society. What is your take on this?

This is a wrong assumption. People tend to mix up misandirist with feminists and gender advocates. Feminist and gender advocates are only interested in equal opportunities for women and better treatments and regards for women. We want our daughters to be able to grow up and make choices for themselves without being afraid of gender bias. There are women who hates men and would not see anything good in them. Those are not feminists but the society tends to mix them up. We need to educate the people more on what feminism is. We are not proud people. A lot of us are married and in relationships and submissive to our men. In fact, we make the best mothers and wives. We only advocate for better and equitable rights for women. If you have daughters, sisters, cousins, aunts, mothers and female friends and you want the best for them, you are a feminist irrespective of your gender. No one is better than another. We were all born equal. Having a voice isn’t pride. People just need to change their orientation of feminists and gender advocates.

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