The Executive Director, Afrilabs, Anna Ekeledo, says speaking up and taking action against discrimination of women entrepreneurs and women in tech is crucial.
Speaking with BizWatch Nigeria, Ekeledo says she speaks up against workplace policies that punish women for childbirth.
According to her, there is a lack of adequate women in leadership; on governing boards, as CEOs and in top management.
Addressing the theme of International Women’s Day 2021 #ChooseToChallenge, she says, “I believe in the power of not just speaking up, but also in the power of intentional action. Through my actions, I speak up against the unbalanced support and discrimination against women entrepreneurs and women in tech.
“I speak up against discrimination against women in the workplace, with toxic work environments that still exists that punish women for childbirth and striving to achieve work-family balance, by excluding them from growth opportunities.
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Ekeledo adds that she has been able to achieve all these within her sphere of influence at AfriLabs.
She describs AfriLabs as a network organisation of tech hubs across 48 African countries, with a female staff strength of over 70 per cent who are highly competent.
She adds that the organisation’s governing board of seven is made up of five strong women across Africa.
The AfriLabs director notes that women are disproportionately affected during times of economic, social, or environmental crises as seen during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis last year.
She says, “We saw a rising number of women affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, our activities and grants last year largely targeted support for women in the ecosystem.
“Out of the 17 grants we gave out last year, still being implemented, seven are focused on specifically supporting women entrepreneurs and women-led tech-start-ups, collectively targeted at impacting over 1,000 women-led businesses across countries such as Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, Morocco, Cape Verde, Ghana and Mali.
“Other programmes we funded over the past year across Africa to deal with the effects of Covid-19 have also had the mandate to support a balanced number of women innovators and entrepreneurs.”
She identifies changes she will like to see in the society as gender-balanced innovation, technology and in the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa and globally.
According to her, changes in recruitment policies, remuneration and women – family-friendly workplace policies will gladden her heart.