Product management sector not excluded from gender disparities in Africa’s tech ecosystem — Report

by | May 12, 2021

On Monday, May 10, 2021, Practical Product — a community of product leaders and enthusiasts — released a State Of Product Management In Africa Report (PDF) based on a survey carried out between February 15 and March 1, 2021.  

Responses were gathered from 215 project managers working in Africa, with many surveyed responses from the fintech industry. Others included traditional finance institutions, edtech, healthtech, and agritech.

This report documented the state of project management in the continent. Among other things considered, gender discrepancy in the project management field stood out.

Over the last decade, Africa’s tech ecosystem has experienced commendable growth. From the rise of startups in varying fields of technology to inter-continental expansions, the future is very promising.

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Somewhat ironically, this growth has been characterised by the slow-paced inclusiveness of women in tech. The survey revealed that men outnumber women in Africa’s project management sector by almost 150%, reflecting patterns observed in the broader tech scope.

Although we have women championing great feats in Africa’s tech field, the man-woman dichotomy could use some balance.

Of the 215 project managers surveyed, ~129 (59.8%) identified as men and ~85 (39.7%) as women.  Less than 1% of respondents preferred not to disclose their gender. 

Moving on to ranks, women hold 45% of PM positions and 26% of senior PM positions. Only 25% of women hold VP/head of products positions. On average, men hold 74% of the senior roles.  

The report also stated that ~93 (43%) — ~27 women (29%) and ~65 (70%) men — of the 215 respondents earn $1,000/month.  

For job satisfaction of the surveyed respondents, 74% of men (~96) and 54% of women (~37) felt happy with their jobs. 

Fourteen per cent of female Assistant Product Managers (APMs) expressed dissatisfaction with their jobs, with reasons ranging from feeling less supported on the job to a lack of clarity in career path to not being well paid.   

The gulf between men and women in the continent’s tech ecosystem is still worth discussing. Many times we have explored this issue, told the stories of notable personalities and looked at practical ways to bridge the gap.

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Even as the tech industry burgeons in Africa, we hope that this imbalance and existing stereotypes are eroded. At the day’s end, differing biological characteristics are not determinants for mental and skill-learning capabilities.

The Practical Product report surveyed skills, compensation, and general well being in Africa’s project management sector, with issues like lack of autonomy and hostile work environment cited as major challenges faced by many project managers. 

Some countries that participated in the survey include Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Rwanda, and Uganda.

Featured image credits: Christina Morillo from Pexels

Intentionally living, doggedly maintaining my faculty of wonder in an ever-changing world. Language, books and part-time tech enthusiast.

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