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Category 1: The Nature of Gender Biases

Category 1: The Nature of Gender Biases
Research QuestionThemesCategory
How do women entrepreneurs encounter gender bias within Nigeria’s service sector?Lack of trust in competence and skills, resulting in limited opportunities for advancement. Incidents of sexual harassment. Insufficient government support. Unequal pay and prevailing male supremacy.Nature of gender bias

Responses for themes above are presented in the tables below. Participant is denoted by Pp.

Theme A: Lack of trust in competence and skills

Pp 1I have been overly interrogated by potential male clients. They ask ‘’what can you do, what have you done, can you handle this project’’. It felt like they were doing a performance review on me. I was quite intimidated. But they do not do this to my male counterparts.’’
Pp3Most times when I come to train, they ask me to do a presentation first, but they don’t ask the men to present first. When I ask them why they are too demanding of me, they say because they need to see how I teach, how I communicate. I am often asked ‘’are you sure you will be able to deliver
Pp5I am often told by male clients in my copyright business that as a mother, it was best I get a job that will give me time for my children. They do not tell my male counterparts with children same.
Pp5In my fitness business, customers, males, and females, prefer the male trainers. I always must convince them that I know my job by reducing my pricing just to attract them and prove my skills.

Theme B: Sexual harassment

Pp1The CEO of a company I wanted to partner with proposed a romantic relationship with me, the minute I declined his advances, the business was over before it got started
Pp2I did a design for a male client, and he insisted that he would not pay me unless I slept with him and that if I were not okay with it, I should sue him. He was a barrister. He took my design and built the house with a different architect. There was nothing I could do because I was still new in the business. I didn’t want to start my career with litigation


Theme C: Insufficient government assistance and limited access to loans

Pp2The government is not helping female entrepreneurs. I was owed a final payment by a male client, and he blatantly refused to pay, he was adamant. I reported to the relevant authority seeking redress, bit received no support from the government authority.

Theme D: Inequality in Service Fees

Pp1Some male clients often accuse me of charging too much. During a job offer I was told ‘’we know you have the experience and the skills, but you do not have any kid to take care of so why charge too much?’’
Pp4There is always the ‘’She is a woman’’ mentality. I did a few sub-contracts and I noticed that other contractors that were male were paid almost fifty percent more than I was paid.
Pp6I have female clients who play the ‘you are my sister,’ ‘women supporting women’ card and then try to take advantage of me. They say ‘’Oh you know that we are a growing business, you are also a woman you know how it is. But they don’t behave same way towards the male counterparts.
Pp7I did a project with a male counterpart. He got the full payment for his job but mine was slashed. When I asked the financial accounts department of the company, I was told that his fee was higher because he was a married man and has family to take care of, whereas I am a single female and do not have the same responsibilities as he does


Theme E: Asserting Dominance and Disrespect

Pp2I belong to an Association of Architects. First, I was a floor member then I became the secretary. When it was my turn to lead, I was denied the position because the males in the group refused to be led by a woman. During a construction of a church foundation, I went to the site and discovered a male carpenter had done the wrong thing, I told him to fix it, he said ‘’I won’t take instructions from you.’’
Pp4My business is not taken seriously because there isn’t a male on the team. There is always a ‘she is a woman’ mentality
Pp6My team and I have been told ‘’these ones are feminists that is the reason they do not have any man on their team.’’ I go for meetings, and they ask ‘’where is your boss, is he here’’. I clearly remember a time I wanted to consult for another firm, the client emphasised that he needed a male presence for that account. I had to look for a male to go with us to that meeting. When I show up at a meeting with a male, they treat us differently than when it is only women on the team
Pp7I bided for the contract of corporate event managers, but I wasn’t picked. I asked for feedback and was told by a member of the planning committee that the chairman of the committee in charge of the event did not want a woman. Another time I was working on set to handle operations for an exhibition and the male workers there blatantly said they would not take instructions from a woman. On one occasion a male worker on site said to me ‘if you talk to me, I will slap you
Pp8After a presentation for a bid, an insider called me aside and asked why I came alone. I said that I was the person bidding for the job so why should I not come alone. He said that I should have come with a male that the boss won’t take me seriously
Pp9I get belittling comments from male workers. A technical error or an oversight on the site is judged based on my gender. They do not do that to men. They say things like ‘’she is a woman. she is on her period, or she is suffering from a heartbreak from her boyfriend that’s why she made a mistake on the job’’. They do not say things of this sort to the men

Follow the link to Category 2 of our findings to learn how these Female Founders cope with the biases.



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