Inspirational stories about gender-inclusive making

Priscilla Serwaah Gyasi
Kumasi Hive, Ghana

Priscilla  is Project and Grant manager in Kumasi Hive – an innovation, tech & entrepreneurship-support community and space in Kumasi, Ghana. She holds a Bachelor of Education in Home Economics and Project Management.  Priscilla also describes herself as an entrepreneur in food processing, being the co-founder of the food startup “The Baker’s Lounge”.

“I wanted others to be in my shoes and understand how I feel in this situation.”

Priscilla faced two main barriers in her leadership journey. First, her background in Home Economics (mainly Food and Nutrition)  introduced  a whole new discipline for the team and thus needed time to be understood and accepted. Second, she experienced that being a project manager means that “you must be stronger at a certain point”, not within the organization but with external people, which can be intimidating. Only with time did people understand why Priscilla had been working with timelines and other project management tools that were perceived as strict, until they realized the benefits they brought. Priscilla challenged the stereotype amongst implying that  women can’t bring a strong personality and project management skills. 

Priscilla realized that sometimes stakeholders would expect her to be “quiet and not talk back”. So she had to get people to understand her experience, how she felt in this situation. She explained that changing this attitude towards women  is a matter of fairness.

“Sometimes you just have to ignore certain attitudes, you cannot be nice to everyone”, she says with a laugh and adds “you cannot change the mindset and attitude of everyone.”

She convinced people that she was the right person for the job by highly succeeding at it. Finally Priscilla stresses the importance of role models.  When other women, from school peers to anyone in society, see female makers being involved in technology and making they realize that they can do it as well.  

“So we have to let people know what we are doing to get them attracted. If we would not show our work they would not know that there are female makers.”

Message to her younger self:

”Don’t stop fighting. We are only a small number of women involved in technology and making at the moment and sometimes it is hard to make people understand how this feels. But don’t give up and continue fighting.”