Women Leaders in Technology – The need, the impact and the future.
The month of March is the women’s month, annually declared to highlight the contributions of women to society. This year’s theme for the international women’s day is balance for better – meaning a more gender balanced society is a better society. There is however a great gender imbalance in technology which should be a concern to all of us because today’s rapid societal development hinges on technology; and development will not thrive without gender balanced teams.
Despite the huge potentials of technology to transform society and create wealth for individuals and families, women continue to lag behind in the adoption and maximal use of technology. We see this gap and gender imbalance in tech everywhere around us, For example
- We have fewer women owned businesses and startups – Olivet Cloud is one of the few
- Fewer women in the board of tech companies
- Fewer women in tech in senior management positions
- Fewer women teachers and lecturers in STEM
- Fewer women using technology in society
So why do we have this gender gap in tech?
1-Cultural and religious barriers
2- Societal gender stereotypes
3-Lack of sufficient female role models
4-Poor STEM pedagogies
5-Policies unfavorable to women due to patriarchy
6-Lack of sufficient female STEM teachers and lecturers
7-Insufficient support for grassroots STEM interventions to “stem” the leaky pipeline
8- Few women leaders in technology
These are major mitigating factors that widen the gender imbalance in Tech. So what can we do as women leaders in tech? We are few in numbers, how do we make a difference? Firstly we need to improve our leadership qualities by
- Strengthening our integrity
- Maintaining our self-confidence
- Inspiring others, especially fellow women
- Being passionate about our goals and dreams
- Being committed to our mission
- Being creative and innovative
- Being competent
- Being empathic
- Communicating effectively
- Being humble
- Collaborating more
After we have improved ourselves as women in tech and strengthened our leadership abilities, then we can effect the multiplier effect by bringing more women into the technological space as influencers, innovators, creators, designers, and so on. In a nutshell bringing more women to the table. Then we can begin to measure impact against the internationally agreed upon development metrics like the SDGs. With more women in tech, we would easier attain the top goals
Goal 1: No poverty( e.g mata.ng , wit.ng)
Goal 2: Zero hunger
Goal 3: Good health and well-being for people
Goal 4: Quality education(e.g teachers.ng)
Goal 5: Gender equality
With more women in tech leadership and decision making in general, we would enjoy great benefits as balance and diversity in teams bring multiple perspectives to the table. We must never forget that societies, consumers and the public at large are diverse and hence, diversity, balance and inclusiveness must be at the front burner in leadership and team formation at all levels in society. Countries that embraced these culture of diversity have recorded improved quality of products and services as well as progressive development.
It is critically important for girls to be encouraged to begin to key into ICT otherwise they face the danger of being excluded from a future defined by technology. I enjoin all stakeholders to support initiatives like the ITU Girls in ICT day celebration organized every fourth Thursday of April Annually(girlsinict.org), to bring in more girls into Tech
Gender parity in technology is no longer an option but a compulsion for a better society.
Keynote Delivered by Martha Omoekpen Alade( email@example.com) , Founder – Women in Technology in Nigeria(WITIN) on the 5th Anniversary of Olivet Cloud on 22nd of March 22, 2019