Governance NZ

International Women's Day: Women in tech, are they misrepresented, or is this a myth?

This month, as we celebrated International Women's Day, it felt important to write about what this day, month means to me. As a woman of colour in a leading technology organisation, where the industry is still male dominated, it is crucial to acknowledge how far we have come and how much further we still need to get.

There are several factors that have helped women with gaining an upper hand in the past. Internet use has increased and offered opportunities for women to get involved in tertiary education, and remote learning in degrees they may have not done so in the past. This has helped in increasing women in the tech workforce. Another factor that has helped with the growth of women in the sector is Covid, which has also meant the way we work has changed. Remote working is now something that is of the present and gives women the opportunity to work from home, without the challenge of issues around travel or transportation.

But the numbers of women do not represent half of the technology workforce.

So, one of the questions I often get asked is why aren't there more women in technology?

The biggest issue we face is the systematic challenge. The challenge is technology, especially in the cyber security field is still viewed as masculine and deter women from joining the field. One of the other challenges are women who do join the technology industry struggle to progress in their careers. This systematic challenge could be related to an unconscious bias that is created within people.

Running an organisation in technology, I have believed in equal opportunities when including staff. As a core value of strength in diversity, we are an organisation that believes in equal rights and equal opportunity. This has come from a lot of the past learnings I have taken from around the challenges and impacts women have in career building. There are still a lot of preconceptions and misconceptions. So, I believe with equal opportunity and opening of doors, there will be more on offer for females who are wanting to get on board in the technology industry, at any level of expertise.

Diversity is important, but how can we make a difference? The starting point is to have a conversation. Let's start with the conversations, and let's end with some action points. If you are a technology company, how can you look at diversity? And how will that help you? The world needs more women in technology. This will help change the way your organisation currently structured for the better.

International Women's Day in my eyes is one to celebrate but also one to take action.

Written by Farah Herbert, Chief Executive Officer, Cybercraft, Partners of the Governance 2030 Conference

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