International women's day

Women in tech: forget the stats and share their stories

“With rapid advances in technology… where are all the women?” – if that’s what you’re expecting this blog to be about, leave now.
By Irini Agollari – Legal, Risk & Compliance at InnoWell

It’s true that women make up just 27.8% of the IT workforce (according to a recent study by Access Economics).

In fact, ABS data reveals that since 2001, the number of women working in “computer design and related services” has actually fallen.

With this in mind, how can we feel excited about the limitless opportunities the industry can offer to women?

As a mentor to a bright young woman who is currently studying Cybersecurity, I often find myself in the back seat, having to be apologetic about the statistics and having to explain why “things aren’t as bad as they seem”.

Instead, I want to be able show her the value in establishing networks and building relationships in this future-proof, ever-growing sector that transcends and enables traditional industries (such as food, health, professional services and more).

How can I do that?

The answer is simple, by putting aside the stats and sharing stories, both my own and those of other women around me. It’s celebration that allows us to inspire other women to feel optimism and reassurance in choosing a career in tech.

We need to shift the way we think and talk about women in tech. More important than the fact that “there aren’t enough”, is the fact that “women in tech, are super stars that drive organisational success at all levels” – that is why we need more of them.

There is too much focus on highlighting the deficiencies in gender equality and diversity, at the expense of celebrating the achievements of women, the value they add to their organisations, their passion, compassion, ability to multi-task (let’s face it, a lot better than their male counterparts – although, I am biased) and their resilience.

I know that positive messaging is not as “catchy” as naming and shaming and calling out those companies that aren’t doing enough, but it is certain to attract more women to choose a career in the technology sector.

At 28%, Australia has the second highest percentage of women in tech (with Bulgaria coming first at 30%) – that’s something we can be proud of!

I’m privileged to work at InnoWell where we live and breathe gender diversity and equality, with 50% of our Leadership Team being women. Although we still have a long way to go in our commercialisation journey, the foundations for success are there, and our future looks bright.

On International Women’s Day, do your bit. Take the time to share stories about the achievements of women in the tech sector, highlight the small and big moments of their ‘awesomeness’, talk about them with your mentees, write about them on blogs and social media, and most importantly embody them.

On that note, I want to acknowledge the women whose leadership, strength and dedication inspires me every today.

Thank you to Kristen StubbinsRonni Kahn, Dianne Tipping, Lisa Mcauley, Mirjana Prica, Ayse Burke, Sue Muller, Tracey Davenport, Wendy Hamson and Tracey Scott-Remington.