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Aussie Women in Tech: What’s the Situation in 2017?

Posted by: Roisin Evans 7 Mar 17  | Australia |  Digital |  Technology


With this year’s theme for International Women’s Day being
#BeBoldForChange  it’s fitting to see what changes have transpired in 2016 for women in tech.  

Australian businesses have continuously led the way and supported gender equality with practices such as unconscious bias training and flexi-hours for both men and women to help break down these gender barriers.

With practices in place such as these, it is no surprise that Australia currently ranks second in the world for supporting female entrepreneurship. The country also has 2% higher female IT leaders than the global average of 9%. Some of the most influential female tech leaders include Pip Marlow (MD of Microsoft Australia), Kate Burleigh (MD at Intel Australia & New Zealand) Karen Stocks (MD at Twitter Australia).

So what has happened for women in tech in 2016?

2016 was a big year for women in tech as more and more women are taking the industry by storm. Last year 20% of all start-ups across the world were founded by women and six of Fortune's 15 companies have female CIOs.

Figures like these surely indicate a positive step towards ending gender discrimination in the tech industry which otherwise is renowned for being a male-dominated environment.

What needs to be done?

According to a report published by Davidson Technology in June 2016,men outnumber women two to one in key tech roles, particularly in key coding roles”.

Under pressure from such reports, tech giants such as Twitter and Pinterest have decided to step it up a gear and take matters into their own hands.

In order to address this gender issue, Twitter has set itself company targets such as a female global workforce of 35% and female representation in tech roles at 16%.

Pinterest also set about tackling the issue, managing to raise their representation of women in IT roles from 21 percent to 26 percent. 

It’s great to see big tech companies setting an example to address the gender bias issue. However it isn’t just established tech businesses that are making waves, as there has also been an increase in female-run start-ups and female-centric tech that also demonstrate this shift in thinking.

SheStarts

June 2016 saw the exciting launch of SheStarts, a programme which promotes and invests in female entrepreneurs.

Founded in January 2016, SheStarts is an Australian based company who received masses of applications before picking 10 founders who would receive $100,000 pre-seed funding and a place on the programme to develop their app. Innovative ideas for apps have included a virtual tissue bank and “vet chat”, a pet health initiative. All 10 women are from diverse backgrounds, but what they all have in common is their drive and passion for tech.

 The importance of this project for the progression of women in tech is particularly apparent to the company’s Founder and CEO Nicola Hazell who says that getting more women into start-ups will inevitably result in a rise in female CEOs. The urgent need for this is further underlined by the fact that there are more CEOs named Peter than female CEOs at the helm of ASX 200 companies.

Rare Birds

Jo Burston, Founder of Job Capital, was disheartened when she found herself as the only female entrepreneur at many industry events, resulting in the creation of Rare Birds.

Aiming to inspire female entrepreneurs, Rare Birds pledges to achieve “one million more female entrepreneurs globally by 2020.”

 

Femtech and Wearables

It’s not even just getting more women working in tech that seems to be brought to light, there is a whole range of femtech products on the market and the sector is forecasted to become a multi-dollar billion industry.

Femtech particularly draws on wearable technology, which CCS Insight predicts will be worth more than $US34 billion by 2020, and will reach $US14 billion in sales this year.

 

Two people who are already maximising on this emerging market are Lorna Swinstead and Bel Wood who have recently launched their start up ‘smart handbags’. The concept is a hidden 5000mAh battery in a dedicated compartment within the bag which allows you to charge your phone on the go.

Lorna & Bel’s smart bag is one of a growing number of female-centric products; the pair have plans to expand overseas targeting high-end fashion stores.

 

It’s been a great year for women in Australia with lots of successes to celebrate from newly appointed CEOs to exciting and innovative femtech inventions. If Aussie companies continue to embrace and support women in the tech world, it looks like we have an exciting year ahead in 2017!

How much are your coding skills worth? Check out our IT and tech job opportunities in Australia to find out

 

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