Centralising Operations, Cultivating Diversity
In light of SThree’s concerted step to have a consolidated hub in Singapore, we would also like to focus our diversity initiatives towards Asia rather than on a local level. One of the biggest focus areas in Asia is the tech industry. With countries in APAC such as Singapore and Hong Kong which are striving towards becoming increasingly tech-savvy, it is of concern that there is a significant lack of women representation within this field.
It is hence pertinent for everyone regardless of gender to be educated with the right mind-set where there is room to create change despite a male-dominated sector. The need to create a community that can positively influence as well as support one another is a great start to countries like Hong Kong where patriarchy is still embedded in the roots of its culture.
Empowering women: not just a one-woman job
It is in the nature of women to nurture, but pervasive stereotypes suggests otherwise. Many women have also encountered it – the idea that women do not work for mutual good and instead compete to bring each other down.
This is despite studies proving that women do flourish in an environment supported by other women whom they can relate to at a deeper level. According to IBM, opportunities for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are driven by inclusion across career environments, empowerment to think freely, and the ability for women to bring their "whole selves" to work. Women who encourage and support each other’s goals and values share similar drive and visions in life, love, business, spirituality and personal development.
Below are some leading examples of women communities that foster tech culture not only within themselves but extend it to the rest of society.
Female Communities in Singapore and Hong Kong
Women in Tech SG (Singapore)
Part of the online community fostered on Lean In, Women in Tech SG is dedicated to help inspire and support talented women to consider a future in the field of technology across Singapore.
A community like this can help to provide connections, resources, and opportunities within a supportive environment amongst women to support each other in the world of technology and to stay within the field. It also provides a platform for women leaders in tech to encourage other aspiring women who may seek interest to progress in a career within tech.
The Women’s Foundation (Hong Kong)
The Women’s Foundation is the leading catalyst in Hong Kong for collaborative efforts to support women’s betterment in the community. This includes identifying issues, implementing solutions and striving for measurable change. Focussing on the technology sector, they have initiated various programmes to empower deprived girls and women alike to create a positive attitude shift around technology.
The bigger factor that has resulted in the dominance of men in the tech sector in Hong Kong is the dwindling number of girls pursuing STEM majors in universities. This results in a smaller talent pool of women professionals in the field.
In light of this, Girls Go Tech launched in 2015 is a school-based programme that aims to encourage junior secondary school girls from under-privileged backgrounds to pursue traditionally male-dominated STEM related subjects to maximise their future career options.
Source: The Women’s Foundation HK
By fostering a community of younger females, they are equipped to have a head-start in connecting and networking with like-minded individuals. This encourages a culture of learning and support from peers who are too, budding learners in the tech field.
Empowering women to enter the IT workforce will be a progressive effort
The first step to take is removing the stereotype that technology is a “boys club.” It is prevalent that women can, and do, thrive in the field of technology and we can help close the gender diversity gap by empowering girls to consider technology as a career path starting from a young age.
In the workplace, both women and men who are currently in IT can have a significant impact by mentoring women who are newer to the industry. This can be in the form of sounding board and advice, which can help them succeed and determine the path they would like to take within the IT industry. Successful women in the industry can make an even greater impact by taking courage to realise the difference they can make by stepping up their game in various ways including mentorship to the next generation of female leaders in tech.
With our centralised and consolidated Asian hub located in Singapore, SThree is primed in a strategic location to attract both local and international talents that can value add to organisations that are geared towards diversity hires.
What do you think can be done to provide more opportunities for women in technology in APAC? Feel free to share your thoughts by connecting with us at [email protected] so that we may be able to make a concerted effort in building a community of forward-looking techies whilst embrace gender diversity together. You may also follow our LinkedIn page for more industry related updates.
Sources: The New Yorker, South China Morning Post, The Huffington Post, The Women’s Foundation HK, Women Who Code HK.