What does the future hold for girls in tech?

Fresh from their takeover of Telenor’s Group Executive management meeting, we asked three passionate young gender equality advocates, in partnership with Plan International, how they see the future for women and girls in tech. Here’s what they said.

Written: Nov 2020

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What are the future risks if women and girls aren’t more represented in the tech industry?

Oda Ertzei (Norway)  “If girls don’t get into technology now, the tech world is going to be even more male dominated. If girls had the same opportunities as the boys, we could have a lot more girls in the leadership positions. I think it’s important for the future that girls are more involved than now.”

Reneka Ahmed Antu (Bangladesh) “We’re living in the tech era. Everyone has to have some foundation in tech to earn a living as it is important to almost every future career. Without financial independence, it is next to impossible to be empowered. If girls and women are not represented in the tech industry now, the overall women empowerment process will suffer.”

Shoon Lae Yi Phyo (Myanmar) “Lack of female representation in the tech industry could put the future of young women and girls at risk. Without role models or more equality in technology, young girls will feel more discouraged about their career in the industry.”

Also read Four ways telcos can protect and advance child rights

Reneka presents during the girls’ take-over of Telenor’s Group Executive Management meeting

If you were CEO of a major tech company, what’s the first thing you’d do to make it more inclusive?

Oda “I would probably try to talk with the schools. I’d try to make them more aware that technology is important for children to learn, and especially girls. Although not easy in the corona pandemic, I would try to make some camps for girls to learn more about technology and try it out. I would try to share this important message and get people with me, like Telenor is doing.”

Reneka “I know it is not an easy task but I would establish some key policies and a department of Anthropologists and Social Scientists that would submit contextual analysis for every regional head office. Amongst other things, this could generate knowledge for corporate business studies, increase work efficiency and contribute to a better understanding of the workplace environment.”

Shoon “If I were the CEO of a tech company, I would consider the company’s employment strategy, particularly of women. I’d also work to create an enabling environment for working mothers.”

Also read 5 tips to help your children stay safe online during lockdown

Who are your tech heroes and how do they inspire you?

Oda “I don’t have any special tech heroes, but I think Bill Gates has done something good in technology. I hope I will get more heroes in the future and learn more about technology and the people there.”

Reneka “Sonia Bashir Kabir is a Founder of SBK Tech Ventures and SBK Foundation. She has held top roles in Microsoft and Dell as well as the COO role for Aamra Technologies Ltd. The most inspirational thing about her is her Tech Hubs, an initiative to empower rural communities especially youth and women.”

Shoon “My tech hero from Myanmar would be Daw Hla Hla Win, the first woman CEO of 360ed, an educational tech startup from Myanmar. She has inspired young girls in tech and paved the way for quality education by leveraging technology. Just like her, I would also want to be a leader in the education space who can play a part in building Myanmar’s future.”