Advocating for Women in Tech with Peace Mitchell
Women of ALTA – WALTA presents ‘Advocating for Women in Tech’ with Peace Mitchell
WALTA and Women in Tech were excited to host a webinar presented by Peace Mitchell, Australian Ambassador for Women in Technology. The event was facilitated by ALTA Vice President and Legally Yours CEO, Karen Finch.
Peace jumped off the event by sharing some alarming statistics about women in tech. Currently, it is predicted that gender equality will not be achieved for another 202 years. Meaning for Peace, not even her great-grandchildren will experience equality. Progress for women’s issues like the gender pay gap are not moving fast enough and not enough is currently being done to circumvent inequality.
From a young age young girls are already seeing science as a male dominated industry. Peace shared an anecdote of her own daughter’s reaction to seeing a female scientist. Left in awe she asked her mother to take a photo remarking – “Look mum! It’s a lady scientist.” Representation is crucial in encouraging the next generation of women into these male dominated industries.
Currently, 86% of girls believe tech is important for their future career however, only 3% aspire for a career in tech. At the same time 68% of 16-year-old girls perform at a high standard in math and science exams, compared to only 65% of boys. Of the women that do enter into science, engineering, and tech 80% report that they love their jobs, but 46.2% of them will leave these industries due to discrimination.
Peace highlighted that many choose to blame a lack of confidence for these troubling statistics, however according to her the problems we are facing are cultural ones. In order to circumvent this inequality Peace outlined the need for women to be normalised in these male dominated industries if we hope to achieve true equality.
To summaries her presentation Peace outlined six important solution to encouraging women into tech:
- System and cultural change
- Providing opportunity for career advancement
- Utilising sisterhood and connection
- Mentoring and support for women
- Equal pay and funding
- Better work life balance
Karen and Peace then opened up to a Q&A from the audience. The audience posed many insightful questions about the effect of 2020, hiring practices and the shortfalls of government funding. At the end of the event Peace summarised a key point to remember investing in women is investing in our future. Women possess all the tools necessary to fix the world’s problems, their ideas just need to be listened to.