For many women, the idea of transitioning into a tech-based career remains an intimidating feat, despite many companies ramping up their diversity goals, and educators offering targeted scholarships or incentives.
As the conversation has remained a hot-topic for many years, AESTOLOGYY issued a media call-out for tech founders to answer why they personally believe there’s so few women in tech.
No press release answers, just raw and from the heart.
Here’s the answers of six very diverse tech founders – three men, three women – that irrespective of gender are seeking to break new mould in their niche.
Perhaps a solution lies in their answers.
1. Chamira Gamage, Co-founder at Thinkrs
Chamira believes it’s a combination of factors, and adds his co-founder Mel may be better positioned to answer – the female member of their founding team.
“The barrier to entry isn’t overt anymore, but the mentality of who is welcome in certain spaces is still developing,” says Gamage.
He believes things are heading in the right direction for equality of opportunity and acceptance.
Mr Gamage is the co-founder of Chrome extension, Thinkrs, which seeks to detect bias in news and media stories. The service is a comprehensive critical tool which offers news context in the fight against fake news.
The company kicked off pre-launch two weeks after the controversial Netflix documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’, and is working to debut on the Chrome store amidst the US election.
“I understand the benefit of seeing people from your gender and ethnicity visibly represented to make progress.”
As a brown kid growing up in a small country town, there were always discussion of seeing where you want to go by representations of yourself on TV – I had Apu from the Simpsons!”Chamira Gamage, Thinkrs
2. Benjamin Kennedy, Founder at Gecko
Benjamin Kennedy is the young founder of tech marketplace, Gecko, and recently completed a successful capital raise shortly after his 21st birthday.
Kennedy asserts there’s still a stigma that technology roles are “uncool and lame” in schools, with a solution needing to be built “from the ground up.”
“I don’t think it’s encouraged enough in schools, and if it is there’s this sense that tech is uncool and lame”
“I believe we need to try and break the stigma of what tech looks like for young kids.”Benjamin Kennedy, Gecko
Kennedy founded Gecko after noticing a gap in the marketplace for hiring hard-to-get technology items (e.g. drones, big event speakers). The company has notched just under $110K annualised GMV, and is on a strong growth trajectory after winning the UTS Hustler of the Year Award in 2019.
3. Dr Debra Panipucci, Co-founder at Adaptive Change Mindset
Dr Panipucci, Ph.D believes the mentality of ‘people in tech’ has historically held a ‘masculine’ association, with women underrepresented in the media.
“When you think of the tech industry the people who come to mind are all male – Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Larry Page & Sergey Brin, Jeff Bezos, Jack Dorsey, Mike Cannon-Brookes, Scott Farguhar – you never hear about the women.
“It would be really nice if we [women] could get the same level of media spotlight, making the industry feel less masculine and more balanced.”
“It would be really nice if we [women] could get the same level of media spotlight, making the industry feel less masculine and more balanced.”Dr Debra Panipucci, Adaptive Change Mindset
“It would present the message that anyone can do ‘it’, and be successful.”
Adaptive Change Mindset is building an app which puts a change expert in everyone’s pocket. The service brings AI and tech automation into HR processes, catering to companies who need help thinking about the human and machine interaction, when rolling out emerging technology in their business.
4. Emily Bobis, Co-founder Compass IoT
Bobis’ self-admitted controversial opinion points to the difficulty of finding female role models in technology that aren’t placed behind some sort of paywall.
“I feel that for women in particular, there is more monetisation around female-orientated business networks than there are for male equivalents.”Emily Bobis, Compass IoT
She states there is a systemic problem that should seek to encourage women to pursue technology careers from as early as primary school and high school.
“I also feel there is work to do for workplaces – creating environments where women feel their expertise is valued, and without fear of gender-based discrimination,” she adds.
Compass IoT is an analytics company focused on making complex data operations “visually appealing, understandable, and actionable,” and was the winner of the 2020 University of Sydney Innovation Prize Pitch Competition.
5. Andrew Hine, Co-founder at Reputionaire
Mr Hine attributes a form of societal pressure from parents, student or teachers for making technology seem less appealing to women from a young age.
“Since there are fewer women in tech, people must see it as a male profession which is a shame.”Andrew Hine, Reputionaire
Hine admits that talking to many women has revealed a lack of confidence for entering the field, perpetuated by its perception as a male-dominated field.
Reputionaire is platform which allows anyone to gather their third-party ratings and reviews, to facilitate trust in virtual personal or professional interactions. The platform aids women aggregating proof of their character and abilities, to pitch with confidence in the realm of software development.
6. Anthea Rowan, Founder at Code Republic
Rowan had an esteemed career in consumer technology before launching her fashion-tech startup, Code Republic, and attributes the communication of technical jargon for often isolating women.
“Heavy technical jargon is what many women associated tech with from a young age – typically women are more interested in the tangible problem-solving benefits of technology,” remarks Rowan.
“Studies of neural circuitry maps show greater connectivity between the left and right sides of the brain in women, while the connections in men were mostly confined to individual hemispheres, meaning we think and process information very differently.”
“Because of this, tech has often seemed so unapproachable, with many women not resonating with it as a potential desired career.”
Code Republic is the maker of stylish designer ‘work bags’, custom created to hold both personal items and technology products. Rowan is currently in the US fundraising, and relocating their HQ.
“Female customers are such a vital part of tech brands’ success – we should be a very important part of the conversation – yet unfortunately it is too common women are overlooked.”Anthea Rowan, Code Republic