Celebrating International Women’s Day with SWiT
Yesterday Scotland Women in Technology (SWiT) hosted an event in Glasgow celebrating International Women’s Day at the Everyman Cinema – rebranded to ‘Everywoman Cinema’ for the day.
At the event, the UK’s largest women in tech forum was, for the first time, live streamed in Scotland from London to SWiT’s attendees.
The 2019 Everywoman in Tech Forum ‘The Power of Diversity’ aimed to empower women working in technology and raise awareness of diversity issues across the tech sector.
As well as Scotland, the forum was live streamed globally to audiences in Ireland, Poland and India, and other parts of the UK.
Gender equality, inclusivity, blockchain, employee empowerment and retention and the dangers of the unconscious bias were just some of the topics covered on the day.
The speakers emphasised that to improve gender equality there needs to be an even greater focus on inclusivity for everyone.
To do this people must leave their assumptions at the door when they come into work. By doing this people will be more open to new ideas, perform better and as a result generate innovation.
Speakers were keen to assure listeners that gender equality does not equal the exclusion of men. In fact, men are an important part of the dialogue. Many strongly advocated that tech should be a vehicle for inclusion.
For example, blockchain can be used to provide inclusion for displaced people and empower unbanked individuals, the majority of which are women, to participate in the economy.
While there are still barriers there has been significant progress, compared to five years ago more people are now acknowledging that there is a problem, and more men want to be involved. While the current status quo isn’t perfect there is more awareness and more action is being taken.
Another key theme was the vital need for diversity within tech to ensure that everyone is shaping the future of tech so that it isn’t tailored for only one specific group.
After the live stream session, SWiT held a series of talks which explored a variety of topics, such as the role of emotional intelligence in AI and how it will lead to success in AI. Speaker Tripti Sethi, Senior Director, Intelligent Industry Solutions (AI) Lead, Europe at Avanade, warned that companies should avoid using AI for AI’s sake.
Sethi asserts that AI requires purpose, empathy, excellent project management, a good strategy, and sound execution to ensure the product stands a chance on the market. A diversity of skills are necessary to help drive AI projects, she added.
The panel discussion covered the importance of senior women being the voice for younger women coming up through the organisation. It’s crucial that women speak up even when it is scary to tackle these issues within the sector, as one panellist said: “feel the fear and do it anyway”.
Speaking about the event, Lynsey Campbell, SWiT chairperson and JP Morgan Chase & Co executive director, told DIGIT: “Today has been a phenomenal success for SWiT. We set out to run an educational and empowering day of learning where we don’t just talk about the gender inequality in technology and instead we talk about interesting and innovative technology subjects, whilst enabling everyone to have a growth mindset and realise that who they are and being true to themselves is the true future of technology”.