The ‘Women in tech’ conversation needs to focus on ‘diversity’

The ‘Women in tech’ conversation needs to focus on ‘diversity’

“It’s time for women in tech to co-opt male champions in order to grow a more balanced representation in this space,” says Debby Edelstein, CEO of QualityLife, organisers of the annual Wired Women Conference.

“We need to encourage workplace diversity that brings the benefits of male and female leadership styles to the table. There is a lot that female leaders can learn from their male counterparts, and vice versa,” she adds.

Sponsored by Standard Bank, the Wired Women Conference is now in its fifth year, and provides a platform where women leaders in the tech arena discuss issues of workplace diversity, and share their first-hand experience through keynote presentations and interactive panel discussions. In addition, delegates enjoy real-time coaching sessions that equip entrepreneurs and start-up founders with practical tips on attracting talent, fostering innovation and managing diversity in the workplace.

“Workplace diversity unlocks potential for immense innovation and excellence, and it is imperative that we encourage more women to take on leadership roles within all sectors of the economy, not only tech. Tech companies are still dominated by male CEOs and most tech entrepreneurs we read about in mainstream press are male too,” says Edelstein. “ I believe that our tech industry’s future success will depend on our ability to have a balanced, diverse leadership landscape that utilises in equal measure the unique qualities male and female leaders bring to the workplace.”

Speakers at this year’s conference include World Economic Forum Young Global Leader Enyonam Kumahor; Standard Bank Incubator Head Jayshree Naidoo; MTN Foundation general manager Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi; South African Communication Forum CEO Loren Braithwaite-Kabosha; and IBM SA’s Performance Marketing Leader Rebecca Munyuki.

Celebrated Wits Professor Barry Dwolatzky, the driving force behind the TechinBraam initiative, has thrown the weight of his Joburg Centre for Software Engineering behind Wired Women as evidence of his commitment to growing the women in tech conversation through this platform.

Prof Dwolatzky says, “The Digital Technology industry in South Africa is largely a “man’s world”, particularly when one looks at those doing technical jobs. Historically women have been reluctant to go into IT. I believe that the gender imbalance in IT has impoverished the industry. While it is hard to generalise, I believed that women bring a number of critical attributes to an IT team. Wired Women is an innovative and comprehensive effort to redress this balance. Since the organisation I head, the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University, has transformation and capacity development as two of its key goals, I strongly support the WiredWomen initiative and their projects.”

The fifth annual Wired Women Conference takes place on Friday, 23 October at Protea Hotel Parktonian, 120 De Korte Street in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.


1 Comment
  • DrFerdowsi
    Posted at 09:59h, 02 September

    RT @michaelhallTM: The ‘Women in tech’ conversation needs to focus on ‘diversity’: “It’s time for women in tech to co-opt male… http://t.…