Today is International Women In Engineering Day and the theme is ‘Imagine the Future’. The theme is more potent than ever, as the tech industry reflects on the present gaps in the sector and the long-term challenges. From a shortage in skills to a gap in diversity, a future cannot be imagined without recognising the work and value that women bring and can bring if provided the opportunity.
We spoke to three inspirational women working in STEM, who are leading the way in their field. Hear about how they are (re)imagining the future of technology, and the role that they believe diversity plays in the success of tech companies.
Carol Chris, Regional General Manager of GBG
“Looking ahead, it’s clear that there are many challenges for future generations, whether it’s climate change, the evolution of technology and the rise of online scams, the complexity of financial crime, or the emergence of new industries which are still in their early stages today, such as Web3 and crypto.
“To address these challenges while building the industries and businesses around them to keep our society safe and thriving, we’ll need more innovative thinking and diversity of thought than ever. For example, the growing issue of identity theft and financial fraud will continue to change over time, and combating these with the same approaches will quickly wear out. The finance, technology, and corporate sectors will continue to lean on new ideas and this can only happen when we have solutions designed and implemented by people who reflect our whole society.
“I’m optimistic that more women are entering and challenging STEM industries to do better on gender equality and am excited about what future generations of women in engineering will bring to the table.”
Cynthia Rahardja, Co-Founder and COO, LUMOS
“Over the past few years, there has been a concerted effort to increase the number of women in STEM as well as highlight all the amazing women who are already in that sector. However to ensure the future progress of STEM, it is imperative to expand the diversity of the sector beyond just gender.
“School-aged girls and young women need more exposure to STEM within the education system and they need the opportunities to explore STEM and acquire STEM skills. I imagine a future where women in STEM are provided the same opportunities as their male colleagues, where they can pursue their passion with confidence in an unbiased environment. It has been great to see the increase in women-owned businesses, but I’d love to see more female founders of tech start-ups such as myself come to the fore and have the support and resources they need to make their business a success.
“The STEM sector also needs to widen its talent pool when recruiting to also consider people with disability, Indigenous and people of colour, people from various age groups. The importance of diversity in STEM cannot be undermined. The business benefits of diversity of thought are well documented and by affording more diverse people the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the technology sector, we can overcome the traditional beliefs and break down barriers so STEM can thrive in all its glory.”
Shamane Tan, Chief Growth Officer, Sekuro
“The theme #ImagineTheFuture is an important one, especially in the engineering industry that evolves day-by-day. When there are so many variables that make every working day different, it can seem challenging to navigate or even know for sure what lies ahead. However, industries like cybersecurity, for example, by nature demand foresight into the future in order to build solutions for tomorrow. Key to that is fostering a strong ecosystem that enables creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.
“In order to achieve this, the constant must always involve an element of diversity. Diversity breeds innovation so that the industry is not only creative but also disruptive in our thinking. Coming from a computer engineering background myself and now working in cybersecurity, I’ve witnessed the contributions and impact that people from a diverse culture, and different life and career experiences make. This includes the many inspiring women role models that I’ve had the privilege of being mentored by before. I celebrate women across the industry and those aspiring to join because a bright future for STEM is simply not possible without their presence at the table.
“Women engineers bring the unique perspectives and experiences that have been needed across the industry for so long, and it is important we support and accelerate opportunities for women to participate so that the future of engineering is a flourishing one.”
For more from Women Love Tech on Women in Engineering Day, visit here.