On June 11, The Australian national newspaper featured an opinion piece titled Women in tech: How do we get more women in the room?, by Sally-Ann Williams, the incoming CEO of Cicada Innovations and a founding member responsible for bringing the inaugural Hopper Down Under to Australia July 29-31, 2019.
With a combined unique monthly readership of 3.7 million (online and in print) and a key audience of policy makers, executive influencers, and leading business-decision makers, this was an incredible opportunity to make people aware of the upcoming Hopper Down Under event and the work of AnitaB.org.
Below are snippets from the Technical Commentary by Sally-Ann as it appeared in The Australian:
“I am often the only woman in the room. In fact, I can almost guarantee if you are a woman in tech you’ve likely experienced this too — but it shouldn’t be the norm and we can change the ratio.
The lack of women in tech is a complex issue. Some attribute it to a lack of confidence in pursuing study in early years and technical roles later, others point to gender bias (on both sides), and others suggest the lack of visible female role models as examples.
Whatever the root causes (and there are many research papers on this) the issue is amplified and sustained by the overall lack of women entering technology, research, and STEM-related fields and the rate in which they leave it…”
“…We limit ourselves when we think role models need to have big public profiles. Every single person can, and should be, a role model for somebody else. Finding a role model is an easy and necessary step. Figure out what challenges you want to address and then look around your network to see who has done that. They may be a peer, they may be a senior executive. Level doesn’t matter — learning from experience and expertise does…”
“…What I have learned from my mentors is that you need to take control of your journey. We all need to lean in to failure more and recognise that it is part of the journey in your career and life.
My network in the early part of my career and my network now are worlds apart. Growing up, it was difficult to envision the opportunities available to me, let alone where my career would eventually take me. Organisations like AnitaB.org provide a forum for women of all levels to connect, inspire and support one another in their careers, helping to build the confidence to say ‘yes’ to new challenges and opportunities.
Five years ago, I attended my first Grace Hopper Celebration hosted by AnitaB.org and I can only describe my experience as surreal, being surrounded by more than 20,000 smart, talented and ambitious women. The number of experts who were there to connect, support and encourage one another was an experience I’ve not forgotten.
Creating these types of communities is a passion point for me. I am one of the founding members responsible for bringing the inaugural ‘Hopper Down Under’ to Australia this year. We all have lessons to learn from one another and it is important to create and seek out these types of communities to build our networks, foster a community of roles models, and inspire and support one another in our endeavours.”