Event: Booking.com Tech Playmakers Awards

Place: London 

Article by the amazingly talented Liz Ifauroti

March is synonymous with the end of winter, the beginning of the spring bloom but also with womanhood, especially this year!  What a celebration of female achievement in every sphere!

There was the Forbes Leading Women Summit, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards, the Catalyst Awards, and countless others. If only we can be in multiple places at a time…sigh. So, until a woman cracks the omnipresence formula , I celebrated March by savouring this inspiring article on ‘Female Pioneers in Science and Tech’ and attending the Booking.com Tech playmaker awards.

It was a beautiful evening filled with women (and men) from different walks of life. A heartwarming oration of remarkable stories of women from across the globe who, despite a myriad of obstacles, succeeded in harnessing technology to solve a problem, overcome a challenge, create beauty and help others.

Unfortunately irrespective of these events and achievements, the World Economic Forum predicts that it will take another 100 years to achieve gender parity.

A rather gloomy prediction but we shall take it in stride. As every little helps, here are tidbits from great Tech playmakers that could help you and the women you share this article with, have an outstanding career.

Hadeel is the founder of BrightSign, a company whose goal is ‘to develop multiple wearable technology solutions for the sole purpose of liberating millions of signers from the accompanying interpreter, enabling them to have two-way conversations and interact directly with the public’

Hadeel says, “Encourage and motivate women around you, don’t be a part of the problem.”

Keisha  uses A.I to provide real-time data access to restaurant operators and also teaches machine learning to University students.

Kesha says, “Believe you can do it even where there are no role models.”

Jeannette noticed the tech field was male-dominated in South Africa and decided to do something to level the gender gap.  She co-founded an NGO focused on female only hackathons and workshops.  The NGO will extend its reach to younger girls this year.

Jeanette says, “Don’t let your circumstances decide for you.”

Sophie studied design and is passionate about Ecology.  Alglae is her brainchild; an innovative aesthetic solution that makes plants glow

Sophie says, “N’aie pas peur allez-y !!!   ”

Martha while studying computer engineering and was dismayed at the low numbers of women in her class. She created Women in Tech to help tilt the balance in favour of women in the technology workforce in Nigeria.

Martha says, “Choose a partner that understands, motivates and supports you.”

Jill Rodriguez, saddened by the death of a young child in an Earthquake that destroyed a school in Mexico, was spurred into going back to school and learning to code at 30.

Jill says, “Be honest, never give up and stay strong. Don’t believe people who say you can’t do it.

Ilona wants to improve your technical skills. She has created a free MOOC targeted at women. Join both the ‘Summer of code and Winter of data’ workouts to keep your tech skills updated throughout the year.

Avey is 11.  She started coding at the age of 7.  She organises workshops to get more girls into coding. (Check her out here http://10tonolimit.com/portfolio/)

Now, I have saved the best for last ☺

These golden nuggets come from Eileen Burbidge. Fintech veteran and self-described ‘Techoholic’

Eileen says:

  • Do not fiddle with your hair or jewellery in meetings.
  • Do not apologize, go straight to the point.
  • Do not put disclaimers or caveat yourself. Be assertive.
  • Do not be afraid to use your elbows, own your ideas and reach out for what is yours (think of summer sales at your favorite store)
  • Do not seek the most comfortable path, always challenge yourself.
  • Do not try to win every battle, the journey is a long one, improve yourself and enjoy it.
  • Do not ignore your conscience.
  • Do not justify your presence; you are where you are because you deserve it.

Special thanks go to Anisha Shah for the warm welcome extended to Girls in Tech Paris.

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform”

–    Diane Mariechild

Happy Women’s Month !!

Catherine Sarah Audrey