The first International Women’s Day was celebrated over a hundred years ago, on the 19th March 1911. On this day, millions of people marched and rallied to campaign for women’s rights and the day has been celebrated every year since.
International Women’s Day remains as important as ever to reflect on and push for gender equality, as well as shining a well-deserved spotlight on the women in our lives. Today is a day to recognise the achievements of women around the world.
This years International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity, which highlights that each person has different circumstances and that to reach an equal outcome, women need more resources and opportunities. The UN is also celebrating International Women’s Day with the theme DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality – a theme that is very close to home for us here at Moodle.
At Moodle, the concept of equity is one that reflects our core values, as we strive to help provide fair and equitable access to education for people of all genders. We are also committed to supporting women in the world of technology. The technology industry is male-dominated, with 75% of tech workers being men; there is still a long way to go towards equality. This International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to reflect on how equality in the technology industry could be achieved.
Championing women in the tech sector
Considering the number of men in the tech industry, it is easy to overlook how important women have continuously been to its development over the years. Even with additional barriers to working in the industry, women have championed the advancement of transformative technology and, with increasing importance, digital education.
Women, and other underrepresented groups, bring diverse skill sets and creative solutions to the technology industry. They also provide a greater potential for technological advancements that cater to women’s needs and in turn promote gender equality. In return for all of their contributions, women deserve to receive access and the necessary training to get fulfilling and well-paying jobs.
The lack of inclusion of women in the tech industry comes at a price. The United Nations Women’s Gender Snapshot 2022 report found that women’s exclusion from the digital world has shaved $1 trillion from the gross domestic product of low- and middle-income countries in the last ten years. This is predicted to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2025 if no action is taken.
While we are becoming increasingly aware of the inequalities women face in access to technology and digital skills, it is vital that they aren’t left behind as a result. Inclusive and transformative technology, as well as equitable digital education, are needed to create a sustainable future for the industry and, most importantly, for the lives of women globally.
Spotlighting women’s contributions
For women to thrive within the tech industry, they need to be uplifted and empowered by examples of women in positions of leadership and achieving great results. Present-day role models are particularly important to showcase all of the possibilities to women who are passionate about technology and it’s potential to make a difference.
We’d like to introduce you to some of our very own Moodle role models who are making daily contributions worth celebrating, while working towards equitable access to education.
Aya Saad is our PHP Developer/DevOps in the Moodle Community. Aya feels that there are less growth opportunities for women in the tech industry: “It is very rare to find a women as the head of a department or in a tech lead role in the industry. We often underestimate our own qualifications or aren’t encouraged to study computer science and related fields. It is not advertised to women as it should be.”
Aya’s advice to women interested in joining the industry is: “Never stop learning. Keep looking for new things to learn and skills to develop. I advise women to seek opportunities, even if they think they are underqualified or it’s out of their reach. I have underestimated my skills and second-guessed my qualifications when I shouldn’t have.”
Marie Achour is our Moodle Global Head of Product. For Marie, working in tech means: “There is always something new to learn, which promotes a growth mindset. You can choose the industry you want to work in and there is a world of opportunities. You don’t have to work for a technology company. You can explore roles in companies you believe in and want to contribute to, whatever industry they are in.”
Marie emphasises that: “You don’t need to be technical to work in technology! There are many adjunct roles that don’t require technical skills, such as product, marketing, support, and finance. You can gain all of the benefits of working in tech without having a technical background or working in a hands-on technical position.”
Teresa Watts, Senior UX Designer at MoodleCloud, believes that to support women in technology men and other women should: “Be aware of unconscious bias and look for opportunities to amplify the voices of people in underrepresented groups. Find ways to involve them in the conversation and ask them their opinion, and encourage more diverse panel speakers at events. Also embrace part-time schedules, flexibility and autonomy in the workplace to give more opportunities to a more diverse range of people.”
Technology and digital education can also help to improve gender equality and empowerment for women in this way. Teresa says: “Technology for working and learning remotely allows more people the flexibility to be able to do their job or receive an education alongside their other external responsibilities, which disproportionately tends to fall on women.”
Get involved in International Women’s Day 2023
This International Women’s Day take the time to think about and celebrate the important women who have positively impacted your life. Post your own #IWD2023 message on social media and join in the conversation on women in tech. By working together, we can help more women and girls to have the same freedom and opportunities to live the life they desire.