4 months ago - Nadhirah Afiqah

Unlocking Limitless Potential: Empowering the Next Generation of Women in Tech

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Unlocking Limitless Potential: Empowering the Next Generation of Women in Tech

By Amanda Alwy

ManpowerGroup Senior Vice President, IT & Analytics – North America


Step into any classroom where young girls are immersed in coding, and you'll immediately sense the vibrant energy of untapped potential. The sheer joy and creativity as they construct websites and design games from scratch are nothing short of inspiring. These brilliant young minds possess boundless talent, ready to dream up groundbreaking innovations if we nurture their passions early on. I still remember an exploratory course I took coding graphics (0’s & 1’s) on an Apple 2E in the 6th grade!

Tragically, many girls have experienced a gradual erosion of confidence due to outdated gender norms and subtle signals suggesting their skills aren't valued in technical fields. By the time they reach adulthood, these discouraging biases have often eroded their career aspirations, resulting in a loss of diverse ideas and perspectives for all of us.

But here's the good news: we're no longer accepting the status quo. Across the tech industry, a fervent conviction is sparking real action and investment to dismantle barriers for women. Flexible work arrangements, remote opportunities, mentoring programs – these innovations are swinging doors wide open. And the proof is in the new data from ManpowerGroup’s, “World of Work Outlook for Women in 2024” report:

  • 65% of employers acknowledge that technology has made them more flexible, paving the way for women's advancement.

  • 62% observe IT hiring pools becoming more gender-diverse, thanks to emerging recruiting methods.

While celebrating this hard-won progress is crucial, we must recognize that statistics about inclusion only take us so far. To truly unleash potential for generations to come, we must transform technology cultures from the inside out.

This requires a brave, honest introspection. Identifying and addressing lingering biases. Engaging in uncomfortable yet crucial conversations. Tirelessly challenging the status quo. It's about walking the walk of inclusive values, not just talking the talk. I’m grateful (and lucky) I’ve had incredible mentorship throughout my career from male and female executives, who were invested enough to both challenge and support me. They helped me grow and learn from the tough lessons and failures along the way. And they helped me build confidence and continue to pursue my leadership goals to become a Chief Information Officer (CIO), in a time when there weren’t many female technology executives to seek out for advice.

As a woman in tech leadership, I am personally committed to being a catalyst for change by:

  • Mentoring young women as they navigate STEM paths.

  • Sponsoring employee resource groups and programs to empower women.

  • Advocating for cultures of belonging (and watching out for unintended, yet outdated boys' clubs).

  • Speaking out against discrimination at every turn.

  • Ensuring diverse talent recruiting for technology positions

Together, we can construct a vibrant reality where girls' love for technology is continually nurtured, not dismantled. A reality where they pursue their passions unbounded by gender stereotypes, and their voices confidently resonate in decision-making rooms.

This International Women's Day, I extend an invitation to every leader to join me in accelerating equality through deliberate, daily choices:

  • Leverage technology solutions to implement flexibility and open doors for women.

  • Scrutinize cultures vigilantly and uproot any biases.

  • Visibly champion women through sponsorship, mentoring, and unwavering vocal support.

We stand at an exhilarating tipping point. The road ahead is still long and winding, but progress has unstoppable momentum. With purpose and innovation propelling us forward, there's no limit to how high we can elevate women and the technology world as a whole. So let's keep marching forward, empowering tomorrow's barrier-breakers with each step. Their futures have never looked brighter.