Girls in Tech, a global non-profit organization with the aim of putting an end to gender inequality in high-tech industries and startups, is helping to change cultural and workplace attitudes within the historically male-dominated tech field.
The organization, established in San Francisco in 2007, aims to empower women by inspiring them to innovate and use their own voices to build the futures they desire. With 60 chapters around the world, and more than 100,000 members in 36 countries, the group looks to utilize the power of community and technology to encourage networking, knowledge sharing and business partnerships among females within the tech space.
Ahead of her participation in the Women Leadership Panel – Becoming a Female Data Leader at DATAx Singapore this March, we speak with Lynette Pathy, advisory board member for the Singapore chapter of Girls in Tech, about the hurdles women entering tech face, how to ensure women are better represented within the industry, and what she believes makes Singapore stand out as a destination for startups.
DATAx: What are the biggest hurdles facing women looking to enter the data field, especially in Singapore and the wider Asian marketplace?
Lynette Pathy: One such challenge is the inclusion between females and males, as women tend not to be as forward as their male counterparts and are then often overlooked for career opportunities. "Imposter syndrome" is definitely another struggle women face more than men and they often lack the support of mentors or role models to help nurture them. Personally, I've felt that having mentors, both male and female, is crucial to success.
DATAx: Is enough being done to encourage women to enter the male-dominated tech space and what can you tell us about the work Girls in Tech has conducted to ensure women are better represented within the industry?
LP: While I think there is a lot more being done than before, I don't think we're quite there yet. Though numbers are increasing, the industry is still heavily male-dominated. With Girls in Tech, we're always looking for ways to help everyone feel empowered in STEM, through different types of workshops, talks, hackathons, mentoring and more, focusing mainly on young women who are looking to enter the tech space.
DATAx: What does leadership in the data world mean to you and what advice would you offer someone entering a data leadership role working within the Asian tech space?
LP: Leadership in the data world (and in any other world) is about having humility, compassion and integrity. All the best leaders that I know have all these traits and more. The advice I'd give is to be humble, know that you can learn from your team as much as you can learn from your peers and superiors.
DATAx: What are the biggest differences you've noticed about your industry's attitude towards AI today, compared to when you first entered the field?
LP: In the tech industry, change and adoption has been quite rapid. People in the tech industry are much more open to new technologies, with AI being something everyone is quickly adopting.
DATAx: In your opinion, what makes Singapore stand out as a location to establish and build up a tech startup?
LP: Singapore is a great location for tech, given the amount of support provided from the government and other associations to help support and nurture companies to be successful, compared to other countries. The growth in the number of startups and tech companies in Singapore should be testament to that.
DATAx: Can you tell us what the audience can expect to learn during your session at DATAx Singapore in March?
LP: During the Women Leadership Panel, we hope the audience can learn from our panelists on how to succeed as a woman data leader for women who are thinking about moving into or furthering their careers in data, as well as how men can play a crucial role in being allies and sponsors.