Tech women in focus at CeBIT Australia

Women in Technology were a key feature of the first afternoon of CEBIT Australia 2017 with an insightful strategic panel session highlighting that while many areas of ICT face skills shortages the percentage of women in technology is still disproportionately low.

A panel of high profile female technology executives - from organisations including StartupAus (Topaz Conway), CISCO (Julie Canepa), Westpac (Anastasia Cammaroto), University of Technology Sydney (Dr Chrissy Burns), NBN Australia (Julia DIckinson), Inspiring Rare Birds (Jo Burston), and REST Industry Super (Sandra Coleman) - shared their learnings and discussed how to attract and retain more female technology professionals and foster female entrepreneurs.

The discussion covered:

  • The need for more female technology mentors to act as role models to excite and inspire young girls to pursue technology studies and careers
  • How to link STEM promotion and areas such as coding to the real world
  • Advocacy to support women within technology organisations
  • How to address gaps in employment when women have children
  • Promoting the importance of other skills like collaboration.

The NSW Government is supporting a number of female entrepreneurs at the NSW stand at CeBIT and in the StartUp Zone.

Dermaspec’s Natalie Gutenev, who has together with her husband developed a skin cancer detection camera for medical professionals, said: “It is obviously important to get the right education but also I think the right teacher can make a huge difference. My teachers inspired me to study mathematics. There are many incredible opportunities for women in technology. They can bring different strengths to the table and can succeed differently. Women by nature are striving to make things better and more beautiful, and that could work wonders in our technology sector.”

BoB founder Camilla Hasloch, who has developed a business operations platform and performance optimisation service for sole traders and small businesses, said: “Attracting more women into the development side is very important as they are able to communicate effectively which can assist in the validation of business solutions. Development technology skills can give women the opportunity to return to the workforce after having a child and also build a career around work life balance with family. For me, starting a technology business has felt like climbing Mount Everest — you nearly get to the top, plant your flag, take a deep breath and get sometimes get knocked back down to the bottom. Then you start climbing again. But I am learning and evolving as a person and i love the challenge.”

Spot Parking CEO Elizabeth Zealand, whose technology company helps cities manage parking and drivers find parking spots in real time, said: “Too often technology is seen as a support rather than a strategic partner to gain competitive advantage. The important thing is to understand the problem you are trying to solve and the effect on the customer rather than the technology in isolation. While we need to continue encouraging women's participation in STEM disciplines, there are also paths through law, management and change management that can contribute to innovative technology outcomes."

The NSW Government is the Official Partner for CeBIT Australia and, together with Jobs for NSW, is using the three day event to promote NSW as Australia's leading technology and startup business and investment location.

Follow the action live @BusinessNSW and @JobsforNSW on Twitter and use #CeBITAus