23 November 2020

Bridging the gap between women and tech

Heba Zaghloul, Enterprise Resourcing Planning Lead at Isobar Switzerland, interviews Priska Burkard, Co-managing Director Girls in Tech Switzerland, on UN SDG Goal 5 – achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

As a woman working in IT, I often find myself making detours in my thought process of evaluating my surroundings. I count the speakers at the conferences I am attending, the participants in my meetings, and the leadership team of the companies I am working with. Time and again, I am confronted with the fact that I am working in a field filled with men and peppered with the occasional woman.

The UN has identified, among 17 Sustainable Development Goals to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, the goal of achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls.

When I heard from a colleague about Girls in Tech Switzerland, a non-profit with the objective of eliminating the gender gap in tech, I knew they would have some of the answers I was looking for. I invited Priska Burkard, their Co-managing Director, to an interview about the diversity (or lack thereof) in the tech field in Switzerland, what companies are doing to tip the scale, and the outlook in a post-pandemic world.

 

According to Priska, there are two main barriers for women entering the field. The first is having a solid network of professionals, or role models to look up to. This is at the heart of what Girls in Tech Switzerland rectifies through their conferences and events. The other aspect is the outdated view of women’s role as well as the social structure that inhibits women’s careers.

 

For the women who do manage to enter the field, maintaining and growing their career is just as hard. While men are hired and promoted based on the potential they exhibit, women are judged based on their past achievements. Therefore, women need to work harder to prove their ability.

 

However, the outlook for the future is not as bleak. Companies are, now more than ever, motivated to increase their diversity. They are also becoming more effective at attaining that goal. Where in the past companies used to have a single person responsible for their diversity and inclusion, they are now striving to incorporate it as a company culture across all teams.

 

Among the many lessons learnt and new perspectives gained from the pandemic that shook 2020, an important one for Priska was that it highlighted the disproportionate workload women carry. Careers are not sustainable unless businesses are willing to create an environment in which all people can thrive, regardless of their gender. We need to showcase careers and companies that are inclusive to women as an example of what they can achieve and the importance of this inclusion. In Priska’s words: “The consumer of technology is everyone. Which means we need to build with everyone the products and services we provide for everyone.”

 

In an era of conscious consumerism and sustainable businesses, of #blacklivesmatter and #metoo, are we demanding and enabling our companies to do better? How can our work positively impact our community? These are some of the questions we ask as part of Isobar Good and bring to our projects and day to day activities.

 

Would you like to know more about how Isobar Good can help you integrate social impact into your brand and business? Contact Heba Zaghloul.

 

Our experts are also available for a free hour of consultation, here.

 

About Isobar Good:

 

Isobar Good is a purpose-led initiative that uses Isobar’s skills, expertise, and methodology to drive measurable social impact for brands, businesses, and not-for-profit organisations (NFPs). Our blog series is an opportunity for our employees to share their opinion, views and knowledge about how digital and technology can contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

 

About the author:

Heba Zaghloul is an Egyptian expat on a Swiss adventure. After completing her studies in Computer Science, she has been working in IT helping clients make their software projects a reality. She joined Isobar Switzerland in 2018. She enjoys travelling when there isn't the threat of a pandemic, and hibernating with her family when there is.

 

Connect with Heba on LinkedIn

 

About the interviewee:

Priska has worked over 15 years in the finance industry, where she led national and international IT projects for major banks with great success.  As Co-Founder of TechFace, Priska uses her experience, knowledge and passion to support women pursuing a purposeful career in tech and connect them to companies committed to diversity and inclusion. She helped to build up Girls in Tech Switzerland, a global non-profit organization with the goal to attract and retain women in tech. She understands and experienced the hardship and strength needed as women in tech and wants to support the next generation reaching their dreams and career goals.

Connect with Priska on LinkedIn