Women ‘must play bigger role in technology sector’

MANAMA: Start-up accelerators, incubators and venture funds across the region are showing a preference for women-led start-ups in a bid to further encourage female participation in top leadership in the technology sector, according to an industry expert.

Statistics from authorities reveal that 47 per cent of information and communications technology (ICT) jobs are held by women and 45.5pc of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates are female, while only 17pc of private companies’ boards of directors have female participation.

During a webinar titled, ‘Girl code: closing the gender gap in tech,’ Raja Al Mazrouei, executive vice president at DIFC FinTech Hive remarked: “It comes down to a lack of awareness about opportunities. There are no legal or significant cultural barriers holding women back from participating in the sector.



“Whenever we have a new cohort, I look for women-led or co-founded start-ups. They are there but not as common as we would like.

“I have also found amongst the start-ups we bring on board, women are less likely than men to actively ask for connections.”

In Bahrain, out of the 33 founders leading start-ups currently in the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) sandbox, four are female, according to Yasmeen Al Sharaf, head of CBB’s fintech and innovation unit.

Ms Al Sharaf also cited a 2019 PwC ‘Women in Technology’ report which said that only 16pc of women have had a career in technology suggested to them compared to 33pc of men.

Ms Al Sharaf believes that stakeholders including government bodies, educational institutions and private companies must work together to overcome this imbalance.

Dalal Buhejji, director at the EDB, said that due to the fintech ecosystem being relatively young, diversity is likely to increase as more high-value exits, colloquially called unicorns, happen in the region.


Source: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/861573/Women-%E2%80%98must-play-bigger-role-in-technology-sector%E2%80%99


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