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Women in Technology

empowering career down the tech path. She++ co-founder Ellora Israni believes “a major reason we have so few female engineers is the lack of concrete role models – that is, the lack of individuals whom we can point to and say, ‘Look, if you pursue technology, you could be her someday.’ She++ is a unique opportunity to learn from the stories of those surrounding us. So much of the publicity surrounding technology is, understandably, technical, but the stories of women in technology are as inspirational as their accomplishments.”

career when they are allowed to affect a social issue.” Within the cleantech sector there is thought to be considerable scope for meaningful female engagement, despite it still being primarily male-dominated. As a blend of technology, engineering, social sciences and humanities, the research has observed that cleantech may attract more women due to the emphasis on the higher purpose of creating sustainable environments now and for future generations.

Female Perspective

Despite these effective initiatives taken by the women at the industry’s forefront, the question still remains: Is the industry femalefriendly? From an Irish perspective the answer seems to be a steadily progressive ‘yes’. Intel’s first Irish female VP, Ann Kelleher, joined the company in 1996 as a process engineer and now oversees seven Intel plants in Ireland, the US, China and Israel, which employ over 13,000 people. Having been one of only five girls in her college class of 55 students and having become the first ever woman to receive a Ph.D. from the National Microelectronics Research Centre (NMRC), Kelleher, perhaps better than most, understands the minority stake women can have. “The key is realizing that the roadblocks may not be real and helping women to realize that opportunities are available for everyone,” she said in an interview with Silicon Republic. Una Fox, Disney’s vice-president for Technology has been pioneering a number of

The growing need for a more gender balanced industry also springs from the obvious benefits of dual perspectives. A female perspective is as crucial as any when it comes to building products with female design in mind. Not every product made by men is targeted at the male market and having this feminine edge can have a direct impact on success. The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology recently published a report which revealed that having a diversity of gender and ethnicity in the workplace promotes innovation and apparently goes a long way towards strengthening decision making. One area where it’s thought that women may soon make a particularly significant impact is in the rapidly growing green/clean technology sector. Indeed, the US National Science Foundation concluded in a study that “women are more likely to stay in a technology

Taking Leadership

enterprise IT strategies that are keeping the likes of Disney in the race to identity and pioneer major technology trends. Fox is no stranger to leadership, with a background of positions with Yahoo, KPMG and BearingPoint to her credit. She was also recently appointed by the ITLG to lead its recently established ‘Women in Leadership’ group. Microsoft’s Claire Lee is also forging pathways for those coming behind. She was a member of the team behind the BizSpark programme which saw the formation of over 45,000 startups across 110 countries, and currently leads industry partnerships for Microsoft’s Emerging Business Team. Intel’s new Women in Technology initiative is also laying the groundwork for recognizing and encouraging young women’s potential and interest in the industry. As a scholarship programme it seeks to encourage a whole new generation of ambitious women to rise to the challenge of a career in science and technology by choosing the subjects at third level. “Women are under-represented in the technology workplace and this programme creates an important opportunity for us to encourage more young females to pursue careers in science and technology,” says Intel Ireland’s General Manager Eamonn Sinnott. With role models and initiatives like these, it’s clearly more a question of time rather than ability when it comes to women choosing tech. Time and the concerted efforts of today’s women leaders will allow tech to become an option as viable as any other in the minds of the next generation of young career-driven women. Silicon Valley Global | 71

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