Our current data decade presents new opportunities for women

If 2020 was the year of huge disruption and emergency planning, 2021 is shaping up to be the year when we continue to solidify our strategic plans as organizations, working groups, and also as business individuals. In doing so, the objective is to create a more resilient, sustainable and safe environment in which to conduct our professional affairs. Technology has provided a crucial solution to the problem of the sudden, massive turn to remote working, and restrictions on movement have accelerated existing trends in team management, collaboration and communication.

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From a woman’s standpoint, this landscape of swift change has had profound implications for our ability to balance different obligations and relationships. It has also affected our ability to navigate through a difficult period of adjustments in the working environment which have affected, and continue to affect, family life at home. Additionally, for a woman working in the tech industry, this period will greatly influence the outcomes of the near future, primarily because timeframes have been shrunk dramatically and deadlines pushed nearer, demanding more work and a higher level of commitment. Prior to all this turmoil, we used to think that 2030 would be the year when we would see the completion of our long-term goals in various domains, but now we can say that 2025 will be the new 2030.

Accelerating our plans towards a more inclusive and sustainable tech industry requires the involvement of more women, if only to attract more passionate and highly educated individuals to the tech arena. At the same time, technology can facilitate the process of organizing better internships, better mentorship programs and welcoming more young people into the industry. It can open up new opportunities to have more employment choices, with more flexible terms, that allow young women to pursue a career without having to sacrifice their dreams of having a family. Furthermore, technology can offer new avenues for education and training so that women can switch careers later in their professional journey, thereby reducing the risk of prolonged unemployment due to the disruption caused by the pandemic.

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Emerging technologies like AI can help us to overcome blind spots and biases. They offer a clearer picture, unburdened by irrational preconceptions that can prove to be damaging to professional and interpersonal relationships between people of different genders, or different social, ethnic or religious backgrounds. Communication tools can bring people together, bridging physical distances, but also distances in mentality and approaches to life. By creating algorithms that govern our systems in a more transparent, fair and sustainable way, we can begin building more diverse and inclusive business communities. These business communities can then extend outwards to our living communities, through our relationships with our business partners and clients, but also all the members of our societies who are affected by the innovation provided by our technological achievements.

Social media play a pivotal role in creating and sustaining communities that promote these ideas and function as incubators not only of thought leadership and the examination and expression of new directions, but also as spaces for positive reinforcement and the sharing of good practices that create a new corporate culture. Initiatives like our Women in Tech LinkedIn Group are indicative of such efforts. Our group is open to all women and men and welcomes every positive, civil and constructive contribution, commentary, feedback and suggestion for further extending our reach in order to engage with even more professionals and create even more opportunities for dialogue and communication.

The changing working environment involves not only the introduction of new technologies, but also new ethics and a newly discovered respect and appreciation for each other’s unique identities, qualities, sensitivities and needs. It requires a brave and responsible stance against injustice in the workplace, and the shedding of old and misplaced stereotypical approaches. However, it also calls for empathy and care for the feelings and mental state of others, since frequently, we rush to judgment and do not give others the benefit of the doubt, unfortunately. Social media can become echo chambers preventing us from seeing the other side and can also create mobs that can ruin people’s lives for petty reasons. Technology can do little about this; it is up to us to take decisions and to create a fair and understanding environment for dialogue and mutual understanding.

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Despite the hardships and difficulties of the past few months, we are still here, still growing and moving forward. Our Dell Technologies CEE Women In Technology LinkedIn Group, which began as a humble experiment, now comprises over 1,000 members and shows no sign of slowing down! Everyday, new members enrich our roster of professionals and executives who want to learn about new developments in how digital technology helps women to be more involved, how we make progress in creating more diverse and inclusive communities and how we can overcome stereotypes and prejudice and move towards a future of gender and racial harmony. By all means, do join us today and increase both our reach and the power of the voices within our community!

About the Author: Georgina Makri