Women Need Technology and Technology Needs More Women
My name is Nino and I’m from Georgia. I’m a tech enthusiast and a community builder. I lecture students at ISET school of economics and manage the Innovations Support Fund, a local non-profit organization, founded by me and my friends to promote innovative thinking and tech-enabled transformation.
I lead the Google Developers Group in Georgia. I am also the ambassador of Women Techmakers, a local chapter of Google’s initiative that aims at empowering women and girls by supporting their participation, educational and career development in the field of technologies.
I believe that in Georgia we are currently spearheading a generational breakthrough: a tech-revolution that, I believe, has the potential to bring more inclusion and equality than any other industry before.
I was inclined to make a career in a humanist field, so my first study was in social science. A lucky encounter of work at the Ministry of Economy of Georgia opened the world of technology for me. That’s when I realized that technology and social issues are not only closely intertwined, but also that it’s precisely the technology that may become the driving force behind the social change today.
The thing I noticed immediately was a gender gap in tech and science. In Georgia, as also happens globally, women and girls are often left behind the sidelines of STEM fields. While girls score equally as well as boys on Georgian exams in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects, women receive less support, are consistently less confident, and ultimately makeup only as high as 12 percent of the workforce, especially in the fields of information and communications technology. At the same time, STEM employers are finding it difficult to recruit enough skilled employees.
Women need technology because today the industry is the most promising, global, fastest developing market for the best paid, creative and interesting jobs. There are brand new professions emerging within the industry and the most magical and extraordinary thing about it is that we can create these jobs and perform them ourselves. Technology gives everyone, but women in particular, a chance to break free from stereotypes, create something completely new and, at the same time, have a good income. Multiple studies, including the Intel’s research, show that diversity at the workplace can bring increased productivity and faster innovation to the tech sector.
That’s why I began to train and encourage my peers, women in particular, to join the tech-revolution. As a Women Techmakers leader, I help to organize annual coding camps, tech meetups and educational programs for Georgian youth, promoting diversity in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
In Georgia, inequalities are deep-rooted in the economic, social and political environment. The wage gap is at 35.7 percent, while the employment gap is at 12.6 percent. Every fifth employed woman in Georgia falls victim to sexual harassment at workplace. There is a striking dissonance between the level of education and employment of women: although more Georgian women than men are getting university education and post-graduate degrees, almost half of women with intermediate education and more than a fourth with an advanced education level do not participate in paid work. These numbers show that a huge social capital and intellectual potential is being lost, preventing Georgian women from fully contributing to the economic and social development of the country.
We see technologies entering into every single aspect of our lives. The impact of this process is incredible and right now, as we speak, a whole new era is unfolding across the world. What I want for myself and for my generation is to become creators of this new reality, to populate this space and to explore all opportunities that it brings.
I am honored to work every day to make sure this happens, and I hope more people will join this adventure.