03 Aug 2023

Women in Tech at IFA 2023, a focus on DEI

IFA 2023’s Women in Tech programme addresses Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the tech industry

Steady progress has been made towards DEI in the tech sector and the number of women employed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields has grown greatly from an 8% minority in 1970 to 28% of all STEM employees by 2019 according to the U.S. Census. Despite advancement towards more inclusive and diverse workplaces, there is still a considerable gender gap in tech-related fields and a number of challenges around diversity, equity and inclusion remain.

This year’s Women in Tech programme at IFA will take a look at the issues and hot topics surrounding DEI in tech. Here are a few highlights from the day-long series of speaker presentations featuring industry and DEI opinion leaders and panel discussions that will take place on the 3rd of September.

Navigating potential bias

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI), the metaverse and other emerging technologies has raised concerns about bias and its impact on DEI, particularly for underrepresented groups. During the session “Bias in the digital age: Navigating the impact emerging technologies” speaker Gunay Kazimzade, senior consultant at management consulting firm Mercedes-Benz Consulting will examine how the emergence of AI and other technologies can contribute to bias, how this may perpetuate systemic inequalities and the measures organisations and tech developers can take to mitigate bias with these technologies.

DEI as a strategic advantage

The “From inclusion to innovation: The strategic value of DEI in a changing business landscape” session will host a panel discussion that will take a look at the benefits for companies of investing in DEI, a strategy that pays off by building trust, employee loyalty and productivity. 

Notably, the panel will discuss how embracing diversity, equity and inclusion can contribute to a strategic and competitive advantage and the practical actions and strategies organisations are deploying to create inclusive workplaces. Moreover, the session will look at the tangible benefits of investing in DEI initiatives for organisations and how they can effectively integrate these principles in their business strategies to drive innovation, attract and retain top talent, and enhance overall performance.

Women in techAddressing DEI at IFA 2023 | Credit: UnsplashBarriers and breakthroughs

Diversity in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) presents some unique challenges. Surveys indicate that female students show less interest in tech careers compared to males while pathways into the tech industry beyond traditional higher education are still limited. Stereotypes and biases can also create barriers, resulting in a lack of opportunities, unequal treatment and unconscious exclusion. What is more, the lack of diverse role models and mentors can hinder the aspirations and confidence of underrepresented individuals pursuing STEM careers.

Speakers Rumina Ali, employability lead at The Prince’s Trust, a charity that helps young people get into jobs, education and training, and Charlene Hunter, CEO and founder of Coding Black Females, the largest community of black women in tech in the UK, will lead the  “Barriers and breakthroughs to advancing diversity” session. They will discuss the barriers in STEM education and careers, and the necessary steps the education system, companies and mentors can take to open the tech sector to under-represented groups. 

A wealth of DEI topics

But that is not all. A wealth of additional DEI topics will be covered during the Women in Tech programme,incluging the career paths of women in tech, how technology can be leveraged to drive DEI, the empowerment of diverse entrepreneurs, creating a safe and inclusive culture, C-suite perspectives on driving inclusion and diversity and DEI in companies’ recruitment efforts.

Apart from these sessions, the programme will begin with a networking breakfast, specifically for women in tech and their allies.

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