The announcement yesterday that former Proctor & Gamble online marketer – and CeBIT Australia 2012 speaker – Maile Carnegie will head up Google Australia is a great shot in the arm for women in ICT.
It is also a sign that Big Data is the future for online sales and digital marketing – but that’s another story, and one we’ll be discussing at length at CeBIT Australia’s Big Data conference on May 30, 2013.
The Google announcement ignited social media chatter around the gender diversity issue in ICT – and that’s a good thing. We congratulate Ms Carnegie, and would love to see many more women reaching for and achieving these top roles.
At CeBIT Australia 2013, we believe that the ICT industry must start to think along the same lines as Warren Buffet, whose recent Fortune Magazine essay questioned why business was not doing more to harness the brainpower of women. Businesses which aren’t thinking long and hard about gender diversity are effectively 50% of the talent pool.
“We are very fortunate in this country to have such powerful, talented women in our industry – women like Pip Marlowe at Microsoft, Inese Kingsmill at Telstra, and now Maile Carnegie at Google. It’s great to see,” says Jackie Taranto, managing director of Hannover Fairs Australia.
“Surely it is obvious? The more women in the industry, the better. And hopefully more young women coming up through University will look to the tech sector for a career,” she says.
The gender diversity issue will be widely discussed at CeBIT Australia 2013’s StartUp Conference on May 29, where a session on “Why we need more women Entrepreneurs” will be moderated by Melissa Widner, general partner, SeaPoint Ventures, and the Founder of Heads Over Heels. Panellists will also include: Senator Kate Lundy, Minister Assisting for Industry & Innovation; Whitney Komor, founder of The Best Day; and Katrin Suess, co-founder of Vimily. Details here
Peter Acheson, CEO of Peoplebank, was interviewed by Jennifer Foreshew in The Australian on May 8 and called for quotas to be introduced in ICT to bring more women into key roles.
He told The Australian: “According to the Australian Computer Society, between February 2011 and February 2012 the number of women in ICT occupations dropped from 131,059 (24.1 per cent of the total ICT workforce) to 91,400 (19.7 per cent).
“The industry needs to do a lot to rebuild the IT brand. It is not seen as a fashionable thing to do and within the female cohort in schools they all get that message,” Mr Acheson told The Australian. Read the full report here
A recent article on smh.com.au by Sandy Plunkett, who is also appearing at CeBIT Australia 2013’s StartUp conference on May 29 with Dr Jana Matthews of ANZ Innovyz Start, discussed the fact that it is generally men who “raise the issue of female scarcity in the sector as if they have scoured Australia from coast to coast and are exhausted by their pioneering”. Read the full report here.
Ms Plunkett’s article canvassed some excellent ideas, and concluded that she wanted to see more conferences and industry forums debate the issue.
Well, CeBIT Australia 2013 aims to fill that gap!