23 June 2023 - PlusOne winner at WiT23
What do you mean by a Women in Technology conference, contrary to folklore, it is not a bunch of women standing around a pyre making sacrifices of goats and men… We have come a long way from when I first inducted myself into the word of Technology at the tender age of 8 - the only girl in an afterschool Computer Programming class; however that being said we are still at 26% representation of Women in the technical workforce as of January 2023. Clearly, we have a long way to go and attending the WiT23 conference in Manchester was just the avenue that us aspiring females in the technical workforce need. It gave me that additional vote of confidence, in our ability and aspiration of being pioneers in the field of Technology not ‘despite’ but ‘because’ we are ‘WOMEN’.
Prior to attending the conference, the title itself set my ears ringing, as I have always wanted to be involved in the business of encouraging more females to join the technical workforce. We are just as capable if not more than our counterparts at being able to get the ‘Job Done’. Even today, only 27% of female students would consider a career in technology, out of which only a staggering 3% would pick it as their first choice. I wanted to find out more about these statistics and the conference posed as the perfect opportunity to pick the minds of existing leaders in the field to be able to shed some light on their own journeys as well. The morning of the conference, as I registered myself, I was welcomed by a sea of sharp and wonderful women who have already been in the world of technology for much longer. Being ushered into such a warm and inclusive environment, was just the beginning of a wonderful day at the conference. Seeing so many wonderful ladies all gathered together, promoting one another, supporting each other and inspiring each other to be a part of something bigger, was the most enriching experience of the event in my opinion. The conference gave me the platform to hear and learn about the unconventional and conventional paths that our current leaders may have taken into the world of Technology. One thing was ample clear though, no matter where you come from, technology has space for all of us, all it requires is the ability to learn, evolve, and adapt with the pace at which technology keeps transforming. Talks that were a part of the event were all by strong females in the technical workforce, telling us about their origin stories, their chartered course of life and what it felt like being in the space. Across many industries the gender gap in the workforce is prevalent, and the conference was an opening for us to join forces and revolutionise the space and inch our future generations further to close the gap between the genders.
Although I was a first time attendee of the event, I can confidently say that I would love to attend all the subsequent events as well, and also be as involved as possible in the mentoring and networking opportunities that are available to us as a part of being a member of UCISA. One of the biggest takeaways for me from the conference was to realise that we don’t have to pick between having a career in technology and having a family – we can do both and we can thrive. I learnt that us being women, we possess the ability to be more resilient, more focussed and more dedicated in the technical workforce. Finally, as the conference came to a close, I can proudly say that I am a wholesome, talented and ambitious WOMAN in Technology, ready to conquer the world.
Saniya Puri, University of the Arts London