Roundtable on Women in Tech and Innovation
The inclusion of women in the labour force has been accompanied by a digital transformation of society and an increase in digital enterprises in the region. While it might appear that women in technology and innovation sector are slowly reaching into parity with men, the figures show that the tech sector is a difficult place to be a woman both as employee or to set up and run a business.
In the Euro-Med region, women tech entrepreneurs are facing problems in setting-up/running an ICT-based business, even though their level of education has increased. There are still many barriers and little support and adapted schemes to develop the necessary technological skills and facilitate their entrance into the sector on an equal footing as men. In addition, financial institutions do not grant as many loans to women as they do to men, as they consider the latter to have a better chance of success. According to OECD, women-run start-ups receive 23 per cent less money than male-run businesses. Women also face the problem of self-confidence. According to the International Literacy and Informatics Survey (2013), girls always outperformed boys, mostly by considerable margins, but the perception of their own abilities was more negative, which has been shown to have a significant impact on their career aspirations. For this reason, the role models of women leaders in technology businesses have become very important, as they can help shape perceptions of women’s chances of success. Likewise, women’s networks on digitalization and technology are also considered very important as they allow for creating a space for connection and for sharing ideas and experiences with other women.
The workshop will take place within the framework of the Digital Transformation Track of the Smart City Congress and its objective is to hold a close discussion and express different views on the role of women in the technology sector. It will address the following questions:
- What are the main challenges faced by women in the technology and innovation sector?
- What kind of policies and plans can policy makers and cities in the Mediterranean region put in place to increase women’s participation in the tech and innovation sector?
- How are small tech and innovation businesses run by women in Mediterranean Countries improving?
- How successful business models can be transferred from the North-South-North Mediterranean countries? What are the lessons learned from success and failure?
- How women entrepreneurs in the technology sector can improve access to finance?
Session 1: 20 November 2019 at 14:45 – 15:30
Fira Gran Via, Central Agora
Moderator: Emmanuelle Gardan, Union for the Mediterranean
- Laura Fernández Giménez, CEO and Co-Founder of AllWomen.tech (Spain)
- Enass Abo-Hamed, CEO at H2GO Power (Palestine)
- Dr Cara Antoine, Chief Marketing and Operations Officer at Microsoft, (The Netherlands)
Session 2: 21 November 2019 at 10:00 – 10:45
Fira Gran Via, City Possible Agora
Moderator: Ayumi Moore Aoki, Founder & CEO of Women in Tech
- Joana Barbany Freixa, General Director of Digital Society at the Generalitat of Catalunya (Spain)
- Yostina Boules, Founder and CEO at Taqa Solutions (Egypt)
- Maddie Callis, Urban Innovation | City Possible at Mastercard, (EEUU)