Last updated: 09 December 2022
Published on: 30 November 2022
7 MINS READ
By Jill Arul
From Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of Youtube, to Singapore-based Maya Hari, the CEO of Terrascope, women are rising through the ranks in the world of tech.
Women continue to play a significant role in advancing technology in Singapore, with the country being one of the top tech talent hubs in the world. With the high literacy rate among women in Singapore and the government’s commitment for an inclusive society, Singapore’s tech workforce comprises 41 per cent women, compared to 28 per cent globally. However, work is far from done and it remains crucial to support the growth and education of women to embark on careers in tech.
The Singapore Women in Tech Initiative, launched in 2019, has helped to make leaps forward in this space. The initiative drives inclusivity and diversity in tech, through working with various industry leaders and institutions to nurture and support talent. The movement also includes a Cross-Polytechnic Girls in Tech initiative, which provides a platform for young female students to pursue their interest in tech, and eventually a tech career.
The committee was launched in May 2022, following a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) Singapore Women in Tech and Singapore’s five polytechnics.
Made up of young women pursuing infocomm technology courses across the polytechnics, the Girls in Tech committee is dedicated to nurturing interests in tech and supporting potential careers in the industry. With the help of Singapore Women in Tech, the committee facilitates talks, workshops, competitions, and mentorship opportunities.
Find out why three passionate young women chose to join the committee and how they intend to harness the new opportunities available to them to kickstart successful careers in tech.
Going together to go far
“We are excited about this collaboration with SG Women in Tech and our industry partners. This boosts the commitment and conviction for more multi-faceted opportunities to nurture tech talent among young women. We look forward to more females and industry partners joining my team and I in this cause, to create greater vibrancy in the tech scene over the next decade and beyond”
President of the Girls in Tech committee
Sparking the flame
For several committee members, a deeper interest in tech was formed and nurtured while pursuing their studies. Syakira Bte Sulaiman, for example, was initially intrigued by the power of apps and mobile interfaces when working on a project in secondary school.
“After working on the project, I did some of my own research and discovered that I really like both the technical and design aspects of IT,” Syakira shared. “That’s when I chose to take up a diploma in information technology at Singapore Polytechnic.” Now in her second year, Syakira earned the opportunity to work with a renowned multi-national corporation as a software developer as part of an alternative programme. Despite facing new challenges, working with clients has cemented her passion for tech as she expands her tech capabilities to solve unique problems. Looking for a platform to share her interests with other young women, Syakira found a strong sense of community and kinship with the Girls in Tech committee.
On the other hand, another member, Shina Shih, initially struggled with coding and was not particularly interested in tech as she began her course. An aspiring entrepreneur, Shina enrolled in Nanyang Polytechnic’s Business and Financial Technology course, believing that it would give her a leg up when starting a business in the future.
“During my course, I learned more about business and technology,” she shared. “I started to really enjoy it and a spark was ignited as I learned more about coding. Being able to build a unique website will really help support my plans to start my own business.” However, since joining the committee, her interest in tech has transformed from a means to an entrepreneurial end to become a journey she enjoys with new friends by her side.
Similarly interested in coding, third-year Temasek Polytechnic student, Chua Yu Hui, was inspired by her brother and his passion for technology. At 18, she began watching YouTube videos to learn how to harness software and front-end development for websites and mobile applications. She later took up a Higher Nitec course in IT Applications Development where she learned how to code in several languages.
An avid hackathon participant, Yu Hui enjoys using her skills to solve problems and, spurred on by her time in the Girls in Tech committee, hopes to one day become an inspiration to young women looking to pursue their interests in the IT industry.
Fuelling the fire
From outreach to social media marketing, each young woman plays a unique role in the Girls in Tech committee. By working together, they hope to help young women overcome barriers they may face as they navigate the world of tech.
One common challenge young women tend to face is the common misconception that young women are not interested in technology.
“I think there’s a stereotype that technology is not something women want to pursue and so families might not introduce them to it or support their interests."
To combat these misconceptions, Yu Hui believes that organisations like the Girls in Tech committee can work with schools to develop tech programmes dedicated to young women to encourage them to find out more about the power of technology and possibly discover a new passion.
Interestingly, for some young women, the perceived gender disparity within the tech sector is what holds them back—contributing to a greater gap in the industry. Before deciding to pursue tech courses, both Syakira and Shina considered the possibility of embarking on a business course instead. Conscious of the potential gender disparity and aware that the tech industry is a male-dominated field, they were hesitant to jump in.
“I saw that the industry had more men than women and I was a little intimidated. But I told myself that I shouldn’t be hesitant because even though it may seem daunting, and that I should push myself out of my comfort zone to pursue my passions.”
Since joining the committee, the young women have found a community with which to share their interests, learn new tech skills and be inspired by talented women who have come before them. As Singapore’s tech sector continues to thrive, communities like the Girls in Tech committee will continue to work with government organisations like IMDA to encourage and support the growth of women in the space—from the first steps in their tech journeys as students to fruitful careers as confident professionals.
Do you know a young woman passionate about tech? Are you one yourself? Click here to find out more about the SG Women in Tech community and its partners!