By Dr. Daiana Beitler, Philanthropies Lead, Microsoft Asia
It is not an uncommon sight in many technology companies across Asia Pacific – females are largely outnumbered by the proportion of men, though this of course is a general observation. This is not helped by the fact that according to the Asian Development Bank, women in the region are on average 70% less likely than men to be in the labor force.
While computer science continues to prove its importance across industries, women and girls remain significantly underrepresented in both educational settings and in the work force. This means a huge portion of the population is missing out on the critical computer skills to further their studies and career, and we also risk missing out on the next disruptive idea or innovation that could improve our world.
Not only is closing the gender gap on the national agenda for many governments across Asia Pacific, the industry including Microsoft have been driving programs such as Microsoft YouthSpark, TechFemme and DigiGirlz that empower women to step up in the S.T.E.M. fields as well as inspire them to pursue their passions.
On International Women’s Day, we want to put the spotlight on the leading ladies who have helped transform our world with technologies that we now find hard to live without. Their innovations and designs have more than shaped what defines a technology pioneer – they have become beacons for young girls all around the world to learn and draw inspiration from.
Here is a list of 10 fantastic inspiring females, who have been instrumental in bringing us some of the technology many of us may find it hard to live without today.
In order to close the gender gap across the world and in the Asia Pacific, we are committed to creating even more opportunities for women to innovate, create, and unlock the best opportunities for their future.
We are therefore excited to unveil our new patent program to empower young women to #MakeWhatsNext. Microsoft will partner with select young inventors, many of whom will be selected through our global Imagine Cup competition to help them secure a patent on their original invention or idea. Not only is this program unique to the industry, it empowers young women to realize their achievements and what’s possible in a future career.
For more inspirational stories of women in technology, visit www.makewhatsnext.com.