On March 8 every year, International Women’s Day is celebrated all around the world to recognize the contributions and achievements of women across various communities while calling for greater equality. This year, the theme “Make It Happen” aims to encourage effective action for advancing and recognizing women. In conjunction with this occasion, Microsoft Asia Pacific will be featuring female leaders from around the region, sharing their inspirations as well as words of advice for women hoping to #MakeItHappen in the technology industry and beyond.
Director of Developer Experience & Platform Evangelism (DX) Group, Microsoft Thailand
In her current role, Siriporn Pajharawat manages a team of technical evangelists and audience marketers who run and drive activities to strengthen Thailand’s local software and digital economy. Prior to leading the DX team, she was the senior business planning manager in the Business Management & Operation Group at Microsoft Thailand, and was previously involved in setting up the operations and sales as well as the support system of Microsoft Press. Pajharawat also has a successful track record in Microsoft Learning (MSL), a training and skills development division at Microsoft where she played a key role in the setup of new business operations for MSL in India and the sub-continent.
What empowers you to Make It Happen at work and at home?
Positive attitude is the source of empowerment that drives everything I do in life. The attitude I have, tells me ‘everything is possible’, that ‘I can do it’, that ‘people are essentially good and kind, and are willing to help others if asked’.
I believe that doing things with good intention is bound to bring good impact and positive results. And if you put your heart and mind to anything, you are bound to ‘Make It Happen’ in your life. Of course, you would have to have self-confidence as well. In order to take action, you would have to have a positive attitude toward your own capabilities and thus, the confidence.
Who are the women who inspire you the most, and why?
This may sound simplistic but it is true. In the early years of my life, my mother was a single mom who singlehandedly worked hard to provide for her children, with special emphasis on education. She had faith in us, and showed us the way. That shaped the essence of who I am today.
The other ‘woman’ who inspired me was Scout Finch. She is a character in the novel, “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee.
In the beginning, Scout is an unusually intelligent, confident, and thoughtful five-year-old girl. She is an innocent, good hearted, tom-boyish girl who learned about racial prejudice at a young age. But through her father, Atticus, she also learnt that humanity has a great capacity for good, and evil can be mitigated if approached with an outlook of sympathy and understanding. This book and this character, framed my attitude toward living and working, and inspired me to have better social understanding, and how to deal with people and situations. This understanding has helped me through my career as well as personal life.
What does International Women’s day mean to you?
It means that internationally, it’s recognized that women are not treated equal, and that a great number of women lack the confidence to take on careers that have been male-dominated. It also means that, women and men around the world see the potential, and want to create the awareness to encourage all of us around the world to be confident, and to know that nothing should stand between our ambition and our desire to excel in any field of work or profession.
Why do you think it’s important to involve more women in the tech industry?
First, we don’t have enough manpower in the tech industry. Therefore, we need as many people to enter the tech industry as possible. Secondly, technology infiltrates all human aspects, and female related solutions require female input. Thirdly, women essentially bring unique values, perspectives, and more importantly, skills into tech jobs.
What advice would you give to girls who are thinking about working in the technology field
Contrary to general belief, people who work in the technical field do not need to graduate from STEM fields. The advice I’d give to girls is that, there is always room for you to work in the technology field regardless of your area of study. Technology encompasses all aspects of humanity. In addition, technology can be learnt and tech skills can be acquired over a relatively short period of time through training courses or self-learning. For example, there is a nursing graduate currently working at Microsoft Thailand.
Where do you see the most progress currently being made for women in technology?
Many tech firms, such as Microsoft and its subsidiaries worldwide, are taking this topic very seriously. Conscious efforts are made at Microsoft to foster greater diversity and inclusion, and this includes female representation across all levels, roles and functions within the company. It is encouraging to see how companies such as Microsoft and the industry as a whole benchmarks itself regularly to ensure that the commitment for diversity and inclusion is upheld. Even in college recruitment, as well as internship programs, female representation and share in enrollment is monitored. Such focus and conscious effort by corporations are good progress I’m happy to see and be part of.
At Microsoft, we strive to create an environment that helps us capitalize on the diversity of our people and the inclusion of ideas and solutions to meet the needs of our global and diverse customer base.
Find out more about our global diversity and inclusion programs here.
Read more about the experiences and inspirations from these female leaders in Microsoft Asia Pacific:
- Pip Marlow – Managing Director, Microsoft Australia
- Serena Cheung – Director of Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners Group (SMS&P), Microsoft Hong Kong
- Mira Fitria Soetjipto – Human Resource Director, Microsoft Indonesia
- Sunny J. Park – Legal and Corporate Affairs Director, Microsoft Korea
- Rukmani Subramanian – Chief Marketing & Operations Officer, Microsoft Malaysia
- Jan Ferguson – Director of Customer & Partner Experience, Microsoft New Zealand
- Karrie C. Ilagan – Country General Manager, Microsoft Philippines