Women levelling the playing field in tech

June 04, 2022 | 15:38
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In a traditionally tough field that is often dominated by men, women are building unique advantages in technology, with job opportunities opening up.
Women levelling the playing field in tech
Groups like D.lion are only interested in top talent, regardless of gender, Photo: FOTA

Nguyen Huyen My is currently a well-known name in Vietnam’s young technology community, holding important positions at various tech groups. My has been involved in the founding and running of SheCodes Vietnam since 2019, promoting activities to inspire confident women in the tech sector.

SheCodes has attracted more than 10,000 female members to participate in programming classes, hackathons, and also orientation events. The programme also contributes to inspiring and motivating women to persevere in pursuing careers in technology to close the gender gap.

In 2019, My co-founded Resident.vn, a real estate and digital resident management platform, and now Moliv – a technology butler platform. “The value that technology brings in supporting disadvantaged groups makes me feel happier in my life. It is also the reason why I want to stay in the technology industry, to continue to add value,” My said.

Southeast Asia leads the way in the number of women entering the tech sector, accounting for 32 per cent of the workforce, compared with the global average of 28 per cent, according to research by Boston Consulting Group and Infocomm Media Development Authority. Thailand has the highest percentage of women working in the technology sector with 42 per cent, while Singapore ranks second among countries in Southeast Asia with around 41 per cent.

A report from GFT, a global technology solution provider, says technology is dominating other industries in offering a variety of programmes specifically designed to recruit, reward, and promote women. This has attracted even women without a tech education who are eager to enter the booming field.

In Vietnam, although exact statistics have not been found yet, the number of female human resources in Vietnam has also increased sharply in recent years because science and technology is one of eight fields in the national targets on gender equality. Women are also being encouraged to participate in many other positions in technology companies such as testing, sales, marketing, and human resources, besides purely technical roles like developer.

Gender diversity is also a factor that technology companies in Vietnam are interested in helping them create good, safe, and suitable products for the majority of users.

Jennie Hoang Phuong, CEO of blockchain game developer D.lion said, “In the IT world, there will be no defined genders. Only the elite brains and resilient hearts will host the 4.0 world, because we have enough passion for our career, and are full of energy for every challenge. Our multitasking skills will let us lead the next generation, where IT will need a global vision to operate.”

In addition to these advancements, there are still social and cultural beliefs that influence the role of women in the technology sector. How to break down barriers and empower women in a comprehensive way is also a challenge for many businesses operating in the technology field in Vietnam today.

Sophie Nguyen, human resources manager of GFT Vietnam, said the proportion of women at GFT globally is about 25 per cent, while at GFT Vietnam only about 15 per cent. In order to achieve the goal of increasing the proportion of women to 30 per cent, GFT Vietnam has implemented many programmes to encourage females to apply for jobs, while also carrying out corporate responsibility activities to increase the percentage of female employees.

“The stereotype that women won’t study tech because it’s a very rough industry can also be traced back to a gender-biased career orientation in the family. We have sought to change that by holding career counselling sessions in middle and high schools to help female students understand the specific job of the future as well as the attractive factors of joining this industry,” Nguyen said.

In addition, GFT also regularly reviews the difference between the salaries of female and male employees. “Thus, we find the causes and remove barriers related to gender stereotypes (if any), creating opportunities and increasing equal income between the sexes in the technology industry,” she added.

Software company VietSoftware International is also expanding recruiting for many positions, increasing career opportunities and offering policies and benefits exclusively for female employees. A representative said that female employees always have many career positions suitable to their capacity, and are given equal development opportunities.

My of SheCodes admitted that the path she chose was not smooth. “I hope tech companies will have specific policies to build a culture of respect, eliminate prejudice, and create opportunities for female employees to have equal access to jobs.”

By Thai An

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