Women in Tech, the world’s foremost organization for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in STEAM, with a mission to empower 5 million women by 2030, recently launched its Sri Lanka Chapter together with an insightful panel discussion under the theme ‘Learners to Leaders – Women’s Journey in Tech’ on Tuesday, 21 November 2023.
Held at Monsoon Colombo, the official venue partner, the launch was a resounding success and brought together an audience of over 50 industry experts, professionals, and academia. This marks a significant milestone in the country’s IT industry, and Sri Lanka now joins a global movement with chapters spanning 48 countries across six continents, boasting a membership of over 200,000 individuals.
Chathini Uduwana, VP People and Country Manager of Typefi Systems, takes on as the Chapter Ambassador, along with other members Thanzyl Thajudeen, Marketing Director; Jezla Latiff, Partnerships Director; Oshani Kottage, Events Director; Madhurangi Abeygunasekera, Program Director; and Vanessa Alexander, Community Director. They also presented a highly impactful and ambitious plan for Sri Lanka for the year 2024.
The esteemed sponsors for the launch were Monsoon Colombo, Teardrop Hotels, Mark and Comm, Echelon and EconomyNext, and Swedish Trading Audio Visual.
For the past four decades, the gender gap in the tech industry globally has been widening, leaving only one woman for every five individuals working in the field today. In Sri Lanka, only around a third (33%) of females participate in the ICT industry, according to a study conducted last year by the Institute of Policy Studies.
Women in Tech is dedicated to reversing this trend, with a mission to bridge the gender gap and empower women to embrace technology. Headquartered in Paris, Women in Tech® is more than just a network; it’s a social enterprise committed to Driving & Measuring IMPACT.
Ayumi Moore Aoki, Founder and CEO of Women in Tech® Global congratulated the team members of the Sri Lanka Chapter and expressed her utmost support going forward.
The panelists include Prof. Arosha Adikaram, Chair Professor of Human Resource Management at university of Colombo; Dr. Beshan Kulapala, CEO of Cyrus, VP of Technology and Innovation at Volt Charge and Director of Technology at Chakra Suthra; Rukshani Malewana, Director/CEO at Hayleys Business Solutions International (Pvt) Ltd, moderated by Shanuki de Alwis – Advocacy and Communications Consultant.
It also explored challenges women face in the tech industry and at each stage of the career cycle, from recruitment through to evaluation and career growth.
Further, they stressed on the growing psychological concerns, especially burnout and work-life balance initiatives including maternity and childcare, and also countering workplace harassment. It also highlighted howgender inclusive leadership could go onto benefit corporates, and the role of female leaders in attracting new female recruits.
In concluding, the panel discussion highlighted how mentoring and being role models is crucial in inspiring the next generation of women in STEM and the importance of taking proactive and a planned approach to raise awareness of STEM education among girls from a younger age.