Equality of opportunity: Empowering women in digital industry


Some new kids on the block! 9 highly motivated business ladies founded a network to empower women in the digital industry: Digitalista – connecting digital women.

“It is about promoting equal opportunities for women work wise”, says Kathrin Folkendt, one of the co-founders. “But we also aim to address and challenge the traditional patterns with regards to ‘the role of women’, that are sometimes still in many heads and in the way of women going after their dreams – both work wise and in life in general.” So what they are actually going for is more women in the top management and about 50% female start-up founders in Austria.

 

Stand up for your rights

But wait a minute: we live in the 21st century. Do we still need to focus on female quota and therefore consider positive discrimination? During last week’s commemoration of the International Women’s Day, everybody stood up for women and their rights. According to an Austrian newspaper equal opportunities for women is still a hot topic. By checking the statistics and the stereotypes we have to face reality: diversity management is an urgent matter.

 

Diversity as a resource

Diversity management is about creating equality of opportunity. If you are from Mühlviertel, an immigrant, from an ethnic minority or a woman, you should have the same opportunity as everybody else, regardless of your family background, gender and ideology.

Why is this relevant for business? Mensi-Klarbach points out some benefits of diversity initiatives:

  • enhancing corporate reputation
  • attracting and retaining highly talented people
  • higher productivity arising from improved motivation and efficiency
  • improving innovation and creativity among employees

There are some inspiring studies, books and TED talks floating around, but one particular caught my attention: Sheryl Sandberg talking about why we have too few women leaders. All this is not about forcing women and men into new stereotypes (i.e. women have to be patronized) but about providing all with equality of opportunity. In this context, the idea of having a bunch of people focusing on one side of the diversity management falls right into place!

 

Community: not only female

For sure, some of you will argue: “why initiate a network only for women, if we want diversity?”. Folkendt does not see Digitalista “as a pro-women-club in the first place. I see it as a network that is interested in pointing out successes of women in digital work environments just as much as it is in addressing the challenges we face sometimes. We strive to provide inspiring talks by individuals willing to share their experiences and expertise with the community and foster exchange between our members, who by the way are not only female.”

So, currently Digitalista has a series of meet-ups in place and is looking to add workshops, special offers for their members and most importantly inspiration through their online and social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter).

In summary we want to represent a modern and self confident image of women in digital”, concludes Folkendt, “as this is how we perceive our industry and the women in it and I hope that we can contribute to making this everyone’s perception as well. There are many amazing women in our business and we want to make sure everyone knows it!”

 

Header Image(s) from Pixabay & Gratisography

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