In the tech industry, inclusivity is still one of the biggest challenges.

In the tech industry, inclusivity is still one of the biggest challenges. (Image – Shutterstock)

IWD 2024: Women in tech

  • Women in tech tend to inspire more inclusion.
  • International Women’s Day 2024 calls for inspiration among women.
  • How can we shift the dial on inclusion through inspiration?

The theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) 2024 is Inspire Inclusion. Over the centuries, women have been challenged to be included in various roles, decision-making processes and such. While the situation has definitely improved, there is still a lot more room for inclusivity especially in roles and industries that are primarily dominated by men.

IWD this year aims to inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion to forge a better world. Simply because when women themselves are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment.

In the tech industry, inclusivity is still one of the biggest challenges. Generally, most roles in tech are dominated by men. This not just includes developers and data scientists but also the leaders who make the key decisions about tech.

According to a report by The World Bank, women make up less than a third of the world’s workforce in technology-related fields. In the US, women make up 28% of employees in STEM. In major tech companies, such as Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, the proportion of female staff is 45%, 37%, 34%, 33%, and 29% of their entire workforce, respectively. When it comes to leadership positions, these figures are 29%, 34%, 31%, 28%, and 26%, respectively.

Tech companies realize the need to have more women in the industry and have continued to offer programs and training to increase representation. For example, Microsoft, AWS and Google all offer programs to help train and develop not just the skills of their female employees but also those in the community.

IWD this year aims to inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion to forge a better world.

IWD this year aims to inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion to forge a better world. (Image generated by AI).

IWD 2024: successful women in tech

As technology continues to innovate the future of work, roles are being redefined as well. And there have been an increasing number of women who are addressing these challenges and taking them by the horns.

Tech Wire Asia highlights ten women in technology who have not only been phenomenal in their roles but have made a huge mark in the industry and are capable of inspiring inclusion for everyone.

Note that the list is in no particular order.

Lisa Su, CEO of AMD

Lisa Su, an accomplished American business executive and electrical engineer, currently serves as the CEO and chair of AMD. Under her leadership, AMD has made significant strides in the semiconductor industry. Su’s background includes work at IBM and Freescale Semiconductor, where she contributed to semiconductor technologies. She joined AMD in 2012 and has received numerous awards for her leadership. Her remarkable contributions have solidified her position as a respected leader in the tech world, especially in the male-dominated semiconductor industry.

Wendi Whitmore, senior vice president for Unit 42 at Palo Alto Networks

Wendi Whitmore is the senior vice president for Unit 42 at Palo Alto Networks. With two decades of experience, she leads a team of elite incident responders and threat researchers. They tackle intricate cyberthreats, from ransomware to state-sponsored espionage. Wendi advises executive leadership teams on security programs and teaches cybersecurity courses. She previously led IBM’s X-Force incident response and threat intelligence teams and is an appointed member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersafety Review Board. A globally recognized cybersecurity leader, Wendi plays a pivotal role in solving major breaches.

Dr Si Hui Tan, chief science officer at Horizon Quantum Computing

Dr. Si-Hui Tan is the chief science officer at Horizon Quantum Computing. With over 18 years of experience in quantum information science, she has been an active researcher in the field. Si-Hui holds a BSc in Physics from Caltech and a PhD in Physics from MIT. She joined Horizon Quantum Computing shortly after its launch, driven by the ambition to make quantum computers a reality for everyone. Si-Hui leads research and development, overseeing daily operations. Her extensive publications include contributions to top physics journals and renowned conference proceedings.

Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X

Linda Yaccarino serves as the CEO of X Corp (formerly – and probably forever – Twitter). With a career spanning Turner Entertainment and NBCUniversal, she modernized ad sales strategies and played a key role in launching the Peacock streaming service. Yaccarino’s appointment at X Corp aims to create a trustworthy, accurate, and real-time information source. Despite the scrutiny, she navigates the complexities of social media under the watchful eye of the public and Elon Musk himself.

Safra Catz, Oracle CEO

Safra Catz, the CEO of Oracle Corporation, has been a key figure in the tech industry. With roles including president and chief financial officer, she has steered Oracle’s success. Catz is recognized as one of the most influential businesswomen globally, with an estimated net worth of US$1.6 billion. Her leadership continues to shape the company’s trajectory.

The most successful women in tech continue to push for more inclusivity in the industry.

The most successful women in tech continue to push for more inclusivity in the industry. (Image by Shutterstock).

Mira Mutati, OpenAI CTO

Mira Murati has been the chief technology officer (CTO) of OpenAI since 2018. Her remarkable contributions include leading the development of groundbreaking AI technologies such as ChatGPT, DALL-E, and GPT-4. Murati oversees OpenAI’s research, product, and safety teams, pushing the boundaries of machine learning while advocating for responsible and ethical AI use. In November 2023, she briefly served as interim CEO of OpenAI. Her ability to assemble teams with technical expertise and a deep mission appreciation has been instrumental in OpenAI’s success

Raja Teh Maimunah Raja Abdul Aziz, CEO of Aeon Islamic Digital Bank

Inclusion in financial services is key for communities to be fully developed. Digital banks play a strong role in enabling this as they are capable of catering the best products and services to those who are unbanked in rural areas. Raja Teh Maimunah Raja Abdul Aziz is no stranger to the financial industry in the region. Having held several senior roles in various banks in the region, Raja Teh is now the CEO of Aeon’s Islamic Digital Bank in Malaysia. The Islamic Digital Bank is also the first in the country.

Catherine Lian, general manager and technology leader at IBM ASEAN

Catherine Lian has been in the world of tech for several years and is widely recognized in Southeast Asia for her capabilities in helping companies adopt the best technologies available from IBM. In 2023, Lian was honored with the Women in Tech Award for the private sector and NGOs at the prestigious World Innovation, Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) Global Innovation and Tech Excellence Awards. In inspiring inclusion, Lian’s triumph is a testament to the resilient spirit and continuous efforts of women in the tech industry to break barriers and forge a path for increased representation and inclusivity.

Tan Hooi Ling, co-founder of Grab

Tan Hooi Ling, co-founder and COO of Grab, is a Malaysian businesswoman. Alongside Anthony Tan, she founded Grab in 2012, creating a mobile app connecting taxi seekers with drivers. Under her leadership, Grab has raised over US$9 billion and expanded across Southeast Asia. Tan’s determination and innovation continue to shape the region’s transportation and technology landscape. While Tan stepped down from operating roles at Grab at the end of 2023, she remains in the company in an advisory role.

Lucy Peng, Co-founder of Alibaba Group

Lucy Peng, a Chinese billionaire businesswoman, co-founded Alibaba Group. Her entrepreneurial spirit shaped Alibaba’s success. She served as a director at Ant Group and held key roles within Alibaba. After a brief stint as CEO of Lazada, Peng is currently the executive chairwoman of Lazada Group where she drives its expansion within Alibaba’s ecosystem. Her journey exemplifies resilience, innovation, and leadership in tech.

“We can only hope.” And, you know, instigate positive changes in the industry’s culture and society on a wider level, to boost inclusivity at every level. That too…