I don’t know about you, but 2016 was a whirlwind. My tech startup hit one million customers, we launched our integration with Slack, expanded to three offices worldwide, won a Windows 10 Download Editor’s Pick award and I had an article published in Forbes.
To say that I am excited about what 2017 has in store for my company is an understatement. However, I am equally excited to see what the year has in store for South East Asia’s women in tech. Even though 2016 held a stronger spotlight on the tech industry’s lack of a female presence, there is still much work to be done regarding equal pay and gender equality in all stages of the tech corporate ladder. Despite this, we still saw progress in 2016. The business world is finally starting to recognize the importance of values brought to the tech business ecosystem by women. These include diversity in collaboration and problem solving, nurturing qualities and conversations about the strength of being a woman instead of the perceived weaknesses.
In a region known for its high cultural expectations of women, we have seen the rise of many powerful women in tech work hard to disrupt the status quo. It is because of those who were not afraid to defy traditional norms that more South East Asia women have been able to join their ranks. I predict this will continue to be a driving force in the coming year. Here’s what you can expect from SEA female tech entrepreneurs in 2017:
1. Women Will Amplify Their Presence In Tech And Entrepreneurship
One of my favorite business quotes is by Alisee de Tonnac, CEO of Seedstars; she said:
“Remember, success breeds success. Never underestimate the power of role models and let’s make sure to amplify these stories!”
South East Asia’s technology industry is booming, and many startups have been created over the years to capitalize on this fertile ground for success. We can see the effects of this by just looking at the entrepreneurs who have been key players in the rise of women in Asia’s tech ecosystem. They are part of the reason why we have four Southeast Asian countries in the top ten economies that have more female entrepreneurs than men.
In the next year, I see female SEA entrepreneurs in tech becoming more visible, catapulting the industry to new heights and as a result positioning themselves into a powerful position to amplify their success. This heightened visibility will inspire young girls and women to pursue their dreams. Women in technology industries will demand better pay and equal opportunities within Southeast Asia, because they earned and deserve it. The success stories of strong women are being recognized and shared as well, which is a wonderful thing.
2. Women In Tech Will Build Stronger Networks
In 2016, we saw events like AKIN ASIA take place throughout Bangkok and Southeast Asia. The events aimed to provide a space for killer women in technology to connect, support each other, network and share experiences.
In the year of 2017, we will for sure see more of this collaborative spirit bringing women together to build stronger networks that will facilitate success in technology industries. These communities will not only inspire women already carving a path, but will make young girls and women feel like there is a space for them, that it is okay and even highly encouraged, to pursue a career in the STEM fields.
3. Women Will Become More Visible In STEM Industries
Women in South East Asia became increasingly vocal about their role in STEM careers during the past twelve months. In 2017, it is predicted that we will start to see the effect of this “loudness” pay off.