'STEM is a viable career for women, they should be given the right tools to create a gender-equal world'

Selina Yuan said female executives make up 34% of Alibaba Cloud's total workforce.

Agencies
Selina Yuan believes educating women is the most important step to tackling inequality.
By Selina Yuan

For women, mere empowerment is not enough. For years, women have been struggling to make a gender-equal world. While the change is evident, it is a slow-moving process.

The World Economic Forum's 2020 Global Gender Gap Report unveiled that only 26 per cent of job roles in artificial intelligence (AI) and big data were filled by females. This gender gap is even more apparent in cloud-related roles where women only make up 12 per cent of the entire workforce.


Moreover, during Alibaba Group's third Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship in 2019, Melinda Gates cited a study sharing that the global economy could grow by an estimated $28 trillion by 2025 if women participated in the economy at an equal level as men. These statistics hint at the barriers faced by women everywhere, holding them back from achieving their full potential. Imagine the positive differences that women could make if they were given the opportunity to participate equally in the global economy.

One area which lacks female representation is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The world needs to change its mindset and believe that tech is a viable career path for women. Other than that, women should also be given the right tools and support to tackle this inequality, starting with education. However, in the recent years, many organisations have shown an urgency and need to bring women into the fold for critical innovation and progress in STEM.

Pay Gap, Gender Bias: When Silicon Valley Messed Up Its Template
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Think you don't need to care about the super-inflammatory Google diversity manifesto that dropped this weekend?

Think again.

The tech community has been abuzz since Saturday about what the leaked document — which is full of all kinds of sexist commentary.

Silicon Valley seems to be in the midst of an ethical crisis. A series of scandals in recent years - from Theranos to Zenefits to Uber and the systemic problem of gender bias and sexual harassment - have slowly eroded public perception of the tech industry.

(Image: Wikipedia)
Think you don't need to care about the super-inflammatory Google diversity manifesto that dropped this weekend? Think again. The tech community has been abuzz since Saturday about what the leaked d..
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A software engineer’s 10-page screed against Google’s diversity initiatives went viral within the search giant. The memo, which is the personal opinion of a male Google employee, was titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”. The author of the memo, who has now been fired, argued that women are under-represented in tech not because they face bias and discrimination in the workplace, but because of inherent psychological differences between men and women.

This gender googly comes even as Google battles a wage discrimination probe by the US Department of Labor, which has found that Google routinely pays women less than men in comparable roles.

(Image: Instagram/google)
A software engineer’s 10-page screed against Google’s diversity initiatives went viral within the search giant. The memo, which is the personal opinion of a male Google employee, was titled “Google’s..
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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned earlier this year under pressure from investors seeking to clean up the company's allegedly toxic corporate culture. His departure capped a rocky period for the global ride-sharing giant, which has been roiled by disturbing reports of cut-throat workplace conditions, harassment and discrimination.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned earlier this year under pressure from investors seeking to clean up the company's allegedly toxic corporate culture. His departure capped a rocky period for the glob..
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In September 2016, Melinda Gates announced her desire to work on the lack of women in technology.

"We’re graduating fewer women technologists. That is not good for society. We have to change it,” Gates, who is the Co-Chair, Operator of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said.

She explained that for the next two years she would be in "learning mode" after which she would begin addressing the problem.

"It hasn't been welcoming to women now for more than a decade. So it's something that's actually been going on for a long time and I don't think you see it being worked on in a systemic way and I think it needs to be worked on in a systemic way. If that doesn't get reversed, you're not going to have young women wanting to go into the field. If you don't have a diverse workforce programming artificial intelligence and thinking about the data sets to feed in, and how to look at a particular program, you're going to have so much bias in the system, you're going to have a hard time rolling it back later or taking it out," she had said.
In September 2016, Melinda Gates announced her desire to work on the lack of women in technology. "We’re graduating fewer women technologists. That is not good for society. We have to change it,” Ga..
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Tinder, the L.A.-based dating start-up, was torn apart by a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against the company by its female co-founder Whitney Wolfe. In the complaint, Wolfe alleged that her Tinder co-founders, Sean Rad and Justin Mateen, “subjected [her] to a barrage of horrendously sexist, racist, and otherwise inappropriate comments, emails and text messages".

But Wolfe didn't get disheartened, and in fact, went on to found dating app Bumble that has gone on to compete with Tinder!

(Image: Instagram/whitwolfe)
Tinder, the L.A.-based dating start-up, was torn apart by a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against the company by its female co-founder Whitney Wolfe. In the complaint, Wolfe alleged that her Tind..
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Ellen Pao is an Investment Partner at Kapor Capital. Four months ago, she took the witness stand, accusing venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers of pervasive sexism. During her stint she was accused of being a bad employee. Later, she went on to become the top executive at Reddit, the influential social-media website that is infamous for its trolls. The site’s former contributors – Pao now among them – describe it as a kind of misogynist fire swamp where “harassment swarms”, even and especially for an accidental feminist champion.
Ellen Pao is an Investment Partner at Kapor Capital. Four months ago, she took the witness stand, accusing venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers of pervasive sexism. During her stint ..
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The story of ​ Justin Caldbeck, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Binary Capital, and Binary Capital has rocked the venture capital and start-up world. Six women accused Caldbeck of making unwanted sexual advances while they were pitching him for a potential investment. His initial response was to strongly deny the attacks on his character, adding that he has always enjoyed respectful relationships with female founders, business partners, and investors. Amidst mounting criticism, he took a temporary leave of absence issuing an apology “to those women who I've made feel uncomfortable in any way, at any time.” Not everyone liked the apology.
The story of ​ Justin Caldbeck, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Binary Capital, and Binary Capital has rocked the venture capital and start-up world. Six women accused Caldbeck of making unwanted ..
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Alibaba Cloud has tried to unlock greater opportunities for the development of women in the technology sector. It has partnered with top post-secondary and higher learning institutions across Asia to nurture a strong pipeline of female AI talent in the region. In Singapore, it is working with secondary schools to provide AI training programs to students and raise interest in science-related subjects amongst female students.

From the world-renowned data intelligence scientists to product architects who plan digital transformation in emerging markets, women can be seen in different roles at Alibaba Cloud. Women represent almost half of the organisation, with female executives making up 34 per cent of our total workforce.

Looking ahead, collaboration is key. Social issues such as inequality and the lack of access to opportunities can’t be solved overnight by one individual. It takes systemic and society-wide awareness, and action for long-term change. It is important to groom the next-generation technology leaders by encouraging businesses and society at large to invest, reflect and create new opportunities towards a gender-equal world.

(The author is President of International Business, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence)

Pay Gap No More: Nations That Rate High On Gender Equality
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Iceland has become the first country in the world to force companies to prove they pay all employees the same — irrespective of gender, sexuality, or ethnicity. While the North Atlantic island leads the pack, here are other nations that rate high on the gender equality scale.
Iceland has become the first country in the world to force companies to prove they pay all employees the same — irrespective of gender, sexuality, or ethnicity. While the North Atlantic island leads ..
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Seeing a large number of women in parliament is considered a rare sight in a number of countries. But not Sweden. The nation has among the highest percentages of women in parliament in the world (44.7 per cent) while the other Nordic countries are almost as successful. Sweden has always been in the top five on the Global Gender Gap Report since its inception.

In Pic: Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven.
Seeing a large number of women in parliament is considered a rare sight in a number of countries. But not Sweden. The nation has among the highest percentages of women in parliament in the world (44...
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Many are surprised that Rwanda often features above France or America on the gender equality list, but after the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has strongly promoted equal rights for men and women. The areas that see the most equality are politics and economy. Rwanda has topped the global list of countries with the most female political parliamentarians for more than a decade.

In Pic: President of Rwanda Paul Kagame.
Many are surprised that Rwanda often features above France or America on the gender equality list, but after the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has strongly promoted equal rights for men and women. The areas ..
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This tiny country makes it to the list in Asia because of the increase in women’s salaries relative to men’s. It got its fi rst woman president — Halimah Yacob — last year. However, it is one of the worst performing countries on the sex ratio at birth indicator.

In Pic: Halimah Yacob is the first female
president of Singapore.
This tiny country makes it to the list in Asia because of the increase in women’s salaries relative to men’s. It got its fi rst woman president — Halimah Yacob — last year. However, it is one of the ..
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(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com.)
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