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At our recent Ada Lovelace Day event, five women shared their technology career stories. While all unique in both journey, challenges and successes, early exposure to the evolving nature of tech was a recurring theme. These exposures were wide ranging and included recalling a first computer in the house, playing with toys typecast as being “for boys”, learning with/from brothers, experiencing new technologies in school programs, and being taken to inspiring tech events as youths. The opportunity existed for these women to discover the pace and potential in technology early on.
As members of the tech sector, we are inherently interested in technology and its place in our lives. My own experience is an example of this self-reinforcing cycle. My mother and father were both engineers and unusually for someone of my age, I don’t remember a time when we didn’t have a computer at home. As a toddler I watched my father standing on bubble wrap to install new drivers into the big box on the desk. I learnt at age five how to write the commands to run games in DOS, and later with our first modem we were one of the first handful of houses to experiment with a closed network that allowed you to order groceries online. Once the World Wide Web came into our lives I was writing HTML to build my own website and participate in chat rooms. For me, tech was ever evolving and fuel for fun. With the wisdom of age I now appreciate it was an early exposure that shaped my life.
With all that said, my reflection point is how we scale out this early exposure for the many. Particularly those who will be the first generation in their family to explore and experiment with tech, not just see it as part of the backdrop of their lives. I don’t believe there is a single answer, but what I do know is that if we collectively keep lifting the visibility of women in tech, sharing our struggles and celebrating our wins, we will create some of those opportunities for the next generation of TechWomen.
Finally, please look out for the members only Christmas drinks invitations for Auckland and Wellington. On that note, that’s it for 2022 TechWomen NZ newsletters. Have a great summer and happy holidays to those that celebrate at this time of year.
TechWomen NZ Council Member on behalf of the TechWomen Council