Interviews, News

“Women are the most untapped resource in technology” – Ayumi Moore Aoki

Ayumi Moore Aoki is a social entrepreneur committed to driving positive, sustainable change through technology. She is the Founder and CEO of Women in Tech, a global movement, with over 250 volunteers, 200,000 members in 6 continents and they are on a mission to empower 5 million women and girls in STEM by 2030.

Nitya Ravi, a contributing Editor at discussed other pertinent topics in addition to gender inequality in IT, such as digital transformation and FutureTech with Ayumi, in the latest in our series of Women in Tech interviews.

“The pandemic accelerated the shift to a digital-first approach which was adopted by companies, governments and societies alike. However, it also accentuated the digital divide, and most specifically the gender digital gap that exists today across the world. There are millions of women and girls that are suffering from not having access to internet or technological equipment. To achieve SDG 5, gender equality, women need to have equal access to technology and its training. This is particularly true in developing countries. Bright young students who cannot afford a laptop, like Aishwarya Reddy, a 19-year-old college student at Delhi University’s LSR College, came under tremendous stress as she didn’t have a computer to study from at home. She tragically took her life in November 2020.’ said Ayumi.

She further added about the challenges that comes with rapid digital transformation and the need for a leadership that looks at digital resiliency.

“I think that digital transformation fueled by the pandemic enabled companies to rapidly switch to remote working. There are numerous challenges that come with this new “Future of Work”, especially in the leadership management. Building culture for remote teams, using the right tech tools and ensuring good communication within the team are some of them. Retaining talent will also be a challenge.”

“The world is currently going through many changes, that resilience is key to be successful. What we have learnt from the past 2 years is that leaders need to adopt an agile method of thinking to deal with a transformative environment and its evolving needs. They need to be digitally resilient to measure and manage risk and to use societal, business or technological disruptions as opportunities.”

Ayumi also feels that Blockchain and metaverse are the future trends to look out for the future.

“Blockchain is definitely going to shift the world’s legal, economic and even political landscape. This technology allowing decentralised transactions is revolutionising the whole framework of society as we know today. I also think that Metaverse and virtual world will be a hot topic in 2022. So, technologies in AR and VR will be increasingly adopted in many areas of our daily lives, including our workspace.”

It has not been an easy ride for Aoki to the top and this is what she had to say about the same, “There have been several challenges I have faced being a woman entrepreneur -whether be it creating an organisation, asking for a bank loan or announcing ambitious goals but perhaps the biggest challenge for me was- not being taken seriously. Being a female entrepreneur, an immigrant with 4 kids who taught herself how to code, I ticked too many “no” boxes. But every time I got a rejection, it gave me the drive to prove them wrong. So, in the end it’s not that bad.”

As an international expert in women empowerment and a champion of equality, Aoki regularly takes to the stage at global, industry-leading events including Pause Fest (Melbourne), Women in Business Expo (London), TEDx Ist (Lisbon), Skolkovo Conference (Moscow), UFM Business Forum (Barcelona), and MITT Summit (UAE).

“My advice to upcoming women entrepreneurs and women in tech is to aim high and not to let anyone tell them otherwise. The only person who can define who they are and what they can achieve is themselves. Also, they must know that they’re not alone. Women in Tech is a global movement and a safe community that exists to support, inspire and accompany women in STEM. Women are Tech’s most untapped resource. Not only is creating diverse teams ethical, and will drive more economic growth, but future proofing the job opportunities of women will ensure sustainable communities worldwide. Because when women rise, we all rise.” said Ayumi.

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