Technology

Fast Lane: Where the heck are the women in tech?

Cara Waters /

I’ve never thought of myself as being sexist before but last week I had to question whether I had failed the sisterhood.

The occasion was the publication of SmartCompany’s annual list of Australia’s Most Influential People in Technology.

This year in the list of 12 people there was only one woman: Catherine Livingstone, the chair of Telstra.

Immediately some SmartCompany readers questioned why the dearth of women on the list.

Women’s Agenda, one of SmartCompany’s sister publications, devised its own list in response, Australia’s most powerful women in technology.

I was immediately devastated to think that I could have edited and published a list which could be seen to be sexist.

Unfortunately the list is reflective of the realities of the boys club in Australia’s technology sector.

Research has found that just 5% of technology entrepreneurs in Australia are female.

Until we have more female tech entrepreneurs it’s hard to include more women in a list of the most influential people in that sector.

But this is a Catch 22 situation.

Female entrepreneurs need to read more stories about successful female entrepreneurs to inspire them to take the risk and start their own business.

The recent report, The Status of Women in the US Media 2014, highlights the dominance of men in mainstream media.

Overall, 63.4% of those with bylines and on-camera appearances were men, while women constituted 36.1% of contributors

Men were quoted far more than women and are more likely to be quoted as experts.

I suspect the situation is the same in Australia with the mainstream business media dominated by stories written by men and featuring men.

Wherever possible I try to include female voices in SmartCompany.

In the past month profiles of successful female entrepreneurs have included Trudi Jenkins of Hard to Find and Jennifer Lechte of Lechte Corporation and we publish an annual Top Female Entrepreneurs List.

But I’d love to include more stories of successful business women in SmartCompany.

It’s one of the best ways of encouraging the next generation of female entrepreneurs and ensuring there’s more than one female on future lists of tech’s movers and shakers.

Female entrepreneurs get in touch!

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Cara Waters

Cara Waters is a former SmartCompany editor. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter for the Financial Times' website and worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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