platform for anger, hatred and vilification.
As an outspoken woman in technology, I have received my fair share of ill-intentioned comments online and while I have made a personal choice not to feed the negativity, I am also glad that I have received support from great people who are unafraid to call out bad behaviour when they see it — they keep me motivated to continue speaking my mind.
This ability to connect to others with similar experiences is incredibly important to me as a professional in the tech industry and as an executive — both places where women are the minority. According to a recent survey by the Anita Borg Institute, a non-profit organisation dedicated to championing the rights of women, female technologists are still significantly underrepresented across industries, holding just 21.7 percent of technical roles. While there have been recent positive shifts in the tech industry, I know that I have much more to do to help improve the situation.
Working in technology for the past decade, I’ve been fortunate that my experiences have been primarily positive. I am able to work in a safe and inclusive space to solve real-world problems with brilliant people. Alongside other fearless female leaders and trailblazers at Thoughtworks, we continue to pave the way for more women to build careers in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
The promise of connectivity in which I have believed since I was 17 has been realised in so many ways. Recently, I was asked to give a talk at a Women in Leadership Summit. While preparing for the talk, I remembered a quote I heard about five years ago. I wanted to include it, but didn’t know who to attribute it to. After much searching, I reached out to the woman who said it via Linkedin and was pleasantly unsurprised at the response. She, a pioneering woman in the business world, was happy to share her own experiences and we now correspond regularly. I say “pleasantly unsurprised” on purpose; it’s not a typo. It’s a good description of my own experience.
Whenever I’ve reached out to other women with honest curiosity, I’ve found a receptive and welcoming response. This is one amazing way in which technology has connected people and as a woman in technology, I feel positive about the future of the industry and the strides we have made in advancing the role, influence and contribution of women. Ange Ferguson is group managing director — Asia Pacific at Thoughtworks, a global tech consultancy with the mission to better humanity through software and help drive the creation of a socially and economically just world