Technology is calling for more women than ever

Technology, along with science, engineering and mathematics, has been more open and welcoming to women lately. Many of them have achieved certain success in the field and inspired more women to join the industries. This evidently proves the resourceful and vital role of women in technology. Embracing this notion, Women in Tech was founded to empower women to overcome barriers and biases to unleash their competence. A full week of activities is held annually to open a platform adhering more and more women to technology. This year, the event got started with a Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) panel discussion hosted by The Shortcut. 
Let’s jump into the discussion on women in tech!

The stage was run by three female veterans Emmi Jouslehto (CEO and founder of Arilyn), Sonja Ängeslevä (product director of Unity Technologies) and Katri Meriläinen (Head of Educational Development at Lyfta) and moderated by Olli Sinerma (Chairman of the Finnish VR association). Also, we had Annti Jäderholm (CPO of Vizor) and Vizor COO Anna Rosa Lapplainen’s representative on the panel. The panellists broke down the terms AR and VR, their uses, and vision in future. Find more details on the panel HERE.

Women in Tech and The Shortcut: AR, VR panel discussion and demo

The presence of the speakers, mostly successful female seniors in the field alone really spoke a word. Explicitly, women are now on their ways overcoming barriers and biases to get closer to technology. They are constantly proving that they are competent and willing to make significant contribution to make the world better. We do believe that all attendees felt excited to hear about AR and VR from the perspective of female runners. Personally, I agree with the panellists on the point about the role of content. It should be content that maintains people’s interest in the use of AR and VR. Also, content helps a lot in storytelling, which is expected to be one of the core tools in educations.

OZO’s VR demo at The Shortcut Lab by Nokia

To create a tech-cozy space for the mostly female participants, VR and AR demos were set up for trying out. There was Nokia’s OZO, a 360° virtual reality camera used for example in neurosurgery teaching. The VR glasses led us to the operating room with sophisticated illustrations. They are under development to be used in training for surgeons. 
With this technology training, not only for surgery, would be tremendously stimulating. No more one-way communication and texts. VR can bring students to the world they are thrilled to explore. Alongside, Lyfta introduced their meaningful project with The Awra Amba Experience. This is a trip to an Ethiopian village with 360˚ experience combined with multimedia content. The project will hopefully strengthen teaching viastorytelling.

A discussion would not be complete without the attendees’ viewpoints. Let’s discover what our attendees thought about women and their roles in technology industry!

“I love it!” — Nerea Galvan shared about her experience with OZO.

Isa said that it was “AWESOME” to see the presence of women and their success in tech. Galvan added that women have a caring mindset, so their work would be sophisticated and well-done.

Jeanne M. Ngobo, who has a non-tech related background, was glad that women are redefining their positions and roles in tech. She also agreed that prejudice was tremendously pushing women out of tech and communication is definitely the way to change this. That is why she signed up for the panel discussion at The Shortcut Lab.

Communication.” — said Ngobo when asked about how to shorten the gap between women and tech. “We need to talk about it more and more, create more communication, just like this (the panel discussion) and share inspiring success stories, then women will feel more welcome and supported as well as have more courage to step-by-step learn about tech”.

Additionally, on the perspective of a man working in the field, Prashant Yadav highlighted the importance of education in raising awareness and interest from schoolgirls at an early stage. School may tell girls that tech is easy and clear if they explore and learn carefully. The impact from schooling, he thought, would be helpful in discovering potential interest and leading next generation of women to technology.

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