Women’s Day 2023: Tech Advancements for Gender Equality


  • Spiceworks got in touch with leaders across the globe to discuss the advancements needed in tech to promote gender equality.
  • We also discussed the importance of protecting women’s rights in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.

They manage work every day with a toddler in their arms, they sit in boardrooms but also ensure they get groceries on time, they plan business strategies on the weekdays and picnics over the weekends. 

It makes you wonder how they do it all, right?

Here’s wishing a very happy Women’s Day to these superheroes! 

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8th to honor women’s achievements and contributions to society and raise awareness about the ongoing struggle for gender equality. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity.

While great strides have indeed been and continue to be made in the tech industry, it is essential to note that there remains work to be done. According to Zippia, in 2022, women held just 28% of computing and mathematical jobs in the U.S. They made up only 34.4% of the workforce of the U.S.’s largest tech companies — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

This women’s day, Spiceworks got in touch with leaders across the globe to discuss the advancements needed in tech to promote gender equality. We also discussed the importance of protecting women’s rights in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.

See More: Celebrating 5 Women Who Are Changing the Face of Tech

What Advancements Do We Need in Technology to Promote Gender Equality?

Kim Curley, vice president, workforce readiness consulting, NTT DATA

“The most important thing we can do is get more women in tech, making space for a more diverse tech workforce and more diverse leadership of venture capital firms, startups, and industry disruptors. More women developing tech means these solutions are designed with women in mind – not to the exclusion of other genders, but to the leveling of all genders. 

An essential aspect of promoting gender equality is getting more women access to technology, which in itself takes tech. When women thrive, communities thrive, and generational cycles of poverty, lack of education, and absence in the economy are broken. This not only changes the lives and fortunes of individual women, but also their families and communities. When more of the population is present in the workforce, businesses grow faster and have outsized, lasting results.

One other thing to consider as the tech industry dives into emerging tech, such as VR and the metaverse, is breaking stereotypes in tech visuals. Consider what your female avatars look or sound like, what roles they play in your training modules, the dialogue they use, and what stereotypes you might unwittingly be reinforcing.”

Becky Trevino, executive vice president of products, Snow Software

“The most important advancement we can make is doing the necessary work to close the bias gap in AI. We have seen what happens when AI is fed limited information or relies solely on the internet – the bias is already there, and we need to ensure the learning algorithms are being fed accurate portrayals of women and people of color. Beyond technology, there will need to be changes in policy to ensure everyone has access to technology and training. 

This also includes better incorporation of technology and improving digital literacy as part of the K-12 public education system. It’s in our best interest as a society to close the digital gender gap and improve technological fluency for everyone. We should think about students learning to code just like we expect students to learn how to read. 

Establishing these skill sets and improving digital literacy for students of both genders, but especially girls, will be important for future generations to successfully navigate the societal changes we expect to see in the near future.”

Meredith Graham, CPO, Ensono

“It’s up to tech workplaces and organizations to be accountable for their part in closing the digital gender divide. Equipping women with the right tools in the workplace like anonymous employee feedback channels and ongoing education, and training for individuals and teams around fostering an inclusive environment — including how to identify a toxic work environment or situation is an effective way to maintain that women have the right to speak up in their STEAM careers. 

Another strategy tech companies should utilize in their work to close this digital divide is that of learning and development opportunities that support women in advancing their STEAM careers.”

Laura Ritchey, COO and EVP of Radial

“We need to democratize access to the internet and technology. Much of the U.S. has access to smartphones through the ability to purchase or donation programs that allow reuse. We need to cover the remaining population, and we need a national approach to the internet. 

One suggestion would be that cellular carriers must offer a certain amount of “free” access given that the incremental cost is relatively small on the existing infrastructure. We also need to develop relationships with the communities that may have women with more limited access to technology. 

That means we need team members that speak the language; we need to enlist the help of community and religious leaders to open access, and we need to equip the technology with the means to learn how to use it safely. Employers with access to large groups of employees would also be a good way to access this population.”

Katie Moro, vice president of data partnerships, Productsup 

“To promote gender equality for future generations, it needs to be instilled at a young age. Both genders need to be encouraged to learn science, math, reading and writing. Listening to both genders’ interests and making efforts to engage them early on to investigate and explore these will be one of the biggest advancements in tech. 

Girls need to seek solutions and experiment – by being told “girls aren’t good at math,” for example, deters them from even entering the space, to begin with. Not only this but having app generations that promote gender equality is another advancement for the tech sector. Apps like WeRise could have a phenomenal effect on Generation Alpha and beyond, when it comes to equality.

Lastly, I see mentorship as something we can all push to promote gender equality. We model what we see, and the more we promote women in tech leadership who achieve big goals globally, the more we encourage our children to do the same and begin bridging this gap. Girls and women alike need mentors that are their gender to feel empowered.”

Lalitha Rajagopalan, co-founder and head of product strategy, ORO Labs

Today, the understanding of gender in tech platforms is extremely basic at an architectural level. What this means is that the technology, per se, has little to no conception of the gender-based relationships, power dynamics, and structures that underpin any real-world community. 

Semantically solving this on the web and in social media will go a long way to root out bias in the foundational algorithms that these very platforms are built on. It is imperative to automatically identify malicious actors and prevent further harassment of women online. 

Procurement is just one area where advancements in technology can and do help to promote gender equality. In fact, working with more women-owned suppliers is a key procurement priority for many companies to promote diversity. 

According to a 2021 study from The Hackett Group, women-owned businesses are most frequently included in supplier diversity plans, but only by a small margin in the U.S.; it is larger in other areas of the world. There’s still a lot more that can be done.”

Margaret Dawson, chief of staff to the CEO & chief communications officer, Apptio

There is existing technology that helps us overcome bias by anonymizing information in a resume or redacting information that could identify one’s gender, race, or other specifics about their background. The more we can create an equal playing field when people apply for positions, the more likely we are to see an increase in not only women but people from all walks of life who often do not even get through the door. 

Advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning could be powerful tools in identifying and stopping images and behaviors that are unsafe or damaging to women or other marginalized groups. 

There will always be humans with bad behavior, but just as we use facial recognition and biometrics to identify people and protect our personal information, we could use similar technologies to identify when images or behavior is harmful, hopefully stopping it before someone is harmed.”

See More: Women’s Day Special: 5 Steps Tech Companies Can Take To Develop Women Leaders

How to protect women’s rights in digital spaces and address online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence?

Becky Trevino, executive vice president of products, Snow Software

The way women are treated in public forums send important signals of whether people feel they have the right for their voices to be heard. A lack of safe spaces on the internet for women to make their voices heard without fear of reprisals illustrate to women their voices and perspectives are not important enough for us to protect. We need to ensure freedom of speech is also freedom from harassment. Women can face very real threats of violence, and we allow this by letting online harassment and cultures of fear go unchecked.

Lalitha Rajagopalan, co-founder and head of product strategy, ORO Labs

“The COVID pandemic caused a spike in ICT-based violence against women. Girls dropped out of school and stopped engaging in social media after experiencing harassment and discrimination, with more and more opting out of STEM courses as well.”

Laura Ritchey, COO and EVP, Radial

“Before the advent of the internet and social media, women were the primary victims of domestic violence. For a long time, this violence continued because it was not spoken about but rather deemed a family matter. Those in power did not acknowledge it was an issue, and women were expected to devise a solution. 

We have made significant strides by offering opportunities for help, especially in the workplace, including at Radial. There is supervisor training, stickers with the domestic violence hotline number in the restrooms, and access to shelters advertised on postings. 

We need to take the same approach to online bullying and violence. It starts with speaking openly about issues, education, access to help, and men and women who can lead change just as they have done before.”

Margaret Dawson, chief of staff to the CEO & chief communications officer, Apptio

“This is so fundamental, ensuring women have physical and psychological safety in all environments, including digital spaces. First, all organizations need proper, impactful and realistic training and then hold all employees accountable for completing it. 

Everyone must be able to accurately identify what gender-based violence is as well as understand how and when to report it properly. We also need strong allies of all genders and all levels of individuals. If someone sees or hears about behavior that puts another person at risk, they need not only to speak up and act but have a safe space in order to do so without fear of repercussions. 

Accountability is an important agent of change. If these behaviors are being reported and the offender is not held accountable for these actions, where is the motivation for change? We must hold perpetrators accountable with impactful and immediate consequences to facilitate change.

It saddens me that we have gone backward in our objectification and sexualization of girls and women, making it a societal “norm” in gaming and other digital experiences. This is where we were in the 1950s when women were sex objects in advertising and TV. I believe this is why we are not seeing an increase in the number of girls and women entering technical and scientific fields and continue to see girls believe that how they look based on some societal expectation is more important than what they think or know.

We can all be models for other women and girls, and fathers are powerful influencers to their daughters. When I see men in tech bring their daughters to work and encourage them to be all they can be, it wins over society’s stereotypes.”

Debbie Connelly, SVP CPO, Hyland

“This issue frequently correlates with the digital gender gap, and minimizing that gap would be an important step to educating women about the proliferation of online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.

As the vehicles through which this violence is perpetrated only grow in volume, concerted efforts to educate females on warning signs and ways to avoid harm will take on added importance. By bringing more awareness to the most common avenues through which online criminals target women, we can attempt to diminish the ICT-facilitated gender-based violence that’s become too prevalent.”

Dangvy Keller, VP, Americas alliance and distribution sales, Veeam

“As technology continues to transform and becomes more sophisticated, so does online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence. Technology, specifically the internet, has given women access to new ideas and the opportunity to speak out. 

Unfortunately, it also serves as a weapon for perpetrators to silence and disempower women. Online hate and gender-based violence are systemic and global. We need to ensure that both our government and technology companies work to prevent violence from being disseminated on these platforms and, more importantly, protect women’s rights.”

See More: Women’s Equality Day: Is Remote Work a Blessing or a Bane for Women in Tech?

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