Research shows that diverse teams perform better and are more innovative, often suggesting promising results for business. Despite so, the lingering issue of gender disparity between male and female representation in the technology industry continues to be a hot topic for many activists, government authorities, and public-alike.
In line with this year’s International Women’s Day 2021 (IWD 2021) theme #ChooseToChallenge, three superwomen from the fast-growing smartphone brand Infinix looks to share their personal story in challenging biases and misconceptions within the tech space through a #SHEPOWER video released by the company.
The #SHEPOWER in Infinix
Founded in 2013, Infinix is a frontrunner in combining stylish designs and cutting-edge smartphone technology in their products. As a brand who aims to connect with the youths via their product innovation, the brand is also not one to shy away from burning social challenges – in this case, empowering women to take a stance in some of the most challenging environment. This time it is encouraging some of those women to share their stories. The #SHEPOWER means lot of more meaningful to Infinix than many other brands as the company seeks not only to foster the technological and innovative development of some of the less-privileged regions, it seeks to advocate for social changes by promoting gender equality, as much as we don’t want to admit, some parts of the world aren’t very friendly to women who want to develop a career of their own.
While Kenya scores 81 (out of 100) on the Women, Business and the Law 2020 index and ranks 109 out of the 153 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 with 0.671, significant inequalities between males and females in education attainment, health outcomes, representation in parliament, and participation in the labor market remain. For this year’s IWD, as Infinix highlights the back stories of its three superwomen, Infinix Kenya through the #SHEPOWER will also be celebrating the women in the Techspace in Kenya who have broken the gender barrier in what is a male dominated industry. These women have come up with Tech related ideas that are transforming the society, role models that are encouraging a new generation of women in tech.
With the continued drive to innovation, they have contributed in Tech Talks (e.g TED) and have received recognition for their outstanding tech innovations e.t.c. Juliana Rotich is a technologist, strategic advisor, entrepreneur, futurist, keynote speaker and a Venture Partner in Africa Technology Ventures (ATV). Judith Ogiwar is an African entrepreneur who uses technology as a tool to empower youth and young women. She is a co-founder of Akirachix; a revolution for African women and technology. Ory Okolloh is an activist, lawyer, and blogger. She has worked as the Policy Manager for Africa with Google and has been featured in several magazines among them being Time 100 and Forbes. Martha Chumo is the founder of The Dev School. The The Dev School equips youths in Africa with computer programming skills and aids them build technology-based solutions to everyday challenges. These women are some of the great spear headers leading women in the tech industry in Kenya.
Meet Shams Talaat, a 23-year-old marketer in Infinix, Iraq. Despite being in a place that has the lowest female employment rates in the world, Shams has always been a fighter when it comes to gender equality. Last year, she marched hand in hand with male and female protestors down the streets of central Baghdad as one of the organisers of the gender equality rally which made international headlines.
“We want to feel heard, equal – and be free to represent our own voices,” said the young girl who have just graduated from Nahrain University, one of the top universities in Iraq. “It’s uncommon for women to work in technology company here. Being part of this industry, in Infinix, in particular, means a lot to me because I am part of a vision that aims to provide great technology at an unbeatable price for my country. At the moment, I’m the only female member in my office – but I believe that things will change as we continue to promote a safe and inclusive working environment for aspiring women who wants to take a stab at the tech industry in Infinix,” continued Shams.
Another employee which shared her story comes from a transcontinental country where it spans the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia – the Arab Republic of Egypt, a place which ranked 136 out of 145 countries worldwide in gender equality. Amani, the Head of Human Resources Department at Infinix, Egypt, has over 10 years of working experience under her belt. During her time with Infinix, Amani has been invited to attend the biggest HR conference in the Middle East HRSE 2019 HR Summit and Expo.
“In Egypt, women are under tremendous societal pressure to get married and raise a child. Traditional Arabic culture sees us as weak and one that needs protection – even getting out of the house alone is a trouble for us. That’s why I take great pride in my work and what I’ve achieved so far,” shared Amani when asked about her views on common difficulties faced by female employees in their country. Despite the scrutiny, she was able to excel in her performance: “It was very challenging in the beginning because the brand was growing so fast that I needed to establish a team and expand it by three times of its original size in such a short period. Regardless, we did it in the end. Not only so, I also managed to finish my post graduate studies in Human Resource and Law while working. It’s truly a blessing.
While both Shams and Amani have demonstrated their resilience in face of challenging adversities, the last sharer comes from a place which represents a promising future for a highly progressive nation that has committed to itself to promoting greater gender equality in its once male-centric workforce – the People’s Republic of China. Jessica a 25-year-old mobile structure design engineer at Infinix Shanghai is turning heads with her talent in what seemed to be “a man’s job”.
With a childhood dream to be a fashion designer, Jessica finds joy in putting her creativity and passion into every aspect of Infinix mobile design: “ It’s a dream come true in an unexpected way. I’m really glad that fashion plays a critical role in Infinix’s product creation – it gives me an opportunity to see my ideas come to life in an everyday product like smartphones.” One of her greatest achievement includes a crossover project with popular mobile game PUBG where her designs were featured heavily on many prime advertisement spots.
Today, there are greater acceptance for women in the workforce globally. Infinix has never stopped to take challenges on, with a workforce of 42% women, it will continue to drive gender equality and diversity. It is not the ratio that counts but the culture of fostering diversity. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has also sped up the marathon for women’s rights in multiple aspects. That being said, companies – in this case, those in technology sector – will still need to relook and improvise some of their efforts in promoting gender equality in the workspace to ensure a sustainable change.