The trend we needed to set : Vogue Codes : Live
I came across this initiative three years ago through Vogue Magazine’s social media promos, when they first launched the concept for Vogue Codes: a conference to encourage more women to grow their capacity in working with technology in their careers. At that time, I thought; 'wouldn't this be great PL for teachers?' and secondly, 'wouldn't this be a great excursion opportunity for girls?'.
Fast forward to 2018 when I attended my first Vogue Codes event at Carriageworks, Vogue Codes: Live - and what an EVENT! The location, the styling, the brand "activations" (another term for promo stands with activities for attendees to participate in) and the entire essence of the event were a true and contemporary representation of women and technology in Australia.
Edwina McCann, the Editor in Chief of Vogue Australia, opened the speaking sessions with stats that we all know and have heard of about women in tech. The one that most resonated with me related to the current issue of little or no improvement in the numbers of women in technology. McCann emphasised that
“we are living in the time of the lowest rate (35%) of women working in the tech industry. ”
— EDWINA MCCANN, EDITOR IN CHIEF, VOGUE AUSTRALIA
This doesn't surprise me.
Don't get me wrong, the number of women in the room at Vogue Codes: Live was extremely encouraging but a rare sight. That being, women at an event focused on technology and outnumbering the men. It's no longer an issue we can ignore if we keep repeating the statistics, but those stats don't budge. There are many initiatives with the aim of attracting young women and girls to learn to code and study computer science but what entices women who are currently in different industries to build their technological skillset? Are we focusing too much on the future generation and losing sight of the current?
I think Vogue Codes is trying to focus on the now, the women who are living in this generation of gender disparity in technology. I really feel that McCann and her team are trying to build capacity of the current generation of women to explore how they can become more technically literate and confident with technology in their fields of work. It's working - McCann announced that other chapters of Vogue will be adopting the Vogue Codes concept, this ladies, is going to be a global initiative!
Meena Harris, Head of Strategy & Leadership at Uber, is also the founder of The Phenomenal Women Action Campaign and was the highlight speaker of the event for me. She said, 'the future is female but only if the fight is female', which is why we started ed/it women co.
“the future is female but only if the fight is female ”
— MEENA HARRIS, FOUNDER OF THE PHENOMENAL WOMEN ACTION CAMPAIGN
ed/it women co. aims to encourage women and young girls into technology careers and to shift their mindsets to believe that they have the capability to contribute to the tech space. Our drive comes from our own desires and needs to be encouraged, supported and connected to likeminded women who are going to inspire us to grow within our roles. Our fight is more of a shift to what's right for women. We want to bring men along on our journey, to truly allow men to understand and support the women who are in their teams, and to prosper in their roles.
My learning from Vogue Codes: Live was more profound than I could ever imagine. It made me realise that there is a definite need and necessity for ed/it women co. We need to nurture women of our current generation to build and grow their technological skills to redefine what the future landscape of technology will be for the next generation.