APNIC 48 Women in ICT Lunch session summary

At each APNIC conference, there is a dedicated session for women in ICT. APNIC48 held in Chiang Mai, Thailand had a Women in ICT lunch session on Thursday 12th September.

The session was sponsored by IPv4 Global, about 100 people participated – with a female/male balance of approximately half and half.

The session was filmed and made available on Facebook Live through the APNIC Facebook account at the following URL: https://www.facebook.com/APNIC/videos/513469386148037/

The session consisted of an open forum over lunch followed by the contribution of three invited speakers: Narelle Wakely, Mary Rose Ofianga and Pensri Arunwatanamongkol.

During the first part of the session different topics were discussed at the tables, themed around challenges experienced by women in the ICT sector.

Summaries about these discussions were shared with the rest of the room.

The guest speakers then shared some insights from their personal stories.

Some of the most inspiring insights that were shared during thE session were about how in different economies women experience different challenges.

In South Asian countries women are not expected to do field jobs and usually end up doing documentation work.

While in Thailand and India, the ICT sector is a female dominated sector.

Mansplaining was discussed, this is something some men do to try to dominate women, explaining something that women already know and may even do better than them.

Also, a collection of amazing advice was shared:

• Be confident and empower yourself.
• Don’t be afraid to try, keep trying, have fun and if you fail try again.
• Learn by doing. Keep learning new things.
• Even when failing, be kind to yourself, worry less and enjoy life more. Listen to yourself and be true to yourself.
• Embrace the differences instead of trying to be more like men.

Guest speakers talked about the importance of team work to maximize everybody’s potential and the importance of women networking forums and communities.

Guest Speakers also talked about how all have a responsibility to make a change and create the right culture and for that, action needs to be taken by participating, being a role model, being a mentor.

The importance of empathy when suffering from bullying and impostor syndrome was also discussed.

To facilitate the discussions, the following questions were printed on cards and placed on the different tables:

  • What are your biggest challenges you have encountered in your IT career so far?
  • What advice would you give to your younger self now?
  • What tip would you recommend to show your inner self in a male-dominated environment?
  • Who are your female role models in the industry? Why?
  • Do you feel you can be your true self at work? Why? Why not?
  • How do you celebrate your achievements?
  • Have you suffered from Impostor Syndrome? How did you deal with it?
  • How do you balance your personal and your professional responsibilities?
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