The mission of WIT, Women In Tech, is to inspire talented women to consider a future in media and technology. It’s supposed to provide network and expertise and that wish was really fulfilled at Musikaliska in Stockholm last week.
The tickets for the event could have been the double, lots of people wanted to join. 600 persons, mostly women, attended to take part of many inspiring speakers. There were several panels during the afternoon discussing different topics. Charlotte Fors from Mblox talked about the lack of women in Silicon Valley and her work to change that. Rosie Linder, founder PeppyPals told us she’s not really a tech woman and that actually helped her realize her dream. She was ”naive enough to think everything is possible”. That thinking helps a lot, how many times haven’t you been told that you can’t do something? At least I have, but keep on fighting for your ideas and dreams!
We need to change norms
Another panel talked about making difference within the industry. Jennifer Råsten, Netlight was really spot on when talking about norms. We need to change them, change how we work, who you put on stage, how you work with teams etc. She also told us about a very interesting example regarding another norm that a lot of people are struggling against, vegetarian vs meat.
In order to change the meat norm they only ordered vegetarian food for lunch meetings etc. Those who wanted meat were the ones that had to tick a box to get ”special food”. A wonderful example of how you can change something quite easy. It’s not hard to make that change – just change some words, but the outcome is much more than that. As Jennifer said, ”If you tear down an old structure and build a new, how do you do to put the new in order? You need to be tough!” Word.
In year 2063 we will have equal teams, is that ok? Nine out of ten board members in Sweden are men and the name Anders is more common than than the female presence. Isn’t that a bit embarrassing? ”Old is ugly, make it new” Jennifer Råsten called out. This is ugly indeed, let’s make a change! As Ulrika Saxon put it, we need to do more on all levels. It’s not only about the boards – work from pre school to top management! It’s important to start at the beginning, at young age. Isabella Södergren, founder of Kids Hack Day knows that girls are as interested in tech as boys are but what happens then? Again – there we have the norms, don’t we?
Anna Wikland, Google, Alexandra Drevenlid, Tele2 and Lina Bronéus, Viaplay talked about leadership and the importance of being encouraging. Lift each other, share positive things, include and endorse. The last panel on stage, Annie Wegelius, entrepreneur, Helene Barnekow, TeliaSonera and Ingrid Bonde, Vattenfall also talked about leadership. ”Don’t fake what you’re not good at. And don’t do what you’re not good at, that’s only taking a lot of time.” Annie declared. She also wanted other perspectives, ”Let’s talk about failure, not only success.” Marta Sjögren, Northzone Ventures talked about failure to: ”Fail fast, fail often, that’s the way to succeed”.
”Diversity and being picky is necessary if you don’t want to fail. And remember, managing people is a relay race, not a marathon” Annie said about leadership. Eva Fors, Microsoft who won the Leadership Award said ”Leadership is something rare and delicate. I learn every day”.
What happens now? We need to continue our work for an equal industry and Paulina M Söderlund put it well: ”Diversity builds better value”. So what are you wanting for? We need to DO something, not only talk and WIT is a start that’s very welcome. The afternoon gave so much energy and inspiration, now we need to continue the work. And not only about hiring more women, it’s about how you see other women and girls. The LikeAGirl-campaign is a fantastic example, we have to work with norms as well. You find a post about LikeAGirl in tech business here, read it if you haven’t.
The main sponsors MTGx, Google, Spotify, Tele2, Bonnier, TeliaSonera and Schibsted are companies that work for a more equal industry, I hope more companies will follow. Make a change now! Lisa Parfelt, Spotify, made the statement of the day with her words of getting things done, I use them to end this summary and hope that everyone will follow. If more people were like that I guess things would move a bit faster: ”Get shit done and have fun!”.
Thank you all for a great event!