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NZ closing the gender gap but tech sector lags behind

04 Mar 2019

New Zealand has risen two places to the seventh most gender equal country in the world in the latest World Economic Forum report on the issue.

NZTech director Eva Sherwood says overall New Zealand has closed more than 80 per cent of its gender gap for the first time since the forum’s index began.

The most gender-equal country to date is Iceland, followed by Norway, Sweden and Finland.

But in the New Zealand tech sector, only 26 per cent of staff are women.

The forum’s gender gap report also found that globally, women represent just 22 per cent of the AI workforce.

“For us Kiwis, more effort absolutely needs to be made in New Zealand to address the gender diversity gap, especially in technology. Some women need mentoring and at NZTech we provide a mentoring programme for our members,” Sherwood says.

“But we won't make significant progress on our goals without the majority of our tech sector actively supporting us. It is fundamental that we include women in our community, projects and events."  

“We also run ShadowTech Day to inspire schoolgirls to get into a tech career. The power to change the gender diversity gap in tech sits with all of us, the majority of whom are men."

“Men hold almost all of the governance positions, most of the leadership positions and a greater proportion of the individual roles in our businesses."

“The tech industry has been talking about the value of better gender balance in the workplace and increasing the number of women in leadership, for decades. "

“Instead of the burden being carried by the small number of women in tech to attract and retain women, why are we not looking at our male majority to make a real impact on this important business issue?"

“Until we start engaging men in the diversity conversation the weight of the problem will continue to fall unfairly on our female shoulders,” Sherwood says.