DCN SE Hub News

How to develop the next generation of female digital leaders

*Key points by Ioanna Georgia Eskiadi 

Statistics measuring the overall presence of women leaders and entrepreneurs are really discouraging. Women are under-represented in the digital sector. There is a need for both men and women, working in the industry, to encourage and inspire women to develop and launch careers in the digital space. It is a demanding and dynamic field requiring humility, adaptability, vision, and constant engagement, where women can make a difference. The priorities need to change and especially young women should be helped to develop the hard, soft, and entrepreneurial skills necessary to become digital influencers, and to dominate the digital environment. 

Family VS professional life 
For women it’s difficult to balance family and professional life, so they need mentors who will help them face their challenges. We should do something to solve problems and issues like gender equality, sexual harassment, and discrimination in work environment. It’s important for companies to change their mindset and start becoming more inclusive. In the business sector what lacks is the mindset of who can be or should be entrepreneurial and start their own business. It’s important to encourage women and empower them to start their business. Also, we need to create a database connecting younger female leaders with more senior women in the sector in order to learn, engage, communicate and network. 

“If we want a real change, we should start changing the systems.”

Women in the digital sector face numerous challenges, like the lack of awareness of the opportunities that they could have in the sector. Also, there are cultural stereotypes which set barriers to women to look beyond the horizon and the traditional career they had. Working in technology means a lot of different and complex issues and being part of the digital economy means that you will be on the front line. Another challenge is that girls and women don’t want to work in technology, so they then become mothers because of existing biases and the bro culture. When women work in a male dominated environment that is not inclusive, they face challenges like balancing work and family life. Women times are often obliged to choose between work and personal life. Another challenge is the lack of confidence when applying for jobs. Women are not frequently promoted for high and senior level jobs and they are stuck in the same positions since there is a lack of confidence to get to a higher level.

Women can bring diversity in decision-making processes in a fully male-dominated space. Women most of the times are afraid that they are not able to balance the work and family life. So, there is the great need for change in the workplace, which is made by men for men who don’t have family responsibilities. It’s crucial to create the conditions and the support system for digital female leaders to become the majority. By achieving that we will have a more diverse and inclusive environment. Diversity is important and women should be part of the solution. Also, we should enable women to take leadership positions. Nowadays roles have changed; women are part of the working society and this is creating amazing assets. It’s also important to create policies for women from all social and economic backgrounds. The laws need to change. The young generation needs to be educated in order to make work places even better and more female friendly.

“The absence of women from technology makes no inclusive services and products.”

In workspaces, we need more humility, adaptability, and vision. Women should try different positions and participate in various projects when they are young to see what they are passionate about. Women also need to stick together and start thinking how their own decisions and attitudes impact the women who come after us. We need confidence, determination, and extra hard work. We also need to support and listen to each other and provide capacity for and peer to peer trainings for young women. More female role models are needed in order to be positive and realistic.

“Leave space to young women to teach us how the society and the culture changes.”

Watch the virtual discussion on demand: 

-Stella Kasdagli, Co-founder of Women on Top, Greece
-Nina Nikolic, leader at Womenpreneurs Balkans, North Macedonia
-Zuzana Pison, Technology Stream Lead of Globsec Policy Institute, Slovakia 

Marianna Tanagia, Communication Manager of Digital Communication Network, Greece

This event was co-organized by Digital Communication Network SouthEast Europe Hub (DCN SEE) and World Learning and is part of DCNSEE’s Ideas in Action – Digital Engagement, a series of virtual events launched in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.

DCN SOUTHEAST EUROPE HUB is a consortium of Aristotle University, Digital Communication Network, non-profits, public and private organizations and companies involved in the fields of digital communication, social impact campaigns, technology, and innovation. It is a unique, interdisciplinary coalition tapping into the best talent and resources across Europe.