Inclusion in Tech: What does it mean for Pakistan’s future?
It is a brave new world, with the dawn of digital age upon us, inclusivity has become the talk of the town. And with Pakistan actively benefiting and thriving from the tech industry, the question holds, that while our country is busy adapting the latest technology and coming up with innovative solutions. Will it also accept the inclusive mindset that is currently prevailing throughout the world?
In this piece, we will be highlighting the era of digital transformation, how inclusion is driving change, and what all of it means for Pakistan’s future and its tech industry.
What do we mean by inclusion and diversity? And why is diversity so important in technology?
Well, the answer is simple; diversity is the reality of our world. And being inclusive is the smart choice that will propel us into the next digital age. These two should not just be the responsibility of HR personnel, but of organizations, enterprises, and our society.
This is because inclusion drives change, it drives innovation, and it gives room for new ideas, opportunities, and talent. Workforce diversity and inclusion are not just good for business but also good for society as a whole. Recent studies show that where there is inclusion, a significant increase in revenues, innovation, and effective decision making is observed.
When organizations focus on building a welcoming and nurturing environment for a diverse workforce, great things happen. Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workforce, and in product design introduces more innovation, provides better services, and appeals to more people. Inclusion is the key to success, to change, to create out of the box solutions, and to achieve diverse talent. And those who are investing in creating inclusive workspaces, are going to take the lead in this age of inclusion and digital transformation.
It is crystal clear that we are living in the age of the digital revolution. We are evolving our ways of communication, work, transport, and even thinking. Our country is at the forefront of this revolution. However, it is not as advanced or evolved as we would like it to be. Pakistan exists in all four stages of the Industrial Revolution. Agriculture still being in first, and commerce, IT, and finance is advancing to the fourth stage.
With that being said, we are in no means falling behind. At least not when it comes to the tech industry. But the question is, that is Pakistan welcoming the most significant change of the fourth Industrial Revolution? Are we embracing inclusivity? Are women and minorities included?
The sad thing is, in theory, the majority of diverse groups are being left behind. Gender bias and racism are still prevalent even in the presence of competent female leaders, CEOs, mentors, and workers. Women are paid less, overworked, ridiculed, and treated with bias. Employees from diverse backgrounds and cultures are subjected to bias, lower pay, and even harassment. However, change is on its way. There is work being done on creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment for young women, differently-abled individuals, and people from different backgrounds in the industry. Programs and Bootcamps, like CodeGirls, are working on injecting female talent into the IT sector. And women in all levels of the technology industry are raising their voices against bias, gender pay gap, harassment, racism, and more.
To ensure that women, differently-abled, and people from diverse backgrounds are included in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we need to tackle social perceptions, bias, harassment, pay gaps, and more. We need to create more programs centring around women to equip them with tech skills. Increased enrollment of diverse individuals in the computer, science, technology, and engineering subjects is required from school to university level.
“We need to resist the tyranny of low expectations. We need to open our eyes to the inequality that remains. We won’t unlock the full potential of the workplace until we see how far from equality we are.” — Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
Our country is stepping into the digital age, and it will need all the help it can get. Marginalizing half of the population of the country is going to do more harm than good. Women, as well as diverse individuals, are required to drive the tech revolution and take our country to a prosperous next level.
Originally published at https://www.womenintechpk.com on May 16, 2020.