Championing inclusiveness and diversity in tech across the region

Championing inclusiveness and diversity in tech across the region 657 404 C-Suite Network
Championing inclusiveness and diversity in tech across the region

This year, I made the risky decision to relocate to Singapore to further drive the expansion of my two interconnected companies, Gemstar Technology (a tech launch-pad) and Manning & Co (a strategic marketing consultancy).

The move has been hugely positive in many ways. Unfortunately, it has also brought to my attention an issue that permeates the tech and start-up community not only in Australia, but Singapore and the wider region – discrimination against female entrepreneurs and other minorities.

Discrimination in the tech and start-up community

From Malaysian tech entrepreneur, Cheryl Yeoh, to Australian co-founder of Diverse City Careers, Gemma Lloyd, women are speaking out about the discrimination they have experienced from male investors, partners and colleagues in the tech community. Having experienced such discrimination firsthand, I felt it was time to write about my own experiences starting a business in Asia.

It hasn’t been an easy road to set up a strong and reputable presence for Gemstar in Singapore, which plays heavily in the tech and innovation space. When I first pitched Gemstar to an existing Australian incubator, who had no presence in ASEAN, the founder turned his back on me during the lunch to talk to his VC mate.

Further, I’m often assumed to be the PR or Events Manager at our events, rather than the Gemstar Founder/Director. Time and time again, I’ve experienced outright gender discrimination, and I’ve heard many stories of discrimination against age and race.

We need to create an inclusive culture for women and other minority groups in tech

Promoting a more inclusive business culture is not a nice-to-have, but a must-have that needs to take place in Australia, ASEAN and around the world. I can’t believe we’re still having this conversation in 2017.