What would you tell the richest woman in the world? Be a role model for other women
June 13, 2012 by Joyce HUANG
It’s official — mining heiress and businesswoman Gina Rinehart is the richest woman in the world and the richest person in Australia.
So what would you tell her to do with all that wealth, fame and status? That was the final question posed to panelists for The X Factor in Tech track at Echelon 2012.
Featuring tech entrepreneurs like Carmen Benitez, president of Fetch Plus, Roshni Mahtani, founder and CEO of Tickled Media, Kristine Lauria, Digital Media Consultant at Mission Street Media and Girls in Tech CEO and Founder Adriana Gascoigne, the session was peppered with debate about gender stereotypes and women bringing the X-Factor to startups.
The panel started with moderator Yeoh Siew Hoon, Editor and Producer of Web in Travel, jokingly quipping that the organizers at e27 had left their session to the last slot because women should always have the last say. Interestingly, Carmen pointed out that the majority of female speakers for the conference were there for this particular panel.
The general consensus on stage, when questions quickly turned to pointing out differences between men and women – was that we are more similar than different.
Even though there are some behavioral differences when women and men use or develop products, we shouldn’t differentiate our consumers based on gender just for the sake of doing so.
Adriana Gascoigne remarked, “I have some issues with these questions, because at Girls in Tech, we don’t focus on the differences between genders and stereotypes. What’s more important is that you build a good product that people value and genuinely solve a problem.”
Roshni added,” I don’t think it’s a matter of gender, you shouldn’t let anything stop you from doing what you really want to it. Ultimately, it’s your life to live.”
What needs to be done, perhaps, is to have more female founders as role models “coming out” to mentor and build a supportive network for younger females to look up to and learn from quickly.
Kristine said,” I would tell her [Gina Reinhart] to come out and be a role model for other women and engage herself with the rest of the community. These networks are important in building an eco-system. When women see another woman who has succeeded, they can tell themselves that they can do it as well.”
Well, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. And like Carmen said, we might have some time to go before we see the tech scene, as welcoming as it is to women, become more gender balanced.
In meantime, it’s a good start having these ladies speaking at one of Asia’s largest startup events and we look forward to having more of them set examples for the rest of the women in this region.
Noticeable absence of women from startup pitches and panel at #Echelon2012
— Natalie Marinho (@RecogPattern) June 11, 2012
Organized by tech blog e27 for the third year running, Echelon 2012 is a key startup launchpad in Asia with over 1,100 delegates in attendance and 50 startups exhibiting in the Marketplace. Check out SGE’s coverage of the event.
Find out more about SGE’s research arm: SGE Insights, providing customized in-depth research reports to help you navigate the business of technology in Asia.
About The Author
Joyce HUANG - Resident Contributing Writer
Joyce is on the founding team of Singapore Geek Girls, a local initiative that serves as a platform for females to connect, share, contribute, mentor and learn from each other. She is currently learning how to code so that she can stop bugging developers. You are more than welcome to teach her.Read other posts by Joyce HUANG