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The Best Of Hong Kong
Lifestyle News
By Kate Springer | September 24th, 2015
Women still lag behind when it comes to roles in the tech and science sector, with just 33 percent of female first-year university students enrolling in technology, engineering, math and science. Karen Farzam, co-founder of WomenWhoCodeHK, tells The Loop what you need to know about the tech scene in Hong Kong and how to get involved.

A little background

Karen Farzam started her career in finance as a derivative equity trader and then switched to a pure software engineer role in a IoT startup for a few months before starting her own startup, W Hub. The company has worked with over 400 startups to date, and raised over US$16 million in startup funding. Karen also started WomenWhoCodeHK, alongside Michelle Sun, in order to provide a community for women developers to work together, and also to create a safe place for women to ask questions.

5 things you should know, according to Karen

1. We need more women in tech

Not only in Hong Kong, but we need more women in tech everywhere. It is not just about gender diversity, but diversity in general that is always better for each industry. The tech startup industry is booming and creates a lot of job opportunities. Only one quarter of the workforce is female and there is no reason why they should be left behind and not benefit from it. The Women’s Foundation is also doing awesome work in supporting and helping women get into tech and entrepreneurship. Every type of diversity leads to better results.

 Only one quarter of the workforce is female and there is no reason why they should be left behind and not benefit from it
2. Coding is actually pretty easy to learn

Women are interested in tech and want to learn to code. We get a lot of requests from women who want to change their career paths and go into coding. We see journalists, designers, finance, marketing… all types of backgrounds. This actually reflects how easy and accessible it is to learn to code nowadays: they can all learn the basics fast and improve their knowledge if they want to and if they enjoy it.

WomenWhoCode HK
A peek inside a WomenWhoCode HK Classroom
3. It’s not too hard to get involved

Some women want to launch their own start-up and know it is hard to find a technical co-founder, therefore a solution is to teach yourself how to code. Some women just want to understand the basics. Women can join our Facebook group, join our monthly meetups.

4. Education is the problem…

The tech world in Hong Kong is not that discriminating against women. We do not have a lot of women in tech because we do not have a lot of women studying tech fields. If we want to change this, we need to change how we teach the younger generations what they can do. We need to show them more women role models — and I think we already have quite a few in Hong Kong.

We need to show them more women role models — and I think we already have quite a few in Hong Kong.

5. …but also the solution
I would really like to see every woman engineer and web developer spend one hour of their time in a high school or university to show the younger generation that they can do whatever they want, that coding and engineering are not only for men but for everyone. We need to change both men and women’s minds if we want to see a change in the future.

 And looking to the future?

I hope we won’t have any more separate “women in tech” lists because women in tech will be the norm, and it won’t surprise anyone anymore. Let’s hope we won’t be talking about the need to fight for gender diversity in tech anymore. I am sure we will have other fights to win.