Mentor programs to challenge inequality in tech

female IT
The Committee hopes its mentoring program can lead to greater representation of women in the industry. Image - Unsplash
  • An annual report from Monash University is seeking to promote dedicated mentoring programs
  • This is to ensure greater diversity within the IT sector

The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, which was formed by the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University in 2020, hopes to advocate for underrepresented groups in IT.

The EDI has released its first annual report which identifies commitments and initiatives it hopes will achieve a more equal, fair and inclusive IT industry.

Diversity is prevalent in the Committee whose members consist of professional staff, academic and student representatives. It believes by making equity and diversity a priority it can be achieved not just within IT at Monash University itself but also in the wider industry.    

Associate Professor Yolande Strengers, who is also the Associate Dean for the EDI, believes even small changes could have lasting impacts in promoting diversity within IT.

“The pandemic has impacted all of us, but women and carers have felt the effects on their studies and careers most acutely, alongside disadvantaged groups like those living with a disability or mental health condition

“The achievements of the EDI Committee throughout 2020 are a step in the right direction and I hope that we can continue these efforts in 2021.”

Associate Professor Strengers

She was also recently nominated in the Women in AI Awards.

The annual report released by the EDI has focused on three key areas: community outreach, staff initiatives and student initiatives.

Ways to make an impact on the industry include dedicated diversity and inclusion awards for students as well as equal representation at industry panels and speaking events.

EDI’s initiatives correlate strongly with those of Monash University.

Specifically, they advocate for all genders, socio-economic statuses, ethnicities, cultural and linguistic backgrounds and medical conditions – including mental health.

The committee aims to build on achievements in 2021 to improve opportunities for disadvantaged students and staff along with those underrepresented.

Locally, here in WA there are many groups in this field. One such group is the Women in Tech [+] WA who host many events and initiatives aimed at better female representation in IT.

Check out a Women in Tech panel interview featured in a Startup West podcast from 2019 consisting of Louise Daw, Sofie De Meyer and Beth Canigila moderated by our very own Charlie Gunningham. Also, SheCodes’ Kate Kirwin’s chat with Startup West last year.

Of course, talking about women in IT, who can forget about Perth-born Melanie Perkins, co-founder of Canva, arguably the most well-known startup from Perth?

Along with disrupting the publishing industry – which includes major players such as Adobe – she is one of the youngest female CEOs of a unicorn startup ever.

She is also currently the richest self-made woman in Australia.