Reports & Findings

Ten Factors That Impact Women’s Socioeconomic Status

Fempeak 10 Sep 2020, 10:54 pm

On September 10th 2020, Somi Arian hosted the first session of the Women in Business and Technology Think Tank dedicated to empowering women to reach their full potential. The session was held online, with twelve panelists speaking and tackling the issue of what holds women back in business and tech, and a Q&A section at the end.

Somi Arian is a tech philosopher, filmmaker, author, entrepreneur, speaker and ‘Transition Architect’ for a new era of human evolution as we merge with technology. She is the hostess and founder of this Think Tank and creator of the FemTalent initiative

This Think Tank was born from Somi Arian’s desire to see women in the top tiers of socioeconomic progress, business and technology. When looking at the decision makers from any field, from science and technology, to politics, law, economics, and academia, Arian quickly realized the lack of women among the top 100 of any discipline.

This conference aims to explore why this is the case, what are the historical roots of this discrepancy and how technology can help change this narrative. Somi Arian has been researching women’s role throughout history to understand why their full potential still remains untapped. In this fast changing world, women should be part of the picture that is shaping the future of humanity. Women bring a new perspective to leadership, new ways of thinking, and this is something that will benefit all of humankind.

This Think Tank is part of a conference series that will be held every six weeks with experts on different areas coming in to tackle this matter. The topics discussed in these conferences will be driven from Somi Arian’s hypothesis that what has been holding women back goes back to the topic of information (or lack thereof), which is the glue that binds together these three elements that condition the human experience:

– Nature: biology, DNA, which defines mental and physical potentiality.
– Nurture: is driven by the environment, which includes culture, education, law, politics, economy, workplace, and technology.
– Self: free will which allows humans to impact on their biology and environment. Humans may not have complete control over nature & nurture, but they co-create their destiny with their universe.

Somi Arian argues that without information, the self cannot impact on its environment and biology, because it cannot change what it does not know.

The panelists in each conference will belong to these different sectors and will provide their unique points of views to address this issue that is holding women back from reaching their full potential in business, technology, and society itself.

The panelists in attendance for this first conference are: Tony Fish, Dr. Sophie Bartsich, Dr. Sophia Yen, Dr. Leah Austin, Justine Southall, Laura Burkemper, Andie Kramer, Kerry Fulton, Natalie Cline, Toju Duke, Dr. Andi Simon, and Sara Milne Rowe.

Introduction

Somi Arian introduces the conference by exposing the challenges women face, and have faced, since the very beginning of our species’ existence. As mentioned above, she notes that when looking at the decision makers in any field, from science and technology to politics, economics, and academia, women are mostly absent from the top tier. She brings forward the objective of the conference which is to delve into why this is so, the historical roots of this incongruence and poses the question as to how, with the advantages of new technologies, this can be solved. How can women as individuals create change? She expresses that waiting for governments and corporations is not an option. She states the hypothesis to be explored in the conference regarding the roots of this disparity, which goes back to a restriction in the flow of information TO women, and ABOUT women.  Referring to the outcome of this as an unconscious bias.

She talks about the three elements that impact all human experience: nature, nurture, and the self. And refers to information as the glue that binds all of these together, and how this lack of information has been impeding women’s self from impacting their biology and environment.

Somi Arian goes on to explain how, for women, these challenges start with their biology at the most fundamental level due to the fact that nature designed them as the childbearing sex. The inconsistency in the flow of data to women began back with human’s hunter-gatherer ancestors, when men had to go out and hunt and women remained at the base camp. This allowed men to collaborate, compete, and build tools, all which led them to gain knowledge, develop technology and obtain important information about the world. This information, Arian exposes, was not shared with women, giving place to this information gap.

Knowledge is power, and the male dominance in the homo sapiens is a great example of this.

Besides the lack of flow of data towards women, Somi Arian adds that the biological effects of childbirth, menstruation, menopause, and unpaid labour around the house also contributed in limiting women’s freedom of movement, education, and self-development.

This is something that still happens today, in our 21st Century society. Although women sit on the boards of many companies and organisations, Arian countered that the majority of deals still happen when men socialise outside of the work environment, in evening clubs where women are mostly never present for cultural and practical reasons.

She suggested that to tackle the issue of the lack of women in the top tier, we first must acknowledge the problem of the restriction of data and information to women and about women, before rounding on the issues of biology and environment.

With this in mind, she invited up the first speaker, Tony Fish.

Tony Fish

Director, Pioneer, Polymath – Data

Tony Fish specialises in data and judgment and complexity, and he discussed the historical trend of data gap that has held women back. He recognised that this gap is now increasing as algorithms enter every aspect of our decision making. Somi Arian asked Tony about how this data gap works and what are the long term consequences of failing to address this issue?

He began by defining the current system in our society, the white male system, which was built by and for white males who think alike, behave alike, speak alike, and have been educated in the same top schools and universities.​

This system has been built by these men over generations, adding in more bias towards their kind. Today, people that are different from the developers of the system, people that do not comply with the system, are rejected by it.

He began by defining the current system in our society, the white male system, which was built by and for white males who think alike, behave alike, speak alike, and have been educated in the same top schools and universities. He explains that it is critical to understand that all of this non-compliant data, rejected by the system, gender, race, and ways of thinking, is only the beginning of the problem we are facing.

The issue at hand is how to change the infrastructure that now collects and accumulates all this data that does comply with the system, and continues perpetuating these same biases.

He says that as we rush towards the digital world, all this data that reinforces these outdated biases is only benefiting those that match the algorithm. For all the others, who do not match the system, their data has become a problem. In this digital world, Tony explains, we are all being judged, not by others, but by an invisible system that has been created to match a certain group’s data. He expresses the need to address the data gap now, issues with gender and race, because what truly makes us human, is our differences.

Next, Somi Arian introduces Dr. Sophie Bartsich to introduce the biological factors that have influenced women throughout history.

Dr. Sophie Bartsich

MD, FACS & Board Certified Plastic Surgeon – Biology​

Dr Bartsich is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who specialises in breast surgery. She is also the founder of a Biotech company that’s researching a potential breast cancer vaccine. She will discuss how women’s only health issues are not always studied or validated as are general health concerns that affect men to a similar degree. The question Somi Arian posed to Dr Bartsich, still on the subject of information, was about her experience and observations in the field about the misinformation or lack of information with regards to women’s health, and what can be done about it.

Dr. Bartsich began by first pointing out that although people talk a lot about the gender gap in wage pay and education, very little is known about the gender gap in healthcare.

Women’s health issues suffer from a range of disadvantages that can be classified as limitations in availability, education, and coverage. She talked about two very common issues specific to women, which are postpartum abdominal wall reconstruction and breast reduction surgery, and pointed out how in both cases, they are usually dismissed as not medically necessary.

She highlighted that in the case of abdominal wall reconstruction, it is not only an aesthetic issue, but it can lead to a range of health issues such as back pain and bulges that contribute to incontinence, core weakness and difficulties in doing regular activities.

There is very little information available about the possible solutions, and even when they are provided, they are not covered by insurances. When speaking of breast reduction surgery, she pointed out that women are routinely refused coverage for a simple procedure that will improve their overall lives, unless they go through a year and a half of physical therapy and visiting a chiropractor, which will not reduce their breast’s size.

She compared these women-only issues to most gender neutral conditions, like sports injuries, and mentioned how there are very specific rehabilitation protocols in place for them, and how for pregnancy, which has the most life-altering impact on a body, there is no rehab system that is recognised or covered. She went one step further and highlighted that most insurance companies cover male-specific issues, such as erectile dysfunction.

To conclude, she reiterated that there is a significant gap in healthcare information for women, and pointed out that as women achieve professionally there seems to be an expectation that they should manage those concerns on their own. She calls women to action to effectuate change from within.

With this, Somi Arian introduced the next guest, Dr. Sophia Yen.

Dr. Sophia Yen

CEO & CoFounder of Pandiahealth.com – Biology

She is a clinical associate professor at Stanford, and CEO and co-founder of Pandia Health, birth control delivery. She has 20 years plus experience in medicine and a passion for women’s health. Seeing as menstruation is one of most women’s earliest experiences, Dr. Yen talks about how this aspect of women’s biology has historically impacted women’s socioeconomic progress and their position in the business, political, and academic realm.

She starts by mentioning that menstruation is the number one cause for missed school and work in women under the age of 25. It starts around the age of 12 (in girls in countries with higher calorie intake) and lasts for most of their adult lives until menopause.

Without medication, women should have a period once a month, however with medication or hormonal treatment, they can reduce this amount. By reducing the number of periods, women can decrease their risk of ovarian, endometrial, and colorectal cancer. She explained that although the extra estrogen exposure with hormonal birth control does increase the risk of breast cancer, the benefits of preventing endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancer far outweigh this disadvantage. Apart from this, less periods are also beneficial for improving the quality of life of women and for the environment.

She remarked that although many people argue that less periods are not natural, she states that what doesn’t seem natural is the incessant amount of periods women have nowadays.

She explains that the Dogan tribe in Mali, have about 100 periods in their lifetimes, while women in the western world seem to have between 350 and 400. Women in the modernised world appear to have three to four times the amounts of periods they should. Dr. Yen concluded that there is a serious need for more options for turning on and off periods, there should be more money for research on these matters and about the long term side effects that could be encountered through using these methods.

The next speaker was Dr. Leah Austin.

Dr. Leah Austin

GP and Nutritional Therapist – Biology

Dr. Leah Austin is a GP and Nutritional Therapist who specialises in Chronic, Hormone, Gut, and Nutrigenomics health. Somi Arian asked her to explain how hormones affect women’s mental and physical health throughout their lives, from puberty, childbirth, to menopause. She asked about  what innovations are missing in this area and, what short term and long term investments are needed?

Dr. Austin begins by explaining how menstruation impacts a woman’s life.

Throughout the cycle women go from weeks full of energy and good estrogen levels, to something called the corpus luteum in which their bodies produces progesterone and can make them feel sleepy, bloated, and more, thus making it harder to concentrate and promoting a higher intake of sugar rich foods which also impact energy levels.

She says that there are also a lot of women who suffer from debilitating PMS symptoms, and there is still not enough research available as to how this is influenced by genetic or environmental factors.

She mentioned that although hormonal contraceptives, like the pill, may seem like the solution, oftentimes they serve just as a bandaid that suppresses the connection between the brain and the ovaries, rather than get to the root of the hormonal imbalance. Also, there is more evidence becoming available about the post-birth control depletion syndrome (PBCS), which can affect women for up to 6 months after discontinuing hormonal birth control.

As she moved on to the topic of menopause, she remarked on the severe side effects that women must endure, like urinary incontinence, hot flashes, tiredness, etc. and that some women never recover from these byproducts of getting new hormones. Linking on to what Dr. Bartsich spoke about, she mentioned that women do not have access to treatment that will give them the hormones to get switched on again, and that  although they do exist they are not available in national health.

She finished by underlining once more that  there should be more information for women, education, and studies, and that we cannot depend on pharmaceuticals and the government to lead the way. We need to improve the system from within to lead the way.

Until this point the panelists looked at the biological aspects that have influenced women’s development.

The next speaker introduced by Somi Arian was Justine Southall to move the conference on to the realm of environmental factors.

Justine Southall

Former MD Marie Claire, Director at Marie Claire, Jetstyle – Culture

Justine Southall is an ex-Managing Director of Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan magazines and has over three decades of experience in the media. She talked about how culture from early upbringing in the family unit to society at large, influences women’s career and socioeconomic impact.

She spoke about the gender roles imposed on men and women since early childhood, and how these are not women’s only issues, but society’s. These gender roles affect both men and women, but impact on women’s development in the workplace. She mentioned how every year a lot of women are lost from the workforce because they have had a baby, due to lack of affordable childcare and work flexibility in many organisations. She explained how these gender biases also affect men who feel they are not allowed to request different working conditions for fear of being penalised, like it happens to women.

She exhorts us to implement changes in our behaviour that will then lead to actual changes in society, so that more women will remain in the workforce and in turn, reach those leadership roles. She pointed out how now, with the COVD19 pandemic, we have an opportunity to impulse this change.

During lockdown, many men have realised the positive benefits of being at home, less commute, more productivity, more time with family, etc. Southall pointed out how the younger generations have different life aspirations and expectations and will not conform to work the same way we have been doing so far. She explained how we need to take advantage of this false behavioural change and push on towards a concurrent attitudinal shift that does not penalise men or women for wanting to work differently, in turn, this will also help close the pay gap.

She reasons that we need to take advantage of the flexibility and agile working that technology and COVID19 have produced, and make use of social platforms to drive change.

We need to make good use of this opportunity, this moment that has allowed us to build momentum around worker equality and the positive benefits for employees and productivity.

The next panelist introduced by Arian was Laura Burkemper on the subject of economics.

Laura Burkemper

CEO of The Catalyst Center – Economics

Laura Burkemper is CEO of The Catalyst Center, which helps companies build brand capital, market, and scale. She also teaches the course “New Venture Feasibility” which is ranked 10th of 2,600+ entrepreneurship programs. She shed some light on how factors like education, income, earning, and societal realities affect women’s economic outlook, and women’s attitudes towards finance and wealth management.

Somi Arian posed the question of what women can do to increase their financial literacy and achieve financial power.

Laura Burkemper began by enumerating the multiple nature and nurture factors that affect women’s financial literacy and economic power.

They go from lack of education and income disparity, to the societal realities of motherhood and unpaid childcare. She explained that women’s orientation around money is usually focused on earnings and a living budget instead of long term financial planning and investing.

“There is a need to redirect the focus so that women can make more out of their money.”

As seen throughout the conference so far, she mentioned that it all starts with education.

Whether it’s free online classes or signing up for an entrepreneurship program that will teach the core disciplines of business building and investing. Another way she mentioned, is to build on social platforms like LinkedIn, and lastly, to choose which businesses to support and give their money to.

The second way she mentioned, is to build a pipeline for success by sharing knowledge, inviting the next generation to be part of the conversation. This will not only bring diversity of thought to the table, but provide a change to educate, mentor, inform, and include.

She rounded up with the third way to redirect the focus, which is to be and see the change. She explained how younger generations see themselves in positions of power, whether it is in movies, the workplace, through social media, and advertising. She says that by meeting people where they are in the continuum of money, there will be a rising tide that will lift all boats.

Isn’t just about more money, but about living life on your terms by educating, building a pipeline, and being and seeing that change.

Next, Somi Arian introduced Andie Kramer, a lawyer with whom we will start to explore the workplace.

Andie Kramer

Gender Equality Expert, Educator, & Author – Law

Andie Kramer is a partner at an international law firm, a gender equality advocate, speaker, author, and champion of women’s leadership.

Somi Arian remarked that throughout history, it has been widely understood that women earn less than men across most industries, and asked Andie, that as a lawyer working on gender inequality, where did she see this historical trend coming from and what are some of the workplace biases that result in the pay gap?

Andie began by stating that throughout history, women and men have been perceived to operate on two different spheres, public for men, and domestic for women.

She explained that this penalized women as they moved into the workplace because it created certain discrimination towards them, both intentionally, but also implicit or unintentional bias, where women’s participation is somehow seen as less valuable.

She named three different ways in which these biases affect women, affinity bias, gender bias, and social identity bias. The results of these biases are that women earn less and don’t advance as quickly and as far as men. This is why there is a need to get more women into senior leadership roles. To do this, she explained that there needs to be more information provided, and find ways to break through the policies and procedures that treat women as second class citizens. Lastly, she mentioned that we need to support women who get to these leadership roles.

Somi Arian remarked that when speaking about economic empowerment, people usually think about banks and financial institutions, but one of the biggest sources of financial value generation is the film industry. She introduced the upcoming panelist, Kerry Fulton, founder of a film production company that produces films by women.

Kerry Fulton

Founder of Evenfield Entertainment – Economics

Kerry is the founder of Even Field Entertainment, a company that finances and produces films by women with an ambition to balance the popular culture. Kerry delved into why, in 2020, only 15% of films are written and directed by women, what this means for society and women, both economically and culturally.

She started by noting that there are six main companies responsible for 90% of all the content we consume, and pointed out that only one of these six companies, is actually run by a woman. Everything audiences watch on-screen has both a macro and micro effect in our society, and although the entertainment industry is worth billions of dollars, she highlighted, that according to a UCLA Hollywood diversity report, only 17.4% of screenwriters are women and only 15% of directors are women.

The perspective of the stories, and the stories themselves we watch matter on an individual level, because how girls and women are sexualized, and under intellectualised in the media increasingly affects their self-image in the real world. She mentioned a study in 2016 that found that there was a systematic mistrust in women filmmakers, in their decisions on what to produce, and how large a budget to assign them, and this is mainly because these decisions in the industry are still being made by white men at the 11 major studios. She explained that this bias was expressed in two crucial ways:

– Less budget given to female filmmakers.
– Distribution and marketing spend three times lower than men with the same budget and genres of film.

She observed that this creates the perception that female filmmakers are less successful.

To fix this, she remarked, women need more access to financing, financing for projects, and financing for companies that champion women. Women need to be aware of the biases and find ways to find leverage in the new distribution models created by new technologies to diffuse female-driven stories.

The stories we consume define us as a culture and provide a lens through which we interact with the world. Creating stories can change culture, and popular culture impacts and influences everything.

So far, the panelists have spoken about the cultural and economic challenges that women face, but as Somi Arian introduces the next speaker, she commented that the knock-on effects of women’s lower economic status also manifest in the political sphere. She introduced Natalie Cline, Democratic Nominee of US Congress in West Virginia’s 1st District.

Natalie Cline
Democratic Nominee for US Congress – Politics

Natalie Cline is a Computational Linguist and also a Democratic Nominee for U.S. Congress in West Virginia’s first district. Arian remarked that when looking at political leaders, even in our modern times, most of them are still men. She asked Natalie about the barriers of entry for women into the political sphere and in what ways women can use technology to break through some of the traditional structures in politics.

Natalie began by pointing out that the largest barrier women face when entering politics can be defined as the money incumbency, meaning that lack of funds is the main reason.

This is important for any new candidate, male or female. She explained that older candidates, who have had support during their campaigns from lobbyists, when they are no longer seeking public office, will often donate their campaign funds to newer candidates, and most of them, will give their support to those who mirror their own choices and ideologies.

She mentioned how if a candidate is set to win the race, or is in a very important swing state, then this candidate will most likely get the support from its political party, but if this is not the case, it is very likely that the newer candidates will not receive any fundraising help or access to party resources.

She remarked how this affects women, especially, because there are not so many women in the higher leadership roles in politics. It is very expensive to campaign full time, and if a woman is not wealthy, or has a very good paying and flexible job, it is nearly impossible to afford the staff needed to build a campaign from the ground up.

The solution she proposes would be to take advantage of technology, by building a platform that can provide mentorship programs, connect women with resources, partner with groups to negotiate costs, and create technology that spreads information. This network can use the collective voice of the group to put pressure on elected officials and speak for women as a group that pushes for equal rights.

As the conference moved on, Somi Arian highlighted that in the 21st century, there is also another huge factor that has a big impact on our society, technology. As a philosopher of technology, it concerns her greatly that women are largely absent in the top tier of gigantic tech corporations.

With this she introduced the next speaker, Toju Duke, from Google.

Toju Duke

Product Lead, EMEA, Google – Technology

Toju is Google’s Product Lead for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and a Machine Learning Fairness Program Manager who works closely with women. She shared her experience in Google and why it is that we do not see as many women in the top tier of decision making in technology and how we can go about changing this narrative.

She began by stating that there exists a gender stereotype that expresses that girls are not good in STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), and everywhere around the world, there is a very high percentage of girls/women dropping out of these careers in university due to this same stereotype. This affects the overall amount of women in tech because most girls are not even currently qualified to enter the business, this leads to more males in the recruitment positions who will most likely go through group favoritism.

The few women that make it into the tech business, she pointed out, believe that it is a very sexist culture because it is full of men, and there is a lack of sponsorship, role models, and networking opportunities for women. There is also a huge pay gap in the industry, as well as inflexibility.

Her solution is that women need to work hard to break these gender stereotypes. Women need to make sure that more women feel secure going into tech. She expressed that there is a need for more role models, more women in leadership roles, but that the only way to have these women up there is if women stay in the companies. She exhorted women to build resilience, a bigger network to get better opportunities and sponsorship, and generate more flexibility regarding maternity leaves. There is a lot of work to be done in this aspect and it is going to take time, but by coming together it can be done.

The two final speakers of the conference centred on the subject of change. All the opportunities for change explored so far are of great interest but, as Somi Arian pointed out, to make them happen, we need to embrace change, both in the workplace and within ourselves as individuals. The next speaker is Dr. Andi Simon.

Dr. Andi Simon

Corporate Anthropologist and award-winning Author – Corporate

Dr. Andi Simon is an award-winning author and corporate anthropologist who specializes in helping organizations change. Throughout her career, she’s gained valuable experience that she now brings into her work as a consultant, author, and speaker. Nowadays a lot of corporations are championing having more women in leadership positions, yet truly meaningful change is very difficult to achieve.

The question posed to Dr. Andi Simon is to share her observations and solutions towards this real change.

From a neuroscience and the social science standpoint, she began, the first thing that needs to be understood is that our brains take data and create a story. Large corporations or entrepreneurs also have these stories in their minds and with it, they create an illusion of reality.

To create change, first the story needs to be changed. The problem is that humans do not see the things that do not go directly with the story they believe to be true. Our amygdalas hijack anything that does not fit with the story, and as she pointed out, it turns out that men have very large amygdalas, so their responses to things are different than women’s because they have the instinct to flee, fear, and fight before collaborating.

Women, on the other hand, have a very large hyper campus and their brains are very into oxytocin (the love hormone), and much for collaboration. She remarked that in order to change the way corporations see women, a new story has to be created, corporations have to change the way they visualise themselves.

First of all, we have to be able to recognise the small wins and realise that these small steps can be measured as a way to bring us closer to the final goal. Secondly, we need to realise that the language we use is very important to how our brains operate, when we use the word “we” instead of “I” we open the door to collaboration, trust is built, and oxytocin is created. She explained that women can see things through a different lens, therefore if they are able to visualise a different company, they can also begin to live that company and have different conversations within it.

She highlighted that we are at a moment where women can change the way they see the world. Women are great at collaborating, communicating, coordinating, and creating because they are wired differently, and that is great. The work to be done is to build these bonds with men and collaborate, this will lead to women achieving the power, pay, and position they are looking for.

As we reached the last speaker of the conference. Somi Arian expresses that this is a subject that is very close to her heart. As someone who grew up in a rather extraordinarily difficult background, she never failed to believe in the power we, as individuals, have to shape our own experience.

She then introduced Sara Milne Rowe, author of The SHED Method.

Sara Milne Rowe

Leadership Performance Coach, Speaker and Author – Psychology

Sara is the founder and CEO of award-winning Performance Coaching Company, Coaching Impact, Speaker, and author of The SHED Method (2018), and she will tell us about the challenges and opportunities women face, especially in leadership roles. Somi Arian asked her about ways in which women can build more resilience to deal with these challenges and make the best of their opportunities.

Sara Milne Rowe first pointed out that when facing challenges, it is easy to focus on what we cannot control, and by doing so we lose energy. The first thing we need to do to succeed is to focus our energy on the things we can control. We need to build habits that will allow us to manage our energy, and serve our ambitions.

She stated that there are two key things to keep in mind when operating in a predominantly male-dominated industry:

1. A strong female network
2. A strong dose of self-belief

To build up this self-belief women need to practice and be prepared for high-pressure situations. She expresses that it is vital to anticipate these situations so that when the moment comes, people can act on practiced habits instead of impulses. This will lead to better resilience in these situations and will generate self-belief.

Although everyone is wired differently, finding a way to connect to a leadership purpose will work to their advantage. This does not mean that one has to be a leader, but to find a way that will lead them towards what they want.

She said it is always better to ask “What impact do I want to cause?” rather than “How will I be perceived?”

As well as focusing on what we can control, we need to focus on what’s working for us, rather than what’s not. Rather than asking what you don’t want, ask for what you want. She points out that a lot of women fail to define what those conditions are. Women need to be specific and find ways to train their brains so that when they are under pressure, they will rely on something more than impulse.

She expressed that women need to seek out sponsors, both male and female, and finally build strong refuel habits. Making all of these changes takes effort and energy and it is essential to look after ourselves by sleeping, exercising, eating well, and staying hydrated.

And finally, women need to put all of this into the education system to help young girls know how to lead themselves, encourage courage and resilience so that they can confidently enter the world of business and technology.

Conclusions and Way Forward

Throughout this first conference of the Women in Business & Technology Think Tank, the terms of information, education, research and change seem to have jumped out and been reiterated by every panelist. To prove Arian’s hypothesis correct, it is clear that there is a significant lack of information on women’s issues and flow of data towards women, and it is paramount that this data gap be addressed now.

Because of women’s biology, they have been pushed to the side by the designers of the system and consequently they have lacked the proper education and research regarding their health, their personal economies, opportunities, and even information about their own bodies. They have been brought up, generation after generation, in a system that pushes on them gender biases and norms that they have been expected to comply with. It is time for women to break these stereotypes.

We are at a crucial time in history in which technology and other environmental factors have contributed to impulse change, and it is important to take advantage of this moment to make it happen.

Technology has given us the opportunity to build the infrastructure needed for systematically improving women’s socioeconomic status. There is a need for a platform in which women can address and solve issues like financial literacy, women’s healthcare issues, networking, and being able to search for female talent for potential jobs, board memberships, mentors, sponsors, etc.

This is the reason Somi Arian and her team have been building FemTalent, a platform for and by women that will seek to tackle the issues discussed in this Think Tank’s conferences.

This platform will be divided into segments where women can connect, find opportunities, and collaborate. There will be an investment hub, online courses, networking sessions, and even a marketplace in which women can showcase and sell their products. There will also be a section for fundraisers so members can donate and support women’s issues, as well as a segment for crowdfunding and equity investments.

It is time to make use of technology and spread awareness and information.