Thirteen companies join Microsoft to increase the employability of female technical talent and nurture entrepreneurs across the Asia Pacific.
Asia Pacific, 23 September 2021 – Microsoft and 13 companies across nine Asia Pacific countries today launched Code; Without Barriers to help close the gender gap in the region’s fast-growing cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technology sectors.
The program provides a platform to enable female developers, coders, and other technical talents to contribute towards inclusive economic growth, encourage innovation and better reflect the societal makeup of their region.
“Developers today operate at the forefront of social and economic development, and many times they are just a few brilliant ideas away from entirely reshaping how we live and work. The tech industry has never been better placed to change the world, and it is more important than ever to ensure that our tech workforce is more diverse and more equally representative of the society we live in. With Code; Without Barriers, we are proud to be empowering women across the Asia Pacific with the potential to transform our digital future together,” said Dhanawat Suthumpun, Managing Director, Microsoft Thailand.
The partners in the program include Accenture, AvePoint, Government Big Data Institute (GBDi), HCL Technologies, Just Analytics, MetLife, NTT Ltd, PALO IT, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), Simbiotik Technologies, Thoughtworks, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM).
These organizations operate in the areas of education, energy, financial services, public sector and technology in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Microsoft will provide skilling and certification in cloud and AI to increase the technical talent pools in the countries. Each of the 13 companies is committed to improving diversity within their organizations and offers career opportunities to female creators and developers. Equally, through a series of engagements, from career fairs to hackathons to mentorship and support from business leaders, Code; Without Barriers will nurture and develop female entrepreneurs in APAC.
“We identified an urgent need in our region to increase the diversity of technical talent, as only 26% of professionals in data and AI are women and this drops to 12% for professionals in cloud computing. For this to change, and for APAC markets to have a truly inclusive national digital agenda, it starts with breaking barriers and empowering developer diversity in our organizations and industries. It’s our responsibility as leaders of this community to shape what comes next; to show what’s possible when our digital worlds reflect the diversity of the society we live in,” Ms Della Mattea said.
Code; Without Barriers has piloted 18 Women in AI certification programs across eight APAC markets, training more than 480 women, and certifying 203 developers. Microsoft also hosted cloud skills challenges for more than 7,617 developers.
“Gender-diverse teams are smarter and more productive,” said Gina Smith, PhD, IDC’s lead analyst for DevOps and digital innovation in the Asia/Pacific region. “Hiring women in technology roles adds far more than a fresh perspective. Recent studies quantifiably demonstrate that gender-diverse enterprises demonstrably more innovation and higher returns than the mean overall. Programs like Microsoft’s Code; Without Barriers go a long way toward bridging that critical gap.”
“It is an established fact that having more women in the tech industry benefits companies and societies. But creating the conditions for a more diverse workforce is a complex challenge – no single organization can do this alone. We have a shared responsibility to simultaneously remove barriers and uplift women, and I’m thrilled to see companies and organizations collaborate through Code; Without Barriers,” said Leanne Robers, Co-founder and Co-CEO, She Loves Tech.
“At GBDi, we recognize the importance of young people in the future of the tech world. One of our priorities is to give them equal opportunities in developing skills and attitudes, no matter which gender they are. In partnering with the Code; without Barriers program, we hope to equip the new generation as well as to encourage them to be a part of building the world that they, themselves would want to live in,” said Associate Professor Tiranee Achalakul, Director, GBDi, Thailand.
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“We can’t do this in isolation and are thankful that organizations across industry sectors have joined us in APAC,” shared Annie Mathew, Director, Developer Relations and Program Lead for Code; Without Barriers at Microsoft in APAC.
Sustaining Diversity By Advocating for Responsible AI
Microsoft’s Code; Without Barriers team is taking this further, with an upcoming community playbook that tackles how to handle bias and how to sustain diversity in emerging tech.
“Communities look to Microsoft to address and share the best practices in Responsible AI, so that they can build in diversity, reduce bias, and ensure transparency in the work that they do. We are empowering a new generation of women in technology through Code; Without Barriers,” concluded Ms Mathew.