On October 8th, 2013, OLC attended the panel event, “Women in Tech: Bridging the Gender Gap in Emerging Technologies” hosted by GA (General Assembly) The panelists of the event were MaryAnn Bekkedahl, Co-founder and President of Keep.com, Madison Maxey, Founder of TheCrated.com and Theil Fellow, and Jack Hidary, Founder of Dice.com and Independent Mayoral candidate for New York City.
The panel was hosted by Amir Dosal, Chairman for the Global Partnerships Forum and Commissioner for the UN Broadband Commission.
Before engaging the panelist event, here is a brief introduction of the host:
GA (General Assembly) is an organization dedicated in empowering individuals to pursue the work that they love adapted to the demands of the 21st century. GA offers full-time immersive programs, long-form courses, and classes/workshops on the most relevant skills of the 21st century – from web development and user experience design, to business fundamentals, to data science, to product management and digital marketing.
The panel event started with Amir Dosal, Chairman for the Global Partnerships Forum and Commissioner for the UN Broadband Commission asking the questions, “What inspires you?” and “What advice do you give to female entrepreneurs?”
MaryAnn, Bekkedahl, Co-founder and President of Keep.com first introduced her business as a crowd source focused commerce organization that allows consumers to have a voice in the products that they want to be featured on the site. Keep.com is where “the community of tastemakers unite the best products from across the Internet into a beautiful showcase of trending, unique and frankly, fabulous finds…”
MaryAnn then continued to answer Amir’s question by illustrating what the prospective entrepreneur must pursue in any business, they must “look at industries with ‘things missing...’” In her case, since commerce hasn’t taken full advantage of the internet, her organization has innovatively utilized the connectivity of the internet to allow consumers to have a voice in the products that they want on the site.
Madison Maxey, Founder of TheCrated.com, also believes in the power of innovation since her organization is driven on innovating the garment industry. Crated is an organization that collaboratively works with “vertically integrated companies and big brands” to create and develop textiles, software, wearable’s in new and innovative ways.
Some of the sample projects that Crated is currently working on are: Intergrating 3-D priniting into the garment industry, “Self-assembling” Wearables or “4-D printing” clothes, and Wearables optimized to fit their consumers based on collected data.
Jack Hidary, Founder of Dice.com, took the conversation towards a different direction and talked about the problems of 21st century education towards developing female entrepreneurs in emerging industries.
According to Hidary, today’s education systems are grounded on 18th century models that focus primarily on memorization and analysis. Such systems are skewed in favor of the male sex by which it is formulated on cultural misconceptions on women to discourage young girls from following scientific, mathematical, or digital pursuits. Current education systems must adopt 21st century educational models in order to bridge the gender gap in industries that deal with emerging technologies.
Hence, 21st century education systems must nurture and cultivate character development and the entrepreneurial spirit within young girls through facilitating educational autonomy. Young girls must be allowed to pursuit their own creative and innovative interests while being exposed to necessary digital and technological skills of the 21st century global economy and community.