By Selina Yuan March 9, 2020

Digital News Asia

  • Global economy could grow by US$28 trillion by 2025 with equal women participation
  • With belief in women empowerment, females are 34% of Alibaba Cloud’s workforce

In 1975, the United Nations officially designated March 8th as International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the important contributions that women have made in the economic, political and social fields. This marked the beginning of a roadmap for the empowerment of women and girls everywhere, for them to fully showcase their talents, independence and self-confidence. This year, the United Nations announced the International Women’s Day 2020 theme of #EachforEqual,” to call for a gender-equal world beyond mere empowerment.

The World Economic Forum (WEF)’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Report unveiled that only 26% of job roles in artificial intelligence (AI) and big data were filled by females. This gender gap is even more apparent in cloud-related roles whereby women only make up 12% of the entire workforce.

During Alibaba Group’s third Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship in 2019, Melinda Gates cited a study sharing that the global economy could grow by an estimated US$28 trillion (RM117.2 trillion) by 2025 if women participated in the economy at an equal level as men.

These statistics hint at the barriers faced by women everywhere, holding them back from achieving their full potential. Imagine the positive differences that women could make if they were given the opportunity to participate more equally in the global economy.

One area which lacks female representation is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Not only is a mindset change needed to show women that tech is a viable career path, but there is also a need to provide them with the tools and support to tackle this inequality, starting with education. We are glad to see that in recent years, there has an increasing recognition by organizations of the urgency and need to bring women into the fold for critical innovation and progress in STEM.

As a leading cloud computing organisation, Alibaba Cloud has always believed in the importance of women’s empowerment and technology as a force for change to unlock greater opportunities for the development of women in the technology sector.

We have partnered with top post-secondary and higher learning institutions across Asia to nurture a strong pipeline of female AI talent in the region. In Singapore, we are working with secondary schools to provide AI training programs for students, to raise interest in science-related subjects amongst female students.

Additionally, we have been fortunate enough to work with non-profit organizations to provide training and cloud computing resources for African women engineers, to help them along their career paths towards engineering and other practical subjects.

We are both grateful and proud of our group of outstanding female employees and leaders who take our organizations to greater heights; this includes world-renowned data intelligence scientists and product architects who plan digital transformation in emerging markets. Our steadfast belief that women hold up half the sky carries into female representation in our organization. We are proud to have females representing almost half of our organization, with female executives making up 34% of our total workforce.

Looking ahead, we view collaboration as a key. Social issues such as inequality and the lack of access to opportunities can’t be solved overnight by one individual; it takes systemic and society-wide awareness and action for long-term change. We hope to collaborate with society at large to groom next-generation technology leaders by encouraging businesses and society at large to invest, reflect and create new opportunities towards a gender-equal world.

Selina Yuan is President of International Business, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence