Society would benefit if technology companies hired more women in senior jobs. That is the proposition of an essay competition, backed by the Financial Times, which highlights the need for an increase in female leadership in the tech sector.
There is still time to submit essays for the contest, which was launched on March 8: the deadline is Monday, May 22. The prize is a fully funded place on a part-time executive MBA course at Henley Business School.
Arguments among technology companies, analysts and commentators for boosting female leadership range from countering potential male bias in artificial intelligence to the need for fresh perspectives in a sector currently dominated by men.
Women do hold some important roles in technology: James Bond films cast Q, the head of inventive gadgets at the UK spy agency MI6, as a man, but the real-life version is a woman. Yet the numbers are still small in a sector with big social effects. For instance, Kriti Sharma, head of artificial intelligence at leading UK tech business Sage, says AI needs the input of both genders: “A big part of AI is how it interacts with humans.”
The competition is open to men and women who have relevant experience in the workplace in managing a team, running a project or planning strategy. It is run in partnership with the 30% Club, which campaigns to improve women’s representation at senior management level, and Henley Business School. To win a Henley scholarship, answer this question in no more than 800 words: “Can gender diverse leadership help ensure that technology is used to benefit society?”
The winner will be announced at the FT’s Women at the Top summit on September 27 in London.