Enlightening women by the social media – Women in Digital Switzerland

The digital life has been well established in Japan and Switzerland. In contrast, however, the presence of women in the ICT (information and communication technologies) conferences and the industries is surprisingly low — twenty percent (20%) of all the workers in the ICT industry, and only five percent who speak at ICT conferences!

To encourage women to participate in and become visible in the ICT scene, Ms Taïssa Charlier launched “Women in Digital  Switzerland” (WDS, hereafter), a group created in LinkedIn in January 2014. Starting with about 20 people in the group, WSD had grown to host 200 members in a few months! These members came to know WSD only via word of the mouth.

Portal of Women in Digital Switzerland.
Portal of Women in Digital Switzerland.

Need to push forward more opinions from women

Taïssa is a young and dynamic professional of digital marketing. The original reason that made her to stand up to unite women via WDS was a prohibitively high cost of the kindergarten in Switzerland. Being a single mother, she needs a kindergarten to keep her child while she works in daytime. She soon found that the fee for the kindergarten is almost the same as her monthly salary. “Women can’t work outside home! We must make the opinions of women heard in society”, she thought.

Taïssa soon realised that women are heavily under represented in the ICT industry, despite an increasing number of professional women in the industry. “Something must be done”, she thought.  Her answer was to create a system on the network for women to inspire and to be inspired, to be connected with peers, to share best practices and, thus, to increase their visibility and presence profession.

Mutual support by information exchange and discussion

WDS rightly hit the needs of professional women, who have been scattered around and rather isolated in digital profession in Switzerland.

Taïssa said, “I wish WSD to grow starting from the information exchange to become a platform for women to inspire each other. I wish WSD become a media to empower women in the future.”

The language of WSD is English. Taïssa, though she is a Franco phone herself, decided to use English as the language of the group so that women in other language groups of Switzerland may join and exchange information across the different language zones in the country.

“It’s my giving back project”

For Taïssa, having a large number of participants is not a major purpose of the WSD. “I wish to give back to those wonderful people I met by providing WSD for women to meet wonderful people.”

She further went on to say that fully utilising women’s talent is a part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for companies. Giving opportunities to women and grow them is a contribution to the society.

The author has come to know a workingwomen’s network launched based on a similar idea in Japan. The social media helps you to be connected with like-minded people even though you find none around. With the policy of the Prime Minister Abe to utilise women for the economic development of Japan, networks of professional women’s mutual support based on the social media will grow.

THE ARTICLE POSTED ABOVE IS A SUMMARY. The original article is in Japanese and published in “Akebono”, a monthly journal in Japan, in June 2014. Ten thousand copies are issued every month.

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Author: Yoshiko KURISAKI (栗崎由子)

I am Yoshiko Kurisaki, Japanese, executive consultant specializing in cross-cultural management between Europe and Japan. Being based in Geneva, I travel between Europe and Japan. Culture may be a stop factor in business. That said, if you go beyond that, culture is a vaIuable source of inspirations and innovation. I help European businesses to turn cultural barriers to innovation.   栗崎由子(くりさき よしこ)、ダイバーシティ マネジメント コンサルタント。二十余年間欧州の国際ビジネスのまっただ中で仕事をしてきました。その経験を生かし、日欧企業むけにビジネスにひそむ異文化間コミュニケーションギャップを解消し、国籍、文化、性別など人々の違いを資源に変えることのできるマインドセットを育てるための研修やコンサルティングを行なっています。文化の違いは”面倒なこと”ではなく新しい価値を生み出す源泉です。日本人の良さを国際ビジネスに生かしながら、違いを資源に変えて価値を創造しましょう。ジュネーブ在住で、日本とスイスを往復しています。

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