Why we need women-only training courses

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Digital technology is all around us and an integrated part of our daily life. Can you imagine not having a mobile phone at hand or no navigation system in your car? Digital technology is for everyone—men and women—writes Manuela Fokkema, Centre of Expertise consultant at ABN AMRO Bank.

Do we all need to be tech-savvy to work in this field?

Buzzwords—you can’t avoid them. One of them is ‘tech-savvy’. But what does it really mean? Do we all have to be technical nerds from the 80’s and 90’s, and know all the details in depth about computers, robots, big data and so on? I believe this is only one part of it. The other part, maybe even more important today, is being creative and innovative using digital technology.

We need diversity in teams to innovate

While in general men are more interested and have more practice in the technical bits and bytes of digital technology, women can be strong in applying it using their creativity, innovation and imagination.

All that is needed is a general understanding of what digital technology comprises and how it can add value to our customers. I strongly believe that you need both men and women to get the most out of digital technology. Diversity is key for innovation!

How to motivate women for careers in digital technology?

A complex question is where to find, and more important, how to motivate women to start their career in digital technology or make a career switch? Yes, there are women like me building applications, databases, networks and so on. But there are not enough women to close the gap. This is keeping us from building the versatile and diverse teams we need today. Well, at least in my opinion.

I followed RightBrains’ Digital Leadership Programme

In 2017 I followed the Rightbrains Digital Leadership Programme. I am very enthusiastic about this programme. It does not only shed a light on the modern digital technologies, like artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, blockchain and virtual /augmented reality. Most importantly, the programme looks at the impact of these technologies on business models, skills and competences, leadership, marketing strategies and processes.

Thirteen talented digital leading women

We were thirteen women participating in the 2017 edition of the Rightbrains programme. We not only learned a lot from the inspiring and very knowledgeable professors and guest lecturers from renowned universities like Nyenrode Business University, TU Delft, Rottedam University of applied science and INSEAD, but we also learned a lot from each other. This is what makes the programme even more interesting and gives it a great dimension, which I really enjoyed.

Is it necessary to have education that focusses on women only?

Yes, I believe it is, for now at least. Until we’ve bridged the gap in this male dominated field, programmes like this are important to develop more female role models and build diverse teams to make the most out of today’s digital technologies.

If I caught your curiosity and you want to learn more about the RightBrains Digital Leadership Programme, click here.