The conference was initiated by Y.B. Yeo Bee Yin (Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change, Malaysia).
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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 22nd, 2019: We often see a plethora of conferences and seminars simply discussing how we can make the world a better place by achieving gender equality across all spheres of life. But it is seldom that we encounter actual change makers, real people with inspiring stories as to how they are contributing towards a better tomorrow. The international Science, Technology and Innovation Center under the auspices of UNESCO and UN Women recently organized a 2 day International Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia inviting leaders from various countries like China, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Yemen, Singapore etc. which has been very well-received.
The conference was initiated by Y.B. Yeo Bee Yin (Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change, Malaysia), followed by a special message by H.E. Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (Executive Director of UNWomen) and H.E. Dr Aminah Guribfakim (former President of Mauritius). There were several sessions by other leaders who shed light on various issues faced by women in STEM. One of the main reasons for these staggering numbers is that Women and minorities face both unconscious and conscious biases, including a lack of access to education, difficulty obtaining funding, societal expectations, and the challenge of balancing business and family life.
One of the speakers, Ms.Sakshi Talwar, Co-Founder and CEO of Rugs and Beyond which is an Ecommerce platform for “One of a Kind” handmade Rugs and Carpets empowering local weavers and artisans in Rural India while shipping to customers worldwide, laid stress upon the importance of never stop learning . She also shared her inspiring story as to how she started Rugs and Beyond after moving back from the U.S. post her MBA. When Ms. Talwar was starting her venture, she faced a lot of resistance from a lot of people saying what is this young girl doing in a male-dominated industry? However, she ignored all the background noise and did what she had to.
Upon her Sakshi speak, she vehemently said, “My friends, let me tell you that Being a woman in tech is a badge of honor. Wear it proud, loud and continue to do the hard work to help lead the way for others." Even if you're uncomfortable inciting change at your own company, there are plenty of ways to make a difference. Knowledge is power, and when you know how the world works, you're better able to not only contribute but also innovate. She further urged women to create a community and focus on the 3Cs of life- create, connect and collaborate.
On the other hand, inclusion of women in technology or any business as a matter of fact is mandatory, even more so if a product/service is being made for a woman. Creating a business from a woman's perspective is of paramount importance in today's times since ignoring the same would simply mean negating half of the world's population and decreasing a country's GDP. The technology industry is primarily dominated by men and only 8% of the women are key decision-makers. This needs to change and building a community where women can thrive and not just simply survive shall really help facilitate overall growth and prosperity of any economy.
With that being said, Rugs and Beyond has won several awards in the past for being a Creative Disruptor in the Ecommerce Industry, for being one of the most innovative e-tailers in the industry and also for being an Iconic woman contributing to a better tomorrow by Women Economic forum. All this wouldn’t have been possible without the creation of our community that we have built over the years. She concluded her speech with the famous African Proverb, “ If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”