This year's International Women's Day campaign theme is #eachforequal, and it's a message we're proud to get behind here at Wiise. Each one of us has the power to choose to fight stereotypes, to challenge the status quo, to make gender equality the norm. More than a women's issue, gender equality is a business issue and helps our economy thrive. Because when we're all equal – in the boardroom, in government in sports, health and wealth - we're enabled.
This year we're thinking about the women that inspire us. Women who've built businesses with an idea and a bit of grit, ad those who've taken up the charge in a world of men and come out on top. Women we tell our kids about, hoping to encourage them to break the mould and create their own success.
From war-time code breakers to computer programmers, women have been at the forefront of tech from the start. But they haven't always got the credit. Shout out to Ada Lovelace and Elizebeth Smith Friedman! So we thought we'd share some stories of awesome women in tech who are getting it done today.
Marita Cheng leads the way in robotic engineering
Is there anything this young tech entrepreneur from Far North Queensland can't achieve? A true champion of all things STEM, Marita founded Robogals while studying Mechtronics and Computer Science at university – an organisation that encourages and inspires young women to study engineering and related subjects. Through student-run engineering workshops, Robogals has taught over 50,000 girls around the globe and earned Cheng the Young Australian of the Year Award. A massive achievement by any measure, but Marita was just getting started.
In 2013 Marita founded about, a robotics start-up that makes telepresence robots and robotic aids for people with limited mobility. And in 2015, she founded Aipoly, which helps blind people navigate the world with cutting-edge AI.
Marita was named one of Forbes World Top 50 Women in Tech 2018 and received the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2019. She continues to innovate, advocate and inspire while using her speaking tours to encourage young women around the world to get excited about engineering and robotic design. What a powerhouse! Are we inspired? Of course we are.
Dyean Moodley reshapes the accounting industry
Dyean Moodley is doing big things in the cloud accounting space. Founder of DEVTHA Consulting in Sydney, Dyean was an early adopter of cloud tech and knows how it can improve conversations, business and lifestyles – smart, digital ways of working enabled her to raise her family alongside a demanding career. Dyean speaks and blogs on digital innovation in the accounting industry, and you'll find her on the Top 50 Women in Accounting list for 2017.
Dyean superpower is as a growth strategist. Starting at Deloitte in South Africa, Dyean has worked with the big 4 for over 25 years, providing tax and accounting services to SMEs. She encourages firms to take on new ways of working to transform and grow into the future. She also works with start-ups to turn their innovative ideas into a product to take to market.
Through her work at DEVTHA, Dyean continues to focus on the small to mid-market, providing advisory services to SMEs, facilitating change workshops, building strategy and developing proofs of concept. She works with a network of transformation specialists to implement change.
Dyean's expertise is a hot ticket – she currently sits on the boards of the Western Sydney Small Business Expo advisory and the Sydney Hills Business Chamber, she's a member of the management committee of the Toongabbie Legal Centre and volunteers at the Cancer Council.
Dyean is a mentor with Inspiring Rare Birds, supporting and encouraging the next generation of women kicking goals in the leadership and entrepreneurship space. Go Dyean!
Mikaela Jade brings her past into the future
When you think start-up location, you're probably thinking Silicon Valley or our very own Stone and Chalk here in Sydney. But deep in the heart of the Kakadu National Park? For Mikaela Jade, that was the natural place to get Indigital up and running. Mikaela learned about her indigenous heritage at the age of 29 and decided at that point to put her energy into bringing the stories of indigenous people to life.
Indigital is an augmented reality start-up that tells indigenous stories on country using some pretty creative tech. Think drones and 4D mapping. Initially self-funded, with only a small grant to help her along with research and development, Mikaela had to push hard to get her dream off the ground. She also had to learn a lot. About technology. About innovation. About how to start up a business. She built networks online and learned on the job.
Winner of the 2018 Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award and the 2018 InStyle Women of Style Creative Visionary and Judges Award, Mikaela is getting the notice she deserves.
She's now looking forward to bringing Indigital to tourism sites and schools across the country. And she's working to upskill indigenous women so they can work and share their stories in the tech space too. Giving a hand up to other women is what it's all about.
Melanie Perkins designs a unicorn
Being named as one of Business Insider's coolest tech people in Australia is, well, pretty cool. But when you're CEO of a unicorn, you deserve the acknowledgement. At 22 years old, Melanie pitched her graphic design idea unsuccessfully to 100 venture capitalists in San Francisco before some kite surfing and a fruitful meeting with celebrities Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson landed her first investors. Today Canva is worth a sweet $2.5 billion. Yes, that's a 'b'.
Canva wasn't Perkins's first big idea. Again trying to solve a graphic design problem, Melanie created Fusion Books while still at university to help schools design their own yearbooks. She was on to something, and Fusion Books is still the largest yearbook publisher in Australia.
Canva has attracted some big investors more recently - Melanie is expanding the team, and the company is now competing with tech giants in the design space. She's young. She's creative. She's business savvy. She's the proud founder of a tech unicorn. We can't wait to see what Melanie does next.
We're proud to put our arms out front for #eachforequal this International Women's Day and ask ourselves, what can we do to make a difference for women today?