THE SILENT GAME CHANGERS IN ARMENIA’S TECH SECTOR
According to ITIS.am, in 2017, 30% of Armenia’s IT sector was comprised of women — a percentage significantly higher than in Canada (27%), USA (20%), or the EU countries (17%)
Away from the Silicon Valley, the Mecca of technology, a new tech world is emerging and growing at an exponential speed. Except unlike the far-stretching plains of California, it found a home in the rocky mountains of Armenia. And at the head of this quick growth are young Armenian women, taking confident strides in establishing a female presence in an otherwise male-dominated sector. For young girls who have been taught to suppress their “geeky” interests from a young age, the fast development of the tech sector in Armenia opens new doors to pursue their passion in more technological and scientific fields, while also boosting the economic growth of the country. According to ITIS.am, in 2017, 30% of Armenia’s IT sector was comprised of women — a percentage significantly higher than in Canada (27%), USA (20%), or the EU countries (17%). Armenian women have also began their takeover of the tech world by already leading successful startups and inspiring the younger generations to pursue larger and bolder ambitions. Among these role models are Yeva Hyusyan (CEO and Co-Founder of SoloLearn), Nané Toumanian (Co-Founder & CEO at D’efekt), and many more. Today, Armenia has its own active branch of Girls in Tech, an organization founded in 2007 with the mission to empower women to advance their careers in STEM and practice creativity, problem-solving and innovation on par with men. The organization, although new, has been growing fast, finding backing from organizations like the Innovative Solutions and Technologies Center (ISTC), the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) and the USAID. The organization has been actively organizing speaker panels, hackathons, boot camps and other events, creating a powerful bridge between the current leaders in the tech sector both in Armenia and worldwide and the Armenian women aspiring to establish a presence in STEM. The latest initiative that Girls in Tech took in Armenia was the launch of monthly networking dinners, called Geek Girls’ Dinners. Following the example of the Silicon Valley staple events — the meetups, networking dinners and conventions — the Geek Girls’ Dinners are meant to put the brightest and most ambitious Armenian girls who share the same passion for technology and innovation in an informal setting, where they can unleash their creativity, exchange ideas, build a stronger network that will include the guest speakers who have already accomplished success in the field, and establish meaningful connections with peers who share the same desire to learn and create with no boundaries. The first steps towards tapping into Armenian women’s true potential might seem small; but for a small country like Armenia, they count as big victories. With the continuous growth of 20% per year of the high-tech sector, more and more young women are encouraged to step over the traditional stereotypes and pursue their genuine interest in STEM, while also supporting the country’s economic growth. More and more, Armenian women won’t feel the need to hide their inner Geeks.
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