Agenda Analysis View

Technology and Sustainability

The common objective of the 17 different goals of the United Nations for sustainable development is to eradicate poverty, protect our planet, ensure that all people live in peace and prosperity. In order to achieve this, innovative, efficient, resource-saving, accessible and cost-effective works should be brought to the fore as much as possible, and the perception, attitudes, and behaviours of the society in this sense should change through the developing technologies. We know that the use of technology is one of the key roles in bringing all these together.  The developments in this paved the way for the encouragement of economic and social development, taking into account natural resources.

Digital technologies enable innovation and collaboration as well as measuring sustainability progress, optimizing the use of resources, strengthening a circular economy.

Big data, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, network technologies, edge computing, cloud systems are our main stakeholders in this field. In this sense, the need for qualified human resources in technology is one of the most significant issues in terms of sustainability and economic development aspects of the technology age we live in.

Everyone Has to Do Their Part

According to TURKSTAT 2020 Research and Development Activities Survey, a total of 199 thousand 371 people worked as R&D personnel in 2020. The number of female R&D personnel constituted 31.9% of the total number of R&D personnel, with 63 thousand 655 persons in 2020.

As the Woman in Technology Association (Wtech), we undertook our part and started working on it. Within the framework of our focus on sustainability, we launched the “Technological and Innovative Solutions in Agriculture” competition last year, based on the idea “when the power of women in agriculture is combined with technology, it will accelerate the creation of a more livable world”, in order for encouraging new ideas, projects, products, and services that will contribute to the sustainability goals of agriculture and strengthen their impact, within the framework of one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, namely “Zero Hunger”. We awarded the winners in both categories and we keep following up on the projects.

For our upcoming project on sustainability, we set UNDP’s “Clean Water and Sanitation” target, as water scarcity affects more than 40% of people worldwide.

Technology and Sustainability Are Inseparable

As the Woman in Technology Association (Wtech), we are aware of the importance of big data and artificial intelligence fed by it for the sustainability of the world. With this awareness, we have implemented an index study within the scope of research and measurement, which is another focal point of ours. In Türkiye’s first “Technology and Human Index” study, we reached significant data on the artificial intelligence approach. While the rate of those who state that they do not have knowledge in the field of artificial intelligence is 46%, the rate of those who say that artificial intelligence will deprive them of jobs, partially since they do not know this technology well, is 63%. Based on this data, we started a special training program in the field of artificial intelligence. Our training program was integrated with technical training, live question and answer sessions, soft skill training given by Wtech Academy, inspiring speeches and career day activities, which lasted for four months, arranged in detail by Udacity. Within the scope of the project, 62 women who received “Artificial Intelligence with Phyton” and “Deep Learning” training are given the internationally valid Nanodegree Certificate.

In the same context, together with SabancıDx, we started data analytics and cyber security training for 100 women. We carry out these training activities with the cooperation and strong contribution of SabancıDx. We will maintain our training activities until the end of the year.

Issues to Pay Attention if You Want To Advance in the Field of Technology and Sustainability

Being data-oriented and managing data privacy and security well are also among the cornerstones in this field. Here as well, the secret of success lies in competent employees. In this field, as the Woman in Technology Association, we opened the Young Transformation Academy under the umbrella of Wtech Academy and the Turkish Confederation of Employer Associations (TİSK), we train specialist employees with sectoral competence by providing in-depth technical training.

The development of artificial intelligence brought us to an age where steel collar workers enter business life. Empowering people and creating qualified and expert human resources in technology is of utmost importance in this regard. We have undertaken this goal, and so far, we have recruited 81% of our graduates by offering training to 1500 young people in important fields such as data, cyber security, software, robotic process automation, etc., especially in new technologies, by paying attention to diversity.

According to the gender equality data of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021, Türkiye ranks 133rd among 156 countries.

As Türkiye, we rank 104th in the category of women’s participation in the workforce and equal opportunities, 101st in access to education, 85th in healthy life expectancy, and 114th in representation in politics.

Looking at these results, it will only be possible to close the gender gap on a global scale in 135.6 years.

In the pandemic period, we globally have made 5 years of progress in 8 months in digital transformation.

In the age of technology, in particular, the qualified, highly impactful, and focused projects to be carried out by the private sector, public and NGOs based on the measurement results will rapidly increase our rate of qualified and expert human resources in technology, in addition to Türkiye’s existing geopolitical superiority and they will also be the most significant driving force for Türkiye to be among the leading countries of the world and for us to create a more prosperous and sustainable society by increasing our gross domestic product.

As the Woman in Technology Association, we work with this awareness, without losing our focus, we particularly support women’s participation in technology employment by moving away from the perception that “technology is a job for men”, and we produce in order to train more qualified human resources. Considering the importance of the products and services that we produce with our own resources, we are working hard to establish a new economy focused on gender diversity in technology and talent in employment. We are a strong family united around these goals with the representation of Türkiye’s 150 leading institutions.

Zehra Öney / Founding President of Woman in Technology Association

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