WE SHAPE TECH: striving for diversity in tech and innovation


Three years ago, three founders inaugurated WE SHAPE TECH with the goal to boost diversity in tech and innovation fields. Today the movement’s impact is already being felt: the board counts 12 members, its network has grown to 1500 members, new chapters across Switzerland have opened and renowned companies are increasing their engagement. 


Although the percentage of female leaders on the board of directors and the top positions has for the first time increased in Switzerland as shown by the study from Schilling Report 2019, there is no doubt that the percentages are still significantly low. On a global scale, the difference is trivial and hence a lot still needs to be accomplished to achieve an equal gender balance.  WE SHAPE TECH (WST) has the mission to achieve a 50-50 balance between men and women, in not only business-related jobs in tech but also in engineering and product-related jobs across all levels. To achieve this, WST hence provides a platform that concentrates on four pillars: networking, knowledge transfer, role models/inspiration, and promoting the dialogue on diversity.  The organization hosts events with an average attendance of more than 100 guests. In 2018, WST organized 18 events overall in one year. The organization also organizes workshops like the recently held «Learn to Code» which attracted close to 100 attendees for hands-on learning to code session or the «Crash course in AI and machine learning». In line with its ambitions, the organization also portrays women in tech in order to share their experiences. To date, it has portrayed 48 roles models on its blog. Besides organizing events, WST also connects companies with female tech talent.  Through its activities, WST has become the movement for diversity in technology and innovation across Switzerland, demonstrated by its scaling footprint. Beyond Zurich, WST has opened additional chapters in Bern, Basel and Geneva/Lausanne and now counts more than 1500 members in its community and 12 board members across all regions.  Role Models - Learn from leaders at the topIn November, WST will host the third role model event, a series of events that bring together like-minded people who are striving to boost diversity to listen to inspiring stories on careers and digital technology. During each event, the selected role models bring rich experiences to the table and help answer open questions such as; «How do you deal with a defeat, when you move to another country and all your diplomas are invalid? How do you deal with having insufficient knowledge of certain products? How do you enhance self-confidence? How important is your network and how can you benefit from it?». The next Big Boss Lady event under the theme «Learn from Leaders at the Top!» will take place on 27 November in Zug. The key speakers and role models include: Tijen Onaran, CEO of Global Digital Women, Simone Schuerle, ETH professor in bioengineering, Cristina Riesen, CEO of We Are Play Labs and Lucy Han, Head of Product at Siemens building products. Registration is open. Support from large organisationsWST is supported by various well known corporate companies such as Google, Tesla, Salesforce, Siemens, Tamedia, Adobe, Post, Impact Hub Zürich, Swisscom, and from startups such as Avrios, Master21 and Witty.works. The department of Diversity of the Zurich Canton has also endorsed the activities of WST. (RAN)