INTERVIEW – Bintu Zahara SAKOR · Doctoral Researcher, Founder MUZOFUND & JFD Ambassador

What is the current state of gender equality in Norway?  

In a recent report on women peace and security index (for 2021), conducted by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS), Norway together with other Nordic countries (Finland, Iceland and Denmark) secured the top four performance places – in terms of women’s peace and security. According to this report, “high achievements on the inclusion and justice fronts can be traced, at least in part, to public policies that promote a dual-earner model”. Furthermore, the study show that “in all five Nordic countries, gender gaps in workforce participation are small. Policies ensure parental leave for both mothers and fathers and state-sponsored childcare encouraging parents to share responsibility for paid work outside the home and unpaid work at home” (PRIO and GIWPS, 2021:17).

Despite study indicating that Norway is currently doing overall well in gender equality index, Norway and other Nordic countries still have a lot to improve when it comes to gender equality in the business and start-up world. For instance, only 3% of funding raised in the Nordics went to all female teams compared to 83 % for all male teams in 2020- and this figure applies to Norway as well. This is exactly what my startup Muzofund, which is still in the developing phases is trying to change.

Why does the tech industry need women? Why do women need tech?

I believe that the tech industry highly need women for 3 main reasons:

  • Research show that female-founded companies outperform their male counter partner. These companies generate 45% more revenue of funding compared to male-founded companies. Basically, what this means is that diversity is good for business because it generates more revenue.
  • Research also show that inclusion and diversity leads to more innovation, and what the current tech industry really need is exactly this – develop new solutions to existing problems.
  • There is need for more female role models, particularly among those with black and minority backgrounds across Europe and around the world, including the Nordic region.
Women need tech for various and significant reasons. However, for now, I will only focus on 1 reason and that is that, closing the gender pay gap will requires women’s active participation in various cycle of the global labour forces. So for example, with more women actively entering the tech field and moving up in leadership positions, this will among several factors, create positive effects on improving gender pay gap for women in tech, but as well as the overall gender pay gap structural mechanisms.

Are you optimistic about equal representation of women and men in tech?  

Yes, I am super optimistic about equal representation of women and men in tech in the future, because, I believe that many political and business leaders are wakening up and realising the significant and positive impact of inclusion in business as well as in other aspects of the society. The impact of inclusion in tech is multiple and these benefits will last for several generations. As our world is rapidly changing, only through proper gender and racial equality can we really create the solutions we needs for the existing problems, whether that be technological, political, environmental, economic or even demographic. And this will requires many new ideas and innovative thinking from various people in different parts of the world.

An inspirational quote you like to say? 

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” –  Maya Angelou

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