Aurora Tech Award entrepreneurs and IT Startup founders speak at Web Summit 2022 in Lisbon

November 7, 2022, According to the Web Summit 2022 Gender Equality Survey, 67% of European women working in IT feel they are underpaid compared to men, and half of them face gender discrimination.

Discrimination concerns are not only related to behavior in the workplace but also affect access to investment. According to the European Women in VC report, in 2020, women's startups received 3% of investments, and in 2021 - only 2%, leaving IT an almost exclusively male industry.

Not willing to accept this injustice, inDrive launched the Aurora Tech Award in cash to draw public and investor attention to the most promising startups founded by women.

Women's inequality in IT is such a serious issue that Web Summit, one of the largest events in the world dedicated to new technologies, IT, and venture investments, invited the inDrive Aurora Tech Award initiative to impart the masterclass Women Entrepreneurs in Technology: What are we fighting against?

On the second day of the summit, the Aurora Tech Award team imparted the masterclass, where participants discussed the issues of gender imbalance in IT and how few women still have the opportunity to talk about themselves and their experience in IT, as well as many other burning issues that concern women in the industry. The topic turned out to be so relevant that 900 people registered for the event.

The speakers at the forum were already well-known women entrepreneurs from different countries.

Sadaffe Abid from Pakistan is the founder and CEO of Circle Women Association. She completed her Masters at Harvard Kennedy School, Advanced Management Programme at INSEAD, and Bachelors at Mount Holyoke. She received the alumni achievement award from Mount Holyoke.

Sadaffe said: "These gender biases still exist. But we need to stay persistent. We need to stay in the game. We can’t play small because we end up closing space for other women. Take up space!”

Chioma Agwuegbo from Nigeria is the Executive Director at TechHerNG and Convener of the State of Emergency GBV Movement, a coalition igniting citizens to advocate for an urgent, comprehensive, and sustainable response to SGBV. Chioma believes in applying digital solutions to societal problems, whether chaperoning young, first-time women politicians, co-creating solutions for sexual and gender-based violence, or curating digital freedoms/security sessions. "Showing women and girls how exposure to safe, violence-free navigation of technology provides an escape from poverty encourages more women from lower-income communities to join", - she noted.

Ainura Sagyn from Kyrgyzstan is a software developer, co-founder, and director of Tazar, which connects citizens and businesses with recyclers/collectors to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the landfills of Kyrgyzstan. Tazar is one of the promising green technology startups in Central Asia. In her speech, Ainura especially emphasized the seriousness of the problem of gender inequality in the industry: “In tech companies, as a woman, you have to work twice as hard just to be heard.”

The masterclass was moderated by Sardana Mikheeva, VP of Operations at inDrive.

“It is very important for women to be heard, it is important to raise the topic of gender inequality in IT, and fight it. Women can and are already making a great contribution to technological development. Already now, considering the incoming applications, we see how many interesting things women do in the IT field. Events such as the Web Summit give us the opportunity to raise burning questions and find answers to them,” — said Ekaterina Smirnova, head of the Aurora Tech Award project.

Web Summit 2022 attracted more than 70 000 participants, and more than 2000 startups, and for the first time had 50.5% of women attendees.