Technology, the silent threat to balance


The Worldwide Women in Innovation, Incubation and Technology Summit (W-WIITS) is a platform intended to encourage advocacy, diversity and inclusion of women in the ICT sector.

The platform shines the spotlight on women in the sector, showcasing their achievements and thereby encouraging other women to take up the space. This is an international event which attracts over 2000 women from over 12 countries. This year the theme for the summit was: Mind, Business and Sole. There was greater emphasis on the mind and wellbeing of the business owner and it was held on 24 and 25 August 2022 in Sandton. Too often the person behind the business has been overlooked. However, over the past two years, the pandemic has highlighted how important mental wellbeing is, especially for entrepreneurs operating as “sole” owners that didn’t have the necessary support required to carry them through the challenges. As such a lot of entrepreneurs lost their lives figuratively and literally.

W-WIITS 22 consciously decided to focus on the wellbeing of entrepreneurs. The keynote speaker at the event; Ms Adelina Nyokong shared a very humbling background highlighting the challenges that she experienced as a woman and as an entrepreneur.

What captured my attention was her resilience. She chose to not be her experiences, but rather to create from her experiences. The work/life balance question surfaced a lot particularly given that technology never sleeps and that global transactions have added more hours to an average working day. This increased demand on time and the blurring of home and work lines, could be one of the reasons according to dataport report (March 2022), that women leave the tech industry at a 45% higher rate than men and only 24% of computing jobs are held by women.

In the panel discussion on mental resilience and reinvention for business success, a balanced and experienced panel of speakers;

Ms Kwathi Koka (based in South Africa) shared their insights from their journey. Ms Koka provided insights from businesses that operate as cooperatives and advised that the women operating as cooperatives were able to support each other during the pandemic. The cooperative structure also proved to provide support for mental wellbeing during challenging times.

Akosua Dardaine-Edwards

Ms Dardaine-Edward (based in Trinidad and Tobago) shared that she experienced depression and lost her own business. She indicated that mental wellbeing was crucial, but also highlighted that women were more resilient than they thought. When asked how she rose above her depression, she indicated that she had to remember why she had been in business in the first place. She also stressed the importance of taking time out to nurture the self and keeping in mind that mental wellbeing is vital in running any business.

Makheni Zonneveld

Ms Zonneveld (the coolest granny) shared her experiences as coach, mentor and student of life. She reiterated that while technology has come with a lot of benefits, it has impacted lives negatively. This including the shift from “keeping up with the Jones” to people now wanting to “keep up” with the Kardashians, as social media has offered a platform for sharing, where often people give false impressions of their lives and business success.

She strongly urged everyone to live their own truth, keep good company and embrace being a woman with everything that comes with it.
If one choses to be a mother or a business owner, it shouldn’t have to be a choice, but rather a question of “have you created a support system for yourself?”

Women in tech, much like women in every other sector, face the demands of a working life and as such it is important to create a system that encourages growth and development both for the business and the owner. The tech space continues in its plea to attract more women participation and it shouldn’t at any point be a question of whether they’ll be able to balance work life and home life, but rather will they remember to take care of themselves and their mental wellbeing, while on the quest to success in the sector.


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