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CALD women
in technology leadership


To advocate for gender and intersectional diversity in technology sector and mobilise personal growth and career development to increase diverse women’s under-representation in technology leadership. Together, we will actively contribute to shaping a future in ICT that embraces diversity and fosters excellence.

Evidence of Need

Technology jobs are predicted to skyrocket with more than 100,000 new jobs created by 2026, a key lever in the post-pandemic economic recovery. Even though gender parity is being achieved in many professions, women have a significantly lower rate of workforce participation compared to men in technology profession in Australia (currently sitting at 31%). According to the Digital Pulse report 2022, women are less represented in technology professions and leadership roles due to systematic and structural barriers including gender bias, stereotyping, discrimination, lack of sponsor/senior management support, unrecognised career breaks, and ‘leaking pipeline’ problem. Women from diverse backgrounds face further barriers and discrimination at the intersection of ethnicity, gender and race and stigmas around women technology leaders from multicultural background. Women with Asian background make up only 3% of C-suite senior leaders and 1.6% of CEOs in Australian organisations (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2018). The Diversity Council of Australia (DCA) (2022) reported that for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) employees, only one in four has access to mentors or professional networks. As reported, “it takes twice the time for CALD to get to leadership positions compared to local born as CALD don’t have sponsors”.

What we did

The phrase "You can't be what you can't see" highlights the significance of representation and visibility in influencing one's aspirations and ambitions. It emphasizes that when individuals from underrepresented or marginalized backgrounds lack role models who resemble themselves in successful positions, it can hinder their belief in their own potential to attain similar roles.

In partnership with Women in ICT Canberra (WIC), we hosted the 2023 International Women’s Day (#crackingthecode) which was attended by over 250 technology professionals and leaders in Canberra. President of ALO, Dr Lubna Alam, delivered an inspirational keynote raising awareness of barriers for CALD women in ICT career progression, which was very impactful. Dr Alam was also invited to two other IWD celebration (GOPIO/ MAC and Women in Inspiration Network), where she raised awareness of the gender inequality, bamboo ceiling and leaking pipeline problem for women from diverse backgrounds with evidence-based research data and inspired women from diverse backgrounds to take a leadership leap. She shared how women from diverse backgrounds have to constantly change their identities to “fit-in”, treated as an obvious outsider, unable to join in the drinking culture and being cautious of their accents. Women from diverse backgrounds face unique barriers that often stem from their own internal self and family circumstances rather than from the business ecosystem.

Dr Alam was featured in ABC Canberra Radio on IWD2023 and Alo’s Trasurer, Surabhi Mishra was featured with Canberra Weekly, sharing her personal challenges in STEM.

ALO is hosting a conference for CALD women in technology leadership, “See it to be it”, on 20th August 2023 in collaboration with WIC, Australian Computer Society (ACS) and ANU School of Cybernetics. The conference has an impressive line-up of CALD role models and leadership and growth mindset training to address barriers within ICT workplaces. Our approach will be solution- driven, focusing not only on the challenges faced by CALD women in the ICT space but also providing effective strategies on "How to put your foot in the door” or “How to get the leadership role”.


250 women attended the IWD2023 at the National Gallery of Australia to celebrate diversity and identity.



150+ women (and male champions) through keynote speech at IWD2023 events organised by GOPIO, MAC and WIN and NATA Australia.



50+ women will attend the See it to be it conference



Enhanced women’s capacity and embrace a mindset change through professional development in the IT profession and technology leadership.



Expanded their professional network, bridging the gap between CALD women and leadership pathways.



Showcased authentic leadership and role modeling by participating in a panel discussion alongside CEOs, technology leaders, and academics from CALD backgrounds.



Strengthened their skills to succeed in the ICT industry as an emerging leader.



Overcame challenges and barriers unique to CALD individuals in ICT.



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