Opinion

Decoded's Kathryn Parsons on fighting the 'invisible barrier' to women in technology

Each day this week, we'll ask a female "master of business" to share the story of her rise to the top. Kathryn Parsons, the founder of digital training company Decoded, on why we are in the midst of a revolution.

Kathryn Parsons, founder, Decoded
Kathryn Parsons, founder, Decoded

"What would you do if you were not afraid?"

This question is on the walls of Facebook’s offices, and in the pages of Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In. Self-belief seems to be one of the greatest challenges for professional women right now.

Why were there so few women on stage at Davos? So few women represented at board level? So few women (and girls) in technology? It’s a complex topic, and traditional hierarchies of big business make change a slow process.

We really are in the midst of a revolution, which is also an opportunity to break down some of the traditional hierarchies that rarely put women at the top.

The world of technology holds so many tantalising solutions. The web is one of the most democratic tools ever created. It enables the unprecedented growth of businesses and ideas; an opportunity to demolish traditional corporate structures and replace them with ways of working that are more relevant and rewarding for all.

Yet, despite this, technology (and access to it) is still very elite in terms of geography, class… and gender.

The digital products we are using now, which are shaping the world as we know it and our future digital economies, are mostly imagined and realised by men – and used mostly by women.

I am passionate that a perception issue around technology, a fear even, should not create an invisible barrier for women opting in and owning this sphere.

It’s been an incredible experience witnessing the empowering effect of [acquiring] digital skills upon women at Decoded.

We really are in the midst of a revolution, which is also an opportunity to break down some of the traditional hierarchies that rarely put women at the top.

Every day I am faced with new challenges and doubts. We have grown a simple vision and idea to a business, and have a long way to go yet. But I do believe in women’s place in the digital world.