Inspiring Women in High-Tech Sectors with Women of Wearables (WoW)
Forming new skills is an important task for facing the changes emerging technologies are bringing in society and businesses. It is also critical to promote equality in the work place through skill formation. Equality in the work place is not just an ethical issue, but, it also enriches the overall capability of the organisations. This is the mission of Women of Wearables (WoW). Michelle Hua and Marija Butkovic, the founders of WoW, using their entrepreneurial experience in the high-tech sector, are encouraging the presence of women in the Internet of Things, wearable technologies and AR/VR space. We have met them to hear their story and their ideas.
Saverio Romeo (SR): So, tell us what WoW is about?
Marija Butkovic and Michelle Hua (MB and MH): Women of Wearables(WoW) is UK’s and Europe’s first organisation aiming to inspire, support and connect women in wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT and VR/AR industries. Its mission is to encourage more women and diverse teams to participate in building hardware and software products as designers, product managers and developers or being founders of their own companies, as well as create more jobs for women in STEM.
WoW has a growing community of female founders, product and UX designers, developers, smart textile designers, executives and managers, all working in wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT and VR/AR industries, not only in UK and Europe, but also worldwide.
We are WoW founders, both ex lawyers-turned-entrepreneurs, passionate about women in tech, the world of wearables, fashion tech, IoT and VR/AR. After being in the wearable tech industry for the last 3 years founding our own start ups (Note: Michelle founded Made With Glove and Marija co-founded Kisha Smart Umbrella), we found a lack of women and diverse teams in this industry which is the very reason we co-founded Women of Wearables.
SR: Which types of activities is WoW running?
MB and MH: WoW supports its growing community of women and girls in tech space through monthly events, breakfasts and mentorship in Manchester and London.
WoW also delivers workshops to girls between the ages of 10-18 to make their own wearable and e-textiles projects. This encourages more girls to enter the wearables industry by equipping them with the skills they need to reduce the gender gap in the wearables industry. It also shows them how intangible skills such as coding can be converted to making a tangible product that is wearable and uses e-textiles. Through this, WoW helps the gender and diversity gap that is apparent in these industries and encourages and inspires young girls to choose STEM subjects for a career.
Read the full interview on the ETPO – Emerging Technology Policy Observatory blog.