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Opportunities galore for women in the tech industry: Futurist Cathy Hackl

By Dimpal Bajwa

Women who aspire to be in the technology workforce should dare to dream and look to move out of their comfort zone so that they can hope to break the glass ceiling, futurist and CEO of Futures Intelligence Group, Cathy Hackl, said.

“People should not limit themselves and think that just because they don’t know C++ or something, then they shouldn’t enter a particular domain. These are the jobs of the future. Everything from developers and 3D fashion designers to hologram stylists. It sounds far-fetched, but it’s so broad, and there are so many opportunities for all of us,” Hackl said.

Speaking at The Economic Times-Femina Women in Tech Conference, Hackl expounded that though women’s contribution to the world of technology has increased considerably in the last few years, the workforce still had some way to go when it comes to being free from gender-bias.

Hackl, explaining further, spoke about her own life experience and the gender-bias in the AR and VR space. “I do want to preface by saying that it is different than the other parts of the tech. It’s still very collaborative and there are a lot of strong women leading,” she said.

“I feel that sometimes getting to the level of recognition that I now have, took me a lot longer and had more roadblocks, than some of my counterparts that are male. One of the things that I have learned is to have my voice heard,” Hackl added.

The futurist also spoke about the prevalent bias in the workforce against women of colour. “Several efforts are being made and there are companies that are trying to increase the number of women in the workforce. The number of women of colour and differently-abled people needs to be higher. The biggest thing here is that with AR and VR we are creating the next phase of reality and we need to have everyone at the table with different points of view.”

When questioned about how she found her path into AR VR, Hackl retorted saying that her journey began when she walked into a conference six years ago and tried a VR headset.

“I went into an experience of call confinement, in a solid confinement cell. Within a couple of minutes, I felt claustrophobic, I took the headset off and I felt that this is the future of storytelling, of business, there is something here and that was the moment where I said that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Even my husband was like – ‘What are you doing?,’ but you know it’s paid off now and I am a part of this really exciting industry.”

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