Women account for only 17 per cent of IT specialists in Germany, a representative study by the Bitkom e. V. digital association has found. Anja Schumann, the brain behind the Hamburg-based non-profit association Moinworld e. V., aims to raise this share and make the scene more feminine. Programming courses and workshops on blockchain play an important role during meetups as exemplified by the recently ended (October 18th, 2019) Moinblockchain 2019 conference in Hamburg. The “Diversity Meets Tech Innovation” themed conference held on HSBA’s innovation campus focused on women this time. About half of all speakers and participants were female and included keynote speakers from IBM, ConsenSys, HSBA, B9lab and Parity Technologies, according to Schumann. Special emphasis was on blockchain and forward-looking technologies with insight into the basics of the technology, the latest challenges and the potential of technology.
Promoting women’s IT careers
“Blockchain technology is presently one of the most exciting and diverse topics in the IT sector. We want to bring experts and newcomers together and demystify complex and highly technical topics,” said Schumann. The conference is keen to help women climb up the career ladder in the IT sector. “Our mission is a more inclusive IT world. The success in recent years has shown that there is willingness and support from all sides for more feminine IT.” Schumann and her team are aiming to raise the share of female software developers and managers in the IT sector to 50 per cent through tech events, programming courses and mentoring.
IDEA Innovation Award presented
The first ever Innovation in Digital Equality Award (IDEA) worth EUR 25,000 was presented in Hamburg’s City Hall as part of the conference, held under the auspices of Katharina Fegebank, Deputy Mayor of Hamburg and Senator for Science, Research and Equality. The prize honours women, who engineer forward-looking project ideas or show outstanding commitment to gender equality. Claudia von Allwörden accepted the prize for an app concept targeting female entrepreneurs while Anja Schumann, Moinworld e.V. received the award for a project that seeks to dismantle “Unconscious Bias” in digital terms.
Examples of applications and potential
Several lectures focused on examples of applied blockchain technology e.g. in the energy sector. Yet the hype is over, according Christian Schultze-Wolters, Director of IBM Blockchain Solutions. Blockchain technology is already delivering real added value and highlighted over 80 global projects worldwide in which Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is being used in the supply chain and food trust sectors to track food. Hamburg-based companies like Hapag Lloyd are already using the technology. The shipping company joined the blockchain-based, digital shipping platform developed by IBM and A. P. Moller-Maersk in Tradelens this summer to drive ahead its digital transformation.
Dr. Uve Samuels, Managing Director of HSBA and Dr. Michael Müller-Wünsch, Divisional Director Technology at Otto Group*, outlined the idea behind the Digital Hanseatic League at the conference. Participants in a quasi trust platform in the trade agree to adhere to certain, traditional Hanseatic values. Blockchain technology can be used as a basis for verifying participating companies and consumers. The Moinblockchain conference in October marked the close of the Blockchain Summer sponsored by the Ministry of Economics, Transport and Innovation.