Women have been fighting for gender equality and empowerment for decades, and while progress has been made, there is still a long way to go. In a recent interview, Monique Morrow, a Tech Industry Leader and Founding Board Member of Baobabooks, shared her thoughts on how to promote female empowerment and diversity in society.
With more than 25 years experience as a leader in the technology industry, Monique Morrow has a proven track record of driving business growth and innovation through the implementation of emerging technologies. Monique’s unwavering focus on social good has earned her recognition in the industry. She holds 17 patents and has co-authored multiple books. Monique has been acknowledged for her many accomplishments including being listed as one of Forbes Magazine’s top 50 women in technology globally, winning the WomenTech Network Global Technology Leadership award in 2020 and was recognized in 2021 as one of the top 100 Women in Cybersecurity in Europe. Chief in Tech also named Monique as one of the top 100 Women in Tech Leaders to watch in 2022.
- What is the most important piece of advice you would give to a young woman in today’s society?
MM: Create your own brand and narrative that adhere to your tenets. No one defines you but you!
- Hearing that the percentage of women in all tech-related careers has actually decreased over the last two years, how does this make you feel and what is the first step we need to take to reverse this trend?
MM: It’s a constant topic and I believe success will be when we no longer have to discuss this issue anymore. Amplify women in tech more. Create a ‘Sheroes Comic Book Series’ – that would be awesome!
- What do you think we can do to promote female empowerment in the next generation?
MM: Male allies are critical here. It does not have to be a zero sum game. For me I believe in reverse mentoring and am a fan of 17 year old Elisa Torres from Chile who is founder of Girls in Quantum (https://girlsinquantum.com/) – we will be speaking together in an ITU ‘Girls and Women Talking Tech’ on 13 March.
- What does power mean to you?
MM: Power as a term can be both negative and positive – for me it is an opportunity to shape responsibly a shared vision. Power should never be usurped. There is a notion of inclusion here. Give credit where credit is due as an example.
- Having spent the majority of your career in tech-related environments, did you find it difficult to get involved or integrate yourself?
MM: No, the excitement is in solving problems and creating opportunities. My mentors and coaches have been male and I am most grateful to these men who have worked with me and continue to be my advocates.
- What is your proudest achievement?
MM: There are many, perhaps co-publishing my first book Developing IP-Based Services. I also think about being a co-inventor with 17 patents.
- If you could have dinner with three inspirational women who would they be and why? (In order of timeline):
MM: Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person to win a Nobel Prize twice in two different scientific fields. There were attempts to prevent her from getting her much deserved recognition from both men and women.
Hedy Lamarr, an Austrian-born American film actress who was also an inventor. She preferred inventing to acting. Hedy invented the foundational technology for today’s Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth communication system – and was dubbed the “Mother of Wi-Fi”.
Katherine Johnson, Evelyn Boyd Granville, Ann Easley, May Jackson, Mayr Roy Mouton, Dorothy Vaughn, African-Americans who have been pivotal behind NASA and were the basis of the film ‘Hidden Figures’. The discrimination these pioneers encountered for being both women and of colour was daunting.
Monique is a founding Board member of Baobabooks Education and has been an ardent advocate for all things related to data protection, data privacy, and technology in general, while tirelessly advocating for equal educational opportunities for all. We are grateful for having her expertise in technology to foster creativity and writing worldwide, and look forward to continuing to benefit from it. Stay tuned to hear from more inspirational women in the Baobabooks network.