The code for inclusion: How diversity is reprogramming the future of tech

Diverse Group of Students Working Together, diversity in tech concept


Diana Saarva, Co-Founder and COO of Miros, explores the transformative impact of women in the technology industry, emphasizing the shift towards greater gender diversity.

Diana Saarva is the Co-Founder and COO of Miros, an AI deep tech company on a mission to change the way computers and humans interact.

Miros is revolutionizing online product discovery through wordless search, enabling ecommerce to convert more sales and consumers to find the ideal product. Its solution is already being used by retailers Swap, Percentil and momox fashion.

Diana has over 15 years of experience building and scaling ecommerce startups and disrupting ecommerce technology, with roles covering digital agency management, strategy and operations at marketing technology companies and helping digital retailers operate more successfully and efficiently.

Diana was the COO of Fits.me, prior to Miros, she co-founded Fits.me, a category leader in online changing rooms, acquired by ecommerce giant Rakuten. She was also previously the Co-Founder of the Retail Recharged conference series which showcased the latest innovations for the real industry, and Co-Founder of House of Artisans, a company that connected local craftsmen to customers around the world.

Diana is an Executive Member of Pavillion, the essential community-powered learning platform for CEOs, GTM leaders, and their Teams.

The technology industry’s female talent pool is finally being recognised.

Women, once side-lined in this sector, now emerge as influential architects. This isn’t just a shift in demographics but a radical re-coding of the face of technology. With this new era of pivotal re-shapers, our digital future appears far more diversity-driven and morally aligned.

As markets evolve, they demand not only innovative solutions but also varied perspectives that understand and cater to global consumer bases. This means a gender-diverse tech sector can accommodate fresh viewpoints and innovative approaches – both invaluable assets in meeting demands. A McKinsey analysis reported that by increasing tech’s gender equity, European businesses could increase the number of women from 530,000 to 1.8 million by 2027. Today, this would aid an influx of smarter boards and tech entrepreneurs and inspire visionary CEOs. 

Market-Driven Innovation and Diversity

Diversity stands as the driving force behind numerous innovations, insights, and developments. It’s a simple equation: products born from diverse input are more likely to resonate with a broader audience. This emphasises a compelling case for gender diversity and inclusion in technology, extending beyond the business realm.

Consider tech giants like IBM and HP as pioneers not only in diverse leadership but also in recognising the broader benefits for society. They have strategically embraced diversity, realising it as an imperative advantage in the tech sector and beyond.

Drawing insights from IBM’s Women in Leadership report, organisations identified as gender equity leaders not only contribute to the business bottom line but also foster societal benefits. The report advocates for reshaping the common dialogue around diversity, recommending the design of roles tailored to top talent and the implementation of strategies that promote greater inclusivity within the workplace.

Beyond the tech industry, the impact of diversity extends into education and politics. Recognising diverse perspectives in these realms becomes crucial, fostering a more inclusive and dynamic society. Embracing diversity is not just a strategic move for businesses; it’s a societal imperative with far-reaching advantages.

Women Leading Start-ups and Innovation

The start-up ecosystem, a veritable breeding ground for tech innovation, is witnessing a significant trend: an upsurge in women-led enterprises. Contrary to some outdated notions, data suggests that start-ups with female founders or co-founders often outperform their male-only counterparts, both in terms of innovation and revenue generation. This isn’t just a win for gender equality; it’s market validation of the unique insight women bring to the tech table. Yet maintaining an unbiased perspective on gender dynamics is an equal necessity. Recognise both the strides made and the distance yet to be covered in bridging the gender gap in tech entrepreneurship.

In 2023, there had been recognisable growth of females in C-suite positions and sitting on executive boards, increasing by 12% in both. However, this narrative isn’t without its complexities. While celebrating the successes, it’s critical to recognise that this is a small improvement and part of a much bigger picture, making each step more vital in enforcing a future where there are enough women in the pipeline to reach senior leadership roles. 

Overcoming Challenges Through Resilience and Resourcefulness

The journey for women in tech isn’t without its hurdles. From confronting ingrained biases to shattering glass ceilings, the path is laden with challenges. Yet, what stands out is the remarkable resilience and resourcefulness of women in this field. Initiatives like She Can Code are pivotal, equipping women with the necessary skills to thrive in tech, while also nurturing a community that fosters innovation and leadership.

The Role of Education and Mentorship

Education plays a pivotal role in preparing women for careers in technology. By encouraging more girls to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education from an early age, we can increase the pipeline of talented women entering the tech workforce. 

Yet, a striking statistic remains. Almost half of STEM degrees are women, but less than 20 per cent are employed in these fields, reports McKinsey. However, notable mentorship programs are preventing women from feeling isolated within this sector. Now, aspiring females in tech are efficiently connected with seasoned professionals and help bridge the gap between education and career advancement, providing guidance, advice, and opportunities to grow. Mentorship programmes are even more vital today – especially if the most gender-diverse companies are 45 per cent more likely to outperform the least diverse.  

Policy and Organisational Change

For the tech industry to fully leverage the potential of women, policy changes and organisational shifts are necessary. Policies that promote gender equality, such as equal pay, parental leave, and anti-discrimination measures, are fundamental. Additionally, organisations must actively work to eliminate biases in hiring, promotions, and project assignments. Creating an inclusive culture that values and nurtures diversity is essential for the sustainable growth of the tech industry.

A Future Shaped by Women

As more women carve their niche in tech, the future looks increasingly promising. With female leaders driving innovation, the tech industry is gearing up to develop more inclusive, effective solutions reflective of contemporary society. This shift transcends gender parity; it’s about harnessing human potential to foster progress and innovation. In this context, women’s contributions are not just beneficial but essential. The future of tech, shaped by women, promises a more inclusive, equitable, and innovative industry.

Looking ahead

The tech sector stands at a pivotal junction, grappling with the dual challenges of innovation demands and rectifying historical gender imbalances. Women, as they break barriers and shape the future of tech, are a testament to the fact that diversity is not just an ethical choice but a market imperative. As the industry continues to develop, the role of women will not only shape future technologies but also redefine the benchmarks of success in the tech world.


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