Area 3 Director, Faith O’Brien with the Zonta Club of Perth inaugural winner of the Woman in Technology Award 2019 – Shakila Rathnayake

Are you a woman who is studying or already in the field pursuing the continued advancement in the field of Technology?

The world economy, industry and sciences are becoming increasingly digitised, and these developments are disrupting society and familiar social processes. Women, however, are still largely underrepresented in technology and other STEM fields. To create a world in which men and women have equal opportunities, women need to have an active role in technology and technological developments.

In 2019, Zonta International piloted a new International Women in Technology Scholarship to encourage women to pursue education, career opportunities and leadership roles in technology.

The Scholarship is designed to acknowledge women of any age, working in the field or pursuing a technology degree who demonstrate outstanding potential in the field.

The pilot program enabled applicants to have access, through one application, to these award opportunities:

  1. Zonta Club of Perth: Will recognise your achievements and forward your application to District 23.
  2. District 23: The successful Zonta Club of Perth application is then forwarded to Zonta International District 23 for consideration of an additional US$2,000 ‘district’ award.
  3. International Level: The successful District 23 application is then forwarded to Zonta International to be considered for an additional US$8,000 ‘international’

Shakila Rathnayake was the inaugural 2019 Zonta Club of Perth awardee.  Shakila is pursuing a Master of Science in Geospatial Science and is already active in the field.  We wish Shakila all the best in her endeavors.

Zonta International is currently evaluating the findings of the pilot program.  Members will vote at the International Convention in Chicago in July 2020 whether or not they wish to continue with this global scholarship.

Meanwhile, the Zonta clubs in Western Australia are also considering the possibility of replacing the club award with a higher value, state level award.  While there will not be an award in 2020, next year could see this scholarship mature into a high profile, long-term global program.