Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the tech industry: the story of Ms. Shams Talaat
In June 2022, Ms. Shams Talaat (Baghdad, Iraq) joined MSM’s Short Executive Programme Gender Equality and Women Entrepreneurship Policy . Ms. Talaat, only 24 years old, is a great example for many women as she strives for breaking down barriers and creating equal opportunities in the tech industry, despite the many challenges she faced in a male-dominated field. We have asked Shams to share her story with us.
Have you always been passionate about Technology?
Yes, I have always been passionate about technology since I first saw a computer in 2004, and that is why I pursued a degree in Information Technology Engineering. However, as I gained more experience and explored different career options, I realised that marketing and management were more suitable for me. That is why I joined Infinix Mobility in 2020, starting as Marketing Supervisor and later on as Head of Product Marketing, developing and implementing marketing strategies for brand and product promotion, and analysing market trends and customer preferences. Nevertheless, I still have a strong passion for technology and continue to explore it through my blogging/Instagram page.
It taught me the importance of cultural exchange and understanding, and it sparked my interest in leadership and community engagement.
When you were only 17 years old, you participated in Iraq’s young leader’s exchange programme (IYLEP) in the USA. Can you tell a bit more about this exchange programme?
This programme was designed to bring together Iraqi and American high school students and provide them with leadership training, civic education, and cultural exchange opportunities. I had the chance to attend workshops, seminars, and cultural events that helped me develop my leadership skills, learn about American culture, and build relationships with people from diverse backgrounds. Overall, the IYLEP was an incredibly enriching experience for me, and it opened up many doors for personal and professional growth. It taught me the importance of cultural exchange and understanding, and it sparked my interest in leadership and community engagement
In the third year of your college in Al-Bahrain University, you ran a big campaign about women in programming with a large telecommunications company in Iraq. Can you tell what this campaign was about and why you launched it?
I have launched the campaign with a large telecommunications company in Iraq to encourage women to pursue careers in programming . The campaign aimed to encourage and help creating equal opportunities for women in the tech industry. We organised training sessions, for three weeks about three different programming languages (Web design, Android studio, Swift).
It gives the chance to make a meaningful impact in my community and to be part of a global movement to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the tech industry.
You are accepted a an ambassador in the “Google Women Techmakers Ambassador” programme.. How do you experience being part of this programme?
Being part of this programme provides me with a platform to connect with other female techmakers from all over the world, who are equally passionate about empowering their communities through various events and activities. This has given me the opportunity to learn from other women in tech and to share my own experiences and insights with them. Being a part of this programme also gives me access to various resources, such as training sessions, mentorship opportunities, and networking events, which are incredibly valuable for my personal and professional growth in the tech industry. Overall, being part of the "Google Women Techmakers Ambassador" programme is an honor and a privilege. It gives me the chance to make a meaningful impact in my community and to be part of a global movement to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the tech industry.
You have educated more than 1000 Iraqi men and women (free of charge) when you were managing “Speak Up” on a weekly basis. For what reason did you start “Speak Up”?
In 2018, we started "Speak Up" to improve the English language skills of Iraqi men and women, creating a safe and supportive environment for practice. "English Speak Up" was a free weekly event that empowered attendees to practice the English language while discussing important topics in society giving them the confidence needed for personal and professional success. Until now, we had the pleasure over 3000 participants from diverse backgrounds and professions to engage in these meaningful conversations and witnessing their remarkable progress and growth in the English language. It was truly heartwarming to see how much they cared about improving their skills, and we felt honored to be a part of their journey towards success.
I believe that policies supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment are crucial for creating a more inclusive and diverse society.
In 2022, you joined MSM’s Short Executive programme Gender Equality and Women Empowerment and Women Entrepreneurship Policy. Why did you decide to apply for this programme?
I decided to apply for this programme to deepen my knowledge and skills in these important areas. As an advocate for women in tech and a female entrepreneur myself, I believe that policies supporting gender equality and women's empowerment are crucial for creating a more inclusive and diverse society. I wanted to gain a better understanding of these policies and how to effectively implement them to drive positive change. It has been a great experience. After completing the programme, I knew how much is to know and what the right direction of woman’s rights should be.
At last, but not least…
Can you give us a small insight into your road to success? And what would be your advise for young women being at the beginning of their career?
My road to success hasn't been easy, especially as a young woman trying to prove myself in a male-dominated field. I faced many challenges along the way, including doubts from others about my abilities and experience. However, I was determined to prove them wrong and worked tirelessly to develop my skills and knowledge.
My advice to young women starting their careers is to never let anyone else's doubts or prejudices hold them back. Keep pushing yourself to learn and grow, take on new challenges, and don't be afraid to speak up and share your ideas. With hard work, determination, and the right mindset, anything is possible. You can also be anything you want! Remember that your unique perspective and skills are valuable and can make a difference in the world. And most importantly, believe in yourself and your abilities to achieve success.
Do you want to join the MSM Gender Equality and Women Empowerment and/or Women Entrepreneurship Policy programme as well?
The next Gender Equality and Women Empowerment programme will run from 26 – 30 June 2023. Click here for more information. The next Women Entrepreneurship Policy program will run from 03 – 07 July 2023. Click here for more information.