ACS - Diversity How far have we come?

“There’s a war for talent. Women need to go where they’re celebrated, not tolerated.”

Rohini Kappadath, Senior advisor India Business Practice, KPMG.


It was very refreshing to start the day at ACS Victoria’s “Diversity – how far have we come?” breakfast at Federation Square.

A panel of diversity champions pointed out that we no longer have to present the case, in moral or economic terms, it’s now all about action.


I was honoured to moderate this dynamic panel on behalf of Engaging Women.



From left –  Rohini Kappadath, Senior Adviser India Business Practice, KPMG/ Chair, Multicultural Ministerial Business Advisory Council, Martine Harte, Jackie Savage Founder and CEO of MedCorp Technologies, Matt Lee, Former COO of Qantas & CEO OACIS and Ajay Bhatia, Chief Product and Information Officer, CarSales.Com.



ACS Victoria branch has a 50/50 representation on its Branch Executive Committee, but the broader sector is crying out for change.

“Women currently represent only 28% of the ICT (Information, Communications, Technology) workforce compared with 43% across all professional industries.”

Maria Markman, ACS Vic Chair.


The fact is we are heading towards a massive shortage in labour supply and need more participation to be competitive on the world stage.

So what needs to happen to unlock this golden human capital we already have in women, mature age, migrant workers and the disability workforce?

The World Economic Forum tells us automation means 7 million jobs will vanish by 2020, so we really have no choice but to look towards the jobs of the future.

Some of the most professionally fulfilled and interesting women I’ve met work in the sector yet it seems some careers are being stifled by issues including:

Inflexible work practices

Unconscious bias

Lack of role models

Not enough sponsorship

Shortfall of STEM university graduates

After joining the ACS to moderate several of its Diversity panel discussions and watching the conversation drive forward, I am so pleased to report progress and collaborations.

We still have a VERY long way to go but Rohini Kappadath urged us to take a proactive role within our own workplace and focus on executing diversity.


1/ The federal government sees support of STEM and STEM-based careers as essential to addressing female participation – investing $8M to support women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and Entrepreneurship

2/ The federal government is also investing $2M for a project drawing on the successful Male Champions of Change model.


1/ Organisations must be held accountable for female workforce retention.

2/ Remote/part-time work needs to remain on the agenda and gradually becoming more normalised.

3/ Code clubs and similar programs for kids and teens need to engage girls.

4/ There needs to be a greater awareness that females and males in ICT have a collectively powerful voice to become role models and sponsor future talent.

5/ We need to shift the language surrounding the profession, so it appeals to more girls.

6/ Talented women need to be guided and sponsored by women (or men) in leadership roles.

ACS panel suggests adopting language which is more akin to solving problems with digital tools and talking about the exciting possibilities of working in the sector.


“In five to ten years time we won’t need targets as it will be part of our culture, that’s what success looks like.”

Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Dr. Amanda Caples






The ACS has recently appointed Maria Markman as diversity ambassador and continues to push forward its National agenda.



Part of Engaging Women’s not-for-profit pledge is to connect women in ICT, STEM and the sciences with young women looking for a role-model, mentor or networking.

It can be as minimal as one phone call, or a week’s internship.

If you or your team is interested in finding a trusted mentor please mail us:

If you are a successful woman in ICT also drop us a line:

Discover our library of influential women who have advocated for their own careers to great success over here.


Moderating today’s panel at Federation Square was exhilarating, not only because of its diversity and inclusiveness but because of the passion which translated from the stage.

Look forward to reporting more opportunities for women & girls in ICT.


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Martine Harte is founder of Engaging Women, a platform for social good.
She is a dedicated voice in the advancement of women & girls. Contact

Learn more about her here and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

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Posted in Career insights, Elevate your voice.