Anni Marquard

Administrerende direktør, stifter & kreativ ildsjæl Mere om Anni

In observance of International Women’s Day, we shift our focus to the role of women in the technology sector.

We shed light on their achievements and the challenges they encounter, as this section explores the pioneering work of the Center for Digital Pædagogik (CfDP). Founded by Anni Marquard in 2004, the center advocates for digital inclusion and education – the groundwork for women’s empowerment in technology. We invite you to join us on their journey towards a more equitable digital society that invites women to explore and work in the tech industry.

Women’s participation in the tech industry

CfDP works towards many social goals with just one of them being the focus on sexual harassment in digital communities as a disheartening “fact of life”, which, according to them, is a severe problem regarding human rights that needs our attention. Anni Maquard and CfDP believes that more direct focus on these issues will heighten girls’ interest in tech through gaming, keep them exploring throughout adolescence, as well as create a want to go into tech where they can help shape the industry and participate in discussions about the role of technology in our society.

“It is evident for us that the tech industry hasn’t quite reached equality of opportunity between genders. Video gaming is a prime example of this. Both regarding gaming as a hobby and participating in e-sports, girls and women must overcome a far less welcoming environment. The unwanted sexual attention and digital sexism women must face in gaming has been known for many years,” says Anni Marquard, founder of Center for Digital Pædagogik. “Comments asking for sexual favors, outdated attitudes towards gender and being ‘kicked’ (voted out of the gaming session by male gamers) are all common occurrences for a girl or young woman trying to enjoy all the things video games have to offer,” Anni continues.

As part of their “Digital respect” project with e-sports organization Astralis and The Danish Institute for Human Rights CfDP conducted 13 interviews with young people who confirmed the tendencies mentioned by Anni Maquard.

A determined effort at an earlier age

According to CfDP, we need to talk about these challenges from an earlier age to allow more girls and women into gaming and digital public debates in order to spark their interest in education and work within the tech industry.

“Until halfway through primary school, girls and boys seem to have similar gaming habits, but when the boys replace Roblox with Valorant the girls stop playing. Young girls may voice their opinions in school projects, but as they get into their twenties, they refrain from participating in debates online, as The Danish Institute for Human Rights confirm in one of their reports,” says Anni and follows up: “It is our belief that some of the discrepancy between girls’ evident interest in tech and the lack of participation during adolescence and adulthood might be attributed to meeting strangers online and being faced with a hostile environment,” says Anni Maquard.

Balanced gender within the organization

Attracting and retaining women has never been an issue. The distribution of men and women within the organization is equal with women in both executive roles and women constituting the majority of the board of directors. The reasons might be difficult to pinpoint, but the fact that Center for Digital Pædagogik was founded by a woman with the aim of creating an inclusive environment for all people regardless of gender, age and educational background might have helped.

Anni saw a need in a market primarily influenced by male values, opinions and approaches and identified a point that still drives a lot of the work they do: for tech to accommodate women’s issues and needs, women need to be a part of the discussion. As she says it herself: “Tech creates software and hardware to make lives better and solve the problems of the future, but we also need to help educate young people and talk about the role of these digital solutions in society. If women are not actively taking part in both, we might continue to offer solutions that cater primarily to only half the population.”

The article was written in collaboration with Tech City Aarhus as part of their most recent newsletter.



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