In a world where our most popular form of communication is based on technology, we’ve come pretty far in terms of modern electronic components. Once, we used hand-written letters that would take weeks on end to reach someone across the country. Now with the press of a button, tap of a screen, or even with the command of your own voice, we can reach someone on the other side of the globe.
With all of the technological advancements we’ve achieved over the years, we’ve yet to align our developments in society up with our mathematical and scientific counterparts. Gender stereotypes about the suitability of women in leadership, particularly the technology sector, are still perpetuated in major corporations all over the world – while according to co-founder of Cape Town’s UCOOK, Katie Barry, tech-focused organisations founded and led by female entrepreneurs have been identified as realising greater success financially. This is referring to Forbes recent findings which revealed that women technology entrepreneurs in America, while working with less financial support, are able to generate 20% greater revenue than their male counterparts in the same position.
The 26-year-old is CFO of one of South Africa’s fastest growing technology start-ups, UCOOK, which delivers right here in Cape Town, as well as Durban and Johannesburg. Katie is challenging gender stereotypes and changing the gender bias of the industry, encouraging women who are successful within the technology sector to discuss their experiences. “This is the first step to breaking down these boundaries,” she says.
The dinner kit delivery services, UCOOK, delivers vegetarian, low carb or rustic recipes, created by the country’s best chefs, along with the fresh and organic ingredients required straight to the customer’s doorstep. The start-up recently just reached 1 million deliveries.
This major success can be largely attributed to Katie’s hard-working skills and focus. With a degree in Spanish, Mathematics, Economics and having self-studied her way through an Accounting degree, Katie’s commitment to continuously educating herself and self-improving, are just some of the characteristics driving her success at full speed.
Katie says she stays true to herself in order to keep a level head and succeed in a male-dominated environment. “It is essential that women don’t feel as though they have to hide or feel ashamed of their emotions and become ‘one of the boys’. I can get very emotional and have found a way to use these emotions to my advantage – and in the best interests of the business. I have taught myself to channel my emotions and share my views in a way that people can understand and relate to.”
In a corporate and cold industry, Katie feels that it’s refreshing for people to feel comfortable in their work, without having to worry about pretending to be the perfect businesswoman. “There are such exciting things happening in technology and the entrepreneurial space. To truly make the most of this, we need to emphasise three considerations for the industry moving forward: compassion, inclusivity and ethics,” she says.
Sign up for UCOOK here and get fresh, organic ingredients and world class recipes delivered to your doorstep every week.