Grace Hopper, a pioneer of computer programming, had a clock that ran backwards and a pirate flag on her office wall. These served as reminders for the American Naval programmer that we can tackle challenges by approaching them in new ways – sometimes even by bucking the system. “Humans are allergic to change,” she said. “I try to fight that.”

In our 2018 special report on Women in GovTech, 68 women from across Asia Pacific and beyond share what drives them everyday to make changes to the institutions they serve, and what advice they would give to others who want to use technology to change the world.

Role models like Hopper, who began coding in the 1940s, have paved the way for many women to take up careers in tech. This special report showcases the stories of people who can be role models for many others in this region.

From Cambodia to New Zealand, women from over 20 countries have taken part in the report. They work in roles as diverse as ministers, CEOs, ambassadors, analysts, futurists, UX designers and digital leaders. They have risen to these positions from backgrounds as varied as dancers, educators, urban planners and activists.

Each of them share the most important skills that have helped them throughout the course of their careers – whether that be a few months or decades. While STEM skills have played a crucial role, many share how curiosity, empathy, negotiation, communication, and perseverance have also been critical – in some cases, even more so than degree qualifications.

And for those of us – regardless of gender – looking for courage and motivation for the new year, we hope you find these stories as inspiring as we do.

Meet the Women in GovTech 2018.

Armenia

Marina Mkhitaryan, Lead, Kolba Lab, UNDP Armenia

Australia

Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney, Australia

Pia Andrews, Executive Director of Digital Government, Policy and Innovation, New South Wales

Lucy Cameron, Senior Research Consultant, Data61

Danielle Cave, Senior Analyst, International Cyber Policy Centre, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Cambodia

Serey Chea, Assistant Governor, National Bank of Cambodia

Denmark

Rikke Zeberg, Director-General, Agency for Digitisation, Ministry of Finance

Estonia

Liisa Past, Next Generation Leader at the McCain Institute for International Leadership, Arizona State University

Finland

Anna-Maija Karjalainen, Director General of Public Sector ICT, Ministry of Finance

Anna Korpi, Counsellor, Education and Science, Embassy of Finland in Singapore

Paula Parviainen, Ambassador, Embassy of Finland in Singapore

Georgia

Sesili Verdzadze, Head of Innovations at ServiceLab, Ministry of Justice

Global

Marta Pérez Cusó, Economic Affairs Officer, United Nations ESCAP

Shreya Basu, Lead for Asia Pacific, Open Government Partnership

Anita Hazenberg, Director, INTERPOL Innovation Centre

Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, Secretary General, United Cities And Local Governments Asia Pacific

Dato’ Maimunah Sharif, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Habitat

Hong Kong

Wendy Kwan, Senior Systems Manager (Digital Identity), Office of the Government Chief Information Officer

India

Radha Chauhan, Chief Executive Officer, Government e-Marketplace

Indonesia

Sofiarti Dyah Anggunia, System Analyst, West Kalimantan Provincial Government

Derina Jayanthi, Citizen Complaint Analyst, Jakarta Smart City

Lianatasha, Staff, Leadership Strategic Support Division, National Cyber and Encryption Agency

Nazria Rahmi, Business Analyst, Jakarta Smart City, Indonesia

Ahyani Raksanagara, Head of ICT Department, Bandung City Government

Industry

Sala Muthukrishnan, Analytics Build Leader, Asia, DXC Technology

Geraldine Kor, Director, Regional Marketing, Asia, DXC Technology

Israel

Shai-Lee Spigelman, CEO, Digital Israel

Malaysia

Dr Suhazimah Binti Dzazali, GCIO, MAMPU

Dr Fazilah Shaik Allaudin, Senior Deputy Director, Ministry of Health

Mastura Ishak, Programme Director, Blockchain, Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology

Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation

Dr Yusminar Yunus, Director, Digital Government Division, MAMPU

Mexico

Yolanda Martinez, National Digital Strategy Coordinator, MexicoDigital, Mexico

Philippines

Lilia Guillermo, Chief Information Officer, Department of Budget and Management

Antonette T. Torres, Program Manager, iGovPhil, Department of ICT

Singapore

Cong Rong, Deputy CIO / Deputy Director (Schools, Infrastructure), Information Technology Branch, GovTech

Evangeline Chua, Chief People Officer, GovTech

Peiling Chua, Software Engineer, Applications Infrastructure, GovTech

Dr Alvina Goh, Deputy Director, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, GovTech

Cindy Goh, Head (Digital Systems and Services), National Library Board

Tamsin Greulich-Smith, Chief, Smart Health Leadership Centre

Siti Rabiatul Adawiyah Binte Hairy, Associate Software Engineer, Agile Consulting and Engineering, GovTech

Serene Ho, Director, Networked Trade Platform Office, Singapore Customs, Ministry of Finance

Ho Yin Shan, Head (Operations), SP Services

Nurul Jihadah Hussain, Founder, The Codette Project

Erlina Ke, Deputy Director, Application and Business Management Services, Ministry of Law, GovTech

Chloe Lim, Applications Consultant, Information Technology Branch, GovTech

Jane Lim, Assistant Chief Executive, Sectoral Transformation, IMDA

Juliana Lim, Head of Talent Networking, SGInnovate

May Liew, Vice President, Innovation, SP Group

Lin Zi, Quantitative Analyst, Quantitative Strategy, GovTech

Ming Sien Choong, Senior Manager, Government Digital Services, GovTech

Liyana Muhammad Fauzi, Senior Manager, Strategic Planning and International, GovTech

Mizah Rahman, Co-founder, Participate In Design

Jacqueline Poh, Deputy Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office

See Ning Seah, Product Manager, Digital Design & Development, GovTech 

Siew Yim Cheng, Chief Digital Officer, JTC Corporation

Sze Ki Sim, Head of Brand, SGInnovate

Assistant Commissioner Wai Cheng Chui, Deputy Director of Citizen Services Centre, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority

Wee Hui Ling, Manager, Data Science Division, JTC Corporation

Wong Hefen, Deputy Director, Co-Lab, Ministry of Manpower

Wu Jiezhen, Executive Director, The Hidden Good

Yu Ling Mah, Director, Procurement, GovTech

Yvonne Chia, UX Designer, Agile Consulting and Engineering, GovTech

South Africa

Ayanda Dlodlo, Minister of Public Service & Administration

Spain

Francesca Bria, Chief Technology and Digital Innovation Officer, Barcelona City Council

Taiwan

Audrey Tang, Digital Minister

Shuyang Lin, Co-Founder, Public Digital Innovation Space

Thailand

Varangtip Satchatippavarn, Head of Global Partnerships, Startup Thailand, National Innovation Agency

United Kingdom

Emma Gawen, Partner, Public Digital

Tanya Filer, Head of the Digital State Project, Bennett Institute of Public Policy