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Where are they?

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

Then if it’s true, “where are they” — famously retorted a scientist to the allegations that aliens and UFOs are marauding our skies (see Fermi paradox). So if it’s true that women compose 49,6% of the world’s population, then where are they all in our beloved tech/VC sector?

We all know it’s quite à la mode to talk about gender bias and long term solutions to this issue. But we are here to report that we at Tuz have spotted “them” all over the place. Mainly, still, in confidential roles, but in positions of emergence. And this is a sweet song of encouragement.

We keep saying in our articles: we had the chance. Well yes, we truly have the chance to be able to witness a small tectonic change taking place in the regions we cover (Central Asia and the Caucasus). The following are a few inspiring examples we would like to present.

First, let’s start with a Kazakh founder some of you may know. Alyona Tkachenko who co-founded startup Nommi (global hotspot service). She is a straight-to-the-point and down-to-earth entrepreneur capitalizing on her cerebral elegance and unsuspected creative vulnerabilities. Alyona is now astutely re-orienting Nommi in specific directions to navigate around the pandemic.

Still in Kazakhstan, we interacted on the VC side with two Ainurs in AIFC. Ainur Akkuzhina is a returnee from California advising foreign VCs on incorporation matters. Energetic and generous, her knowledge and support is a soothing presence to foreign entities like ours. As for Ainur Zhanturina, she is a methodic and committed Senior manager in the Fintech Hub helping her organization reach a global presence.

Further South in Uzbekistan, we were absolutely marveled to witness the gestation and then brilliant execution of a team of women at ITP hub. Led by young Sasha and her even younger duo “girls” (they insist this isn’t politically incorrect), they are helping the local tech ecosystem solidify itself. This was possible by a visionary ITP administration, notably COO Abdulahad, who placed its trust in them in this groundbreaking experiment.

In the country still, Elena Selezneva came across as an extremely knowledgeable “veteran”. She is a true marathon runner who has witnessed over the past 8 years the steady progress of Tashkent’s tech ecosystem. But she is also a sprinter with scores of ideas and projects simultaneously cooking. As such, this soft-spoken lady is a powerhouse in her own right.

Further West in Georgia, Irine Khech is a super active techie with a drive to help her country thrive. Dedications and quick executions are two words symbolizing her actions. She is already featured in an article depicting the driving force of women in the country.

In the opposite end, in Mongolia, we interacted with Uuganbayar Tserendorj finance manager at fintech startup AND global. Quiet and always smiling, she means business to help her entity in global orbit.

And then there is the quiet force within our ranks. We were lucky at TUZ to spot and recruit a terrific, brainy, and hungry duo: Kyrgyz Zari and Kazakh Zhazira. In our humble views, these ladies will be a significant contributing force across the two regions. But we will leave it at that, as self-promotion here would be faux pas. Just check our next webinars.

So where are all the women? Well, they are everywhere and we daily interact with them. And they are driving forces, which is a very positive development. Let us encourage more managers like Abdulahad to appreciate this unfolding reality and thus provide chances to women. Endless lectures, talks, and programs won’t replace actual promotions — but promotion with an equal salary: neat bonbon titles won’t replace financial independence, which is a driving force behind entrepreneurial vocations.

About this sweet song we are reporting here, Gentlemen, recall the old English phrase: “He who hath ears, let him hear.”

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