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Stressing careers in technology for women now in Vogue

Cuberider’s Solange Cunin with 
Vogue Australia editor-in-chief Edwina McCann. Picture: John Feder
(Photo:formal dresses)

Technology and women’s luxury fashion feels like an odd mix but Edwina McCann is determined to ensure that doesn’t last.

The editor-in-chief of Vogue Australia, like every glossy magazine editor, has long grappled with how to engage corporate women with her title — after all, they are the ones who can afford the luxury fashions her magazine so ­lavishly showcases.

Events and summits have come and gone but none has met the satisfaction of McCann.

“My issue is that they never ­really had a purpose — we weren’t trying to solve a problem,” she says. “The problem is getting women into the tech sectors.”

Thus last year Vogue Codes was born, a modest summit for corporate women aimed at ­addressing the many systemic blockages preventing women from embarking on a career in technology.

This year the summit, which ran on Friday in Sydney’s Barangaroo, a new business area named after the “feisty” wife of Bennelong, was aimed at corporate women, while at the weekend it joined consumer event Vogue Codes Live and Vogue Codes Kids, run with the Code Club and aimed at primary school children keen to learn coding basics.

And Vogue Codes will take ­itself to Melbourne with Vogue Codes Live and two breakfasts. “Last year we had 200 people; this year we will have over 2000 ­people go through a Vogue Codes event,” McCann says.

In its debut year, Westpac and HP sponsored the event. This year Telstra and BMW have come on board. “This is a cause-driven issue. At every level there seems to be sexism ­apparent and some of it is women to women; our attitudes need to change.

“We have to accept as mothers and women in management that we have to accept some responsibility as well. We are not encouraging enough women in work and in our homes to seek opportunities in this sector.”

At 24, Solange Cunin, chief executive and founder of Cuberider, is a success in her chosen ­industry but keenly feels the need for Vogue Codes. In December her company made history when a Japanese rocket sent ­Australia’s first payload to the International Space Station, carrying a small ­integrated sensor containing the ­experiments of more than 1000 high school students, part of Cuberider’s science education courses.

“I went against the tide to study science and maths, and I came from the country and there weren’t many mentors,” Cunin says. “I had to do it with a handful of supportive teachers at my school. Going to study engineering was not the norm.

“The whole Vogue Codes project really matches what we do anyway in teaching children coding. Being an entrepreneur can be quite lonely. That is the same for being a chick in tech; there aren’t many of us, so often you don’t get to be in the same room.”

In recent years many luxury women’s magazines have broadened their priorities. Thus rival ­titles such as InStyle laud the achievements of corporate leaders and scientists in their annual Women of Style awards, recognising that fashion and beauty prizes are simply no longer enough.

McCann says Conde Nast, the global publishing giant that ­licenses Vogue locally to News Corporation Australia, publisher of The Australian, has requested several briefings about Vogue Codes.

“It could very much ­become a pillar of the Vogue brand internationally,” she says.Read more at:formal dresses sydney

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