Gender inequality in STEM (Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering) is a global occurrence. In APAC, the STEM field is dominated by males (75%) in comparison to females (25%). The situation is largely similar in Malaysia. It is also male-focused, but marginally better with 71% men.
Interestingly, this disparity has not stopped women in Malaysia from pursuing their dreams in STEM. From Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman who paved the way for women in STEM, to PhD student Nur Adlyka Ainul Annuar who discovered evidence of a supermassive black hole, Malaysian women have pushed the boundaries of STEM and in doing so, ventured into unchartered territory.
Sharala Axryd is an example of an undeterred Malaysian woman in STEM. As the Chief Executive Officer of ASEAN Data Analytics Exchange (ADAX), Sharala is responsible for humanizing data - contributing to the developments in the field of data science, nurturing data professionals, and looking for avenues to harness the power of data.
Driven by the need to learn, Sharala made the leap to data science and she has not looked back since. Today, she leads the team in making powerful changes through building a community of data scientists who contribute towards the nation’s economic and social growth.
“When we first started this journey, we wanted to produce world class talent, only to realize that we needed great teachers too. LinkedIn helped me approach accomplished statisticians and world class academia like Harvard Business School. I then simple shared my vision with them and they responded positively. From these connections, I hired my first data scientist and eventually built the ADAX team. Today, ADAX has established a team of in-house data scientists, mentoring startups and helping ASEAN organizations become relevant, sustainable and most importantly, profitable,” Sharala said.
Feon Ang, Vice President of Talent and Learning Solutions, Asia-Pacific at LinkedIn, was delighted that ADAX was able to leverage LinkedIn as a catalyst for the growth of women in STEM in Malaysia, “It is always inspiring to hear stories close to our hearts. For me, it would be the stories of other women who have made their mark in unchartered territories. A visionary leader like Sharala, who has beaten the odds and have chartered a career in the STEM industry, is a testament to women everywhere, and we’re glad that LinkedIn was able to create a conducive environment for ADAX’s growth.