The importance of ‘making female LegalTech leaders visible’
Women of the Australian Legal Technology Association (WALTA) has officially launched a program to empower and inspire women in legal technology and enact change.
Following the release of a research paper commissioned by the Australian Legal Technology Association (ALTA) and sponsored by PEXA: Diversity in LegalTech – It’s Time for Action, WALTA will aim to create tangible change for women in the Australian legal tech community.
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WALTA is led by Karen Finch, Jodie Baker, Lisa Dowie and Amanda Fajerman and is a subcommittee under the umbrella of ALTA.
Presenting the report’s findings at ALTACON21, Jodie Baker, founder and chief executive at Xakia Technologies and WALTA committee member, outlined three “calls to action”: funding, female visibility, and creating a voice for female founders and participants in Australian Legal Technology.
Throughout 2021, ALTA also conducted “Think Tank” sessions, which identified initiatives for tangible and impactful change to achieve gender diversity in the Australian legal tech landscape, according to Karen Finch, ALTA director and WALTA committee chair.
“All stakeholders were given the opportunity to articulate ideas for change, and there was overwhelming alignment about what was needed to improve gender diversity in LegalTech,” she said.
WALTA will kick off its program of change with the creation of the WALTA Collective: a portal that connects founders to funders and provides education, resources and training.
“Funding is crucial to the survive-to-thrive transition for early-stage companies and is a critical roadblock for female founders. Only 2 per cent of global venture capital funding finds its way to female-only founded start-ups. LegalTech is no different,” Ms Baker said.
“By creating a community where founders and funders can come together, female founders can seek guidance on how to navigate this difficult stage and overcome some of the existing barriers to funding for female founders.”
The group already has over 200 members and is growing fast. In addition, WALTA will launch with a live and streamed event on 28 April 2022. WALTA will also focus on the creation of a directory of legal tech founders and professionals – and attempt to improve the visibility of women in the legal tech space, where they remain largely unseen, according to the ALTA report.
“We want to raise the visibility and profile of female LegalTech professionals and provide a means for the legal industry to consciously include diversity as part of the procurement process,” Ms Finch added.
“By making female LegalTech leaders visible, WALTA will facilitate this change in the legal industry.”
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