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FEATURE STORY March 5, 2019

Thinking Equal in PNG: Crystal’s Path as a Software Entrepreneur

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For International Women’s Day 2019, get to know some of the women driving change and increasing equality across the Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea. Crystal Kewe, from East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea is a 20-year old self-taught Software Engineer and Entrepreneur who is Chief Technical Officer of a software company she co-founded.

I co-founded a software company called Crysan with my father after opting out of conventional education at the age of 15. I currently serve as the Chief Technical Officer. I manage the technical team, both on-shore and off-shore. Our off-shore development teams are located in Europe and South America, and we occasionally work with our teams in South-East Asia as well.

I have eight years of computer programming experience and more than five years’ experience working full-time in the industry. I am passionate about all things mathematics, physics and computer science.

I have gained plenty of knowledge and experience and have had the incredible chance to travel the world, meet new people, participate in exciting conferences and dialogues, and ultimately to continue my passion through working in some of the most complex software systems in Papua New Guinea and the Asia-Pacific.

My mission in life is to constantly grow beyond all boundaries as a woman and as a human being. I am passionate about developing myself to reach new heights in my personal and professional life.

What inspires you to get up in the morning? What drives you?

I am driven by a fascination about the apparent limitlessness of the human mind and consciousness. My life’s mission also inspires me to look forward to the future every day and remain optimistic, no matter my circumstances or environment.

I would like to inspire girls and women to have ambitions to become leading mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists, professors in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] and entrepreneurs that start the next tech giants.

What are your hopes for the future?

I hope that in the near future, human beings as a species, will collectively grow beyond the stark sexual stereotypes that currently define us. Our sexuality and sexual orientation should be a private matter and should not define us in the eyes of the world.

I look forward to a future where who I am is not defined by my sex, but by my contribution to the world, whether I am a mathematician, quantum physicist or a mother.

Do you have a favourite quote or saying?

The following quotes help define who I am and what I stand for.

Nikola Tesla, Physicist and Inventor:

-        “The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.”

-        “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

-        “If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would have the key to the universe.”

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple:

-        “The people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who actually do.”

Where do you see Papua New Guinea and women in PNG in 25 years?

Papua New Guinean women are naturally intelligent and strong mentally; and I see these characteristics as being the anchors for women to lead change in their own lives, families, communities and in their professions.

We must also prepare ourselves because the next 25 years will be very challenging for women in PNG as the country integrates and interacts more with the world at large.

PNG is a developing country so there will be opportunities for increased participation by women in all sectors of the economy and society in the next 25 years.

What change would you like to see that could bring greater equality for women in Papua New Guinea?

I believe that women in PNG will improve their status by taking complete charge and being leaders of their own lives. I would like to see girls and women pursuing their interests and dreams as priority and their role as bearers-of-life, as supplementary or secondary. Dreams and ambitions will automatically prepare girls and women to be competitive and this will enable women to gain respect and raise their own status.

There are just too many programmes and organizations working on greater equality for women that the message is often lost in the complexity and thin spread of limited resources. The public may also be numbed or zoned out by the constant barrage of messages in numerous media and development platforms.

I would like to see a change in approach to improving the status of women. A new approach that focuses on guiding girls and women to become independent mentally in order to effect gender equality in their own lives. We don’t need unnecessary laws; we need female intellectual empowerment for real and lasting gender equality.

If you could use one word to describe women in the Pacific what would it be?

Resourceful.

What about in Papua New Guinea?

Strong.

 

**The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank Group and its employees.


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