Women in tech – still in the minority but seeing positive change
As in many other industries, there is a gender gap in IT. One look at the workforce will tell you that women in tech are underrepresented. Yet, according to the World Economic Forum, closing this gender gap is urgent and essential to ensure competitiveness and future-readiness in companies across the globe. In order to better understand this gap and also mark International Women’s Day, we asked the women in tech at Insum for their perspective on the progress of women in the field of programming and development.
We spoke to Jackie McIlroy – Apex Programmer Analyst, Zahia Amarouche – Helpdesk Technician, Maëli Emond – HR Advisor and Halima Habieb-Mammar – Programmer.
Why do you think there aren’t more women in tech?
- In the past, I think there’s been a general lack of encouragement for young girls to participate in stem fields. Although, I have noticed a positive change in this area over the past few years. For example, engineering toys are now being marketed more towards girls as well as boys.
- Lack of female role models in tech companies. If you don’t see someone like yourself doing something, you may never believe that you can do it. There need to be more females in leadership roles in tech companies that young women can look to as positive examples. Examples that show not only can you have a tech career – you can have a successful one.
- Intimidation. Even if a young woman decides to go to school for a technical degree, there is still a lot to overcome. It is hard to walk into a class and be the only female. It can be very intimidating; sometimes even isolating and this can lead to a change in career path to something more inclusive.
There are fewer women in IT because they often get the feeling that technology is complex and difficult. Consequently, they prefer positions with a more human approach.
- Prejudice about geeks…
- Previously associated with guys, the thought of spending several hours coding on a computer might not have seemed very attractive for women… That said, there are more and more women in IT programs in Universities… so standards are changing.
What has been your experience working in tech?
Working in technology has its share of ups and downs. Of course, you can say that of any field. As a woman in a male-dominated field, you are bound to encounter a unique set of challenges and situations. You need to overcome these in order to be successful. But at the end of the day, I feel lucky to have, throughout my career, been surrounded by supportive and encouraging mentors and colleagues. I am happy to have a career doing what I love and to have worked with some of the best and brightest Oracle and APEX minds. I hope that as my career continues, I will see more and more young women choosing careers in technology.
From my personal experience, I’m increasingly convinced that contrary to some perceptions, the tech sector has no reason whatsoever to be defined as a male profession. Computing and mobile technology are becoming more pervasive and social amongst all of us. I’m also lucky to be able to work remotely, an opportunity that isn’t possible in other sectors, for instance.
- Insum is my first job and I’ve been working in HR in the IT field since finishing University.
- In the beginning, It was completely unfamiliar. Because of this, I had to learn a lot about the mentality, the type of profile, and how it works.
- Now, I’m SOLD! I love the field. Firstly, the Clientele is very stimulating. Then, the IT field is constantly evolving, which makes it possible to suggest new ideas and be very creative.
- The work ambiance is unique, and I think the laid-back attitude is a huge advantage.
- Also, working side by side with a majority of guys on the daily forces you to shape a personality that can help you find your place and stand out.
What would you want to say to young women starting out in the field of programming?
The world of technology needs more smart, determined females. Don’t be intimidated when you walk into a classroom, study group, or meeting and find you are the only girl. Find strength in this. And, if you need help, ask. There are always people willing to lend a hand. If there is a mentorship program, take advantage of it. The knowledge you gain from learning from someone who has been in your shoes is invaluable. If programming/technology is what you love, whatever you do, don’t give up. It’s worth it 🙂
- It is a fascinating field where there’s room for a lot of creativity.
- Don’t be afraid to go for it and find your place!
- I think women can bring a lot in an environment mostly composed of men: new ideas, new ways of doing things, etc.
I really encourage every woman starting out in the tech sector to be confident that it will be an exciting and remarkable career.
We’d like to thank Jackie, Zahia, Maëli, and Halima for taking the time from their busy schedules to answer our questions and help us get a perspective on their experiences and we wish them the very best in their careers. We hope you found this article informative. And, in case you’re interested, Insum is always looking for new talent. Feel free to leave us your resume. You may not see your profile in what’s currently available but as mentioned above, things can change.
Find out more about what Insum does, here.