Actions speak louder than gender

Posted 7 February 2018 12:00 AM by Petula Aardenburg, Marketing Coordinator @ ClearPeople

McKinsey research has found there is a positive correlation between gender diversity and financial performance. There is no doubt that women are massively out-numbered by men in the tech sector and here at ClearPeople, we’re keen to fly the flag when it comes recruiting and nurturing some of the best female talent in the industry. But what is it like to be a woman today in the world of technology? We asked some of our female employees to share their views and experiences.

It’s a fine day in sunny Alicante when I sit down with two of our techies, Lorena Jimenez and Nereida Sanchez. Lorena is a QA Analyst whose job is to guarantee that we deliver solutions to the highest quality, detecting issues and suggesting improvements to get the very best user experience. Nereida is one of our expert front-end developers who implements all of the cool elements that you can see and interact with on a website.

I also speak to Teodora Ivanova via Skype for Business as she is based in our London office. Teodora’s job is helping the Business Productivity Team to consult with ClearPeople’s clients on how to get the best out of SharePoint and Office 365.

Women in technology

How did you come to work in technology and was it something that always interested you? 

Lorena: I never actually intended to work in technology. I studied translation and interpreting and after I graduated I started working as an administrator at a technology company. My role initially wasn’t technology related at all, but it piqued my interest enough to jump at the chance of becoming a tester when a developer friend of mine recommended a job to me. I made the decision to give it a go, and here I am.   

Nereida: I studied journalism and there were some technology-related modules within the course that I was really interested in. Following my studies, I did an internship in journalism, but I realised I didn’t really like it. I knew that I really enjoyed technology, but the truth is I was afraid it was too difficult for me! I decided to let go of my fears and try it, and I’m very happy that I made that decision.  

Teodora: My interest dates back when I was in high school. One summer I was bored and I decided to enrol to HTML & CSS course. Ever since I wanted to study and work within IT. After graduating high school I got a Bachelor degree in Software Engineering and after that I did a Master in Distributed Systems and Mobile Technologies.

What do you find the most interesting about working in tech? 

Lorena: I love the fact that technology is something that is continuously evolving so you are faced with new challenges and opportunities every day.   

Nereida: I’m a very curious person and I like to know how and why things work the way they do. Working in this industry enables me to constantly learn and feed my curiosity.

Teodora: Nowadays, every single day new technologies, frameworks and approaches are born. It’s very dynamic and you always have to stay up to date. I really like to see how technology is evolving. 

What advice would you give to other women working in this industry? 

Nereida: Believe in yourself, you are strong enough to make it in this world, it´s not only for men. 

Lorena: To have a lot of patience.

Teodora: Don’t allow your gender to stop you, you can achieve what you want. In one sentence: “achieve your dreams” (and this message is not only for women). 

Do you notice a lack of women in technology? If so, why do you think that’s the case? 

Lorena: I do think there is a lack of women in technology, but nowadays more and more women are joining the tech sector. I think that in the past the sector was perhaps viewed differently. I personally thought it sounded really boring, but the better your understanding of what is involved, the more perceptions will change. It’s not all code, there’s a lot of creativity involved. 

Teodora: Yes definitely. I already noticed this when I was at University, where 70% were men. At some of my previous jobs I was the only woman with a technical role. I think there are less women in technology because overall, women are less interested in physical science. 

Have you felt that your gender has affected the way that you are perceived or treated? 

Nereida: Yes, I’ve been in more than one situation where being a woman has affected the way I was treated. When I studied journalism, about 80% of the students were women. Working in technology, that percentage is completely the opposite way around and I’ve noticed some differences. For example, when I first started out some men seemed to want to always try and correct me. At first, I found this quite difficult as I am naturally quite a shy person, but as I’ve got more experienced, I am not afraid to share my opinion or give advice without the fear of being corrected.

Lorena: I think that women are treated differently in every sector unfortunately, but perhaps it’s more noticeable in tech as the male to female ratio is still quite high. I try to be patient and show that my skills and expertise are valued, regardless of my gender. Actions speak louder than gender. 

Teodora: Luckily, I have always been treated with respect by my colleagues and employers. I’ve only been in a few cases where I had the feeling that I was treated differently because of being a woman, but I just ignored it and proved them wrong. I read an interesting article the other day saying that women are 54% less likely to have a sponsor and 24% less likely to get advice from senior leaders. Apparently, men are afraid to mentor women because people might think the wrong things or doing something that might make a woman uncomfortable.  

ClearPeople's Managing Director, Katya Linossi is an advocate for empowering women in business and technology. Read her article on why it's important to nurture female talent.



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