A positive perspective on the struggles of women in tech
There are a lot of conversations happening about the struggles for women in the technology industry and they are real. But I’ve been very fortunate that my personal experiences have been in the majority positive, and I want to share with other females in the tech industry or females wanting to get into the industry there is good out there.
For me, as a test analyst, and remembering my underlying passion and the awesome team that I work with every day at OpenAgent has really broken down the barriers of gender inequality for me in the tech industry.
One of the best personal perks of being a woman in the tech industry is being able to easily connect and interact with like-minded people - for me, that included men.
From a young age, I’ve always found it especially easier to get along with them, so for me, I find this industry and company culture very suitable for my personality.
I think that means I started in a more comfortable place, and then I’ve had the experiences of joining companies where they embrace gender and cultural diversity and recognise that it enhances productivity.
One of the biggest barriers for women entering the industry, I believe, is proving your worth - from your male counterparts. I really felt this in the beginning.
When I went to uni, only 4% of my cohort were girls. At the end of my five year long degree, it dropped to 3%. I believe, for sure, IT remains a male-dominated industry, but the actual hard part is to be willing to be immersed into a world where we, as women, are the minority.
"One of the biggest barriers for women entering the industry, I believe, is proving your worth - from your male counterparts"
With this, I think it all comes down to confidence, speaking up and knowing your worth throughout your career. Although it may be harder and exhausting for women to enter the industry in the beginning,
I believe over time people will respect you when you showcase your worth, skill and knowledge - just the same as any other man would.
Over time people will respect you when you showcase your worth, skill and knowledge - just the same as any other man would.
Nowadays, women in the tech industry are becoming a hot topic to discuss, and there are sufficient efforts willing to campaign and improve their numbers in the workforce. In saying this though, I think there should also be campaigns for existing women to stand up for equality and against the sexist behaviour.
These initiatives are fantastic and women are working hard to fill this gap in the industry and eradicate these behaviours.
For women entering the tech industry, there are endless opportunities - I feel as though women are usually happy to take on new women under their wing; to become their supervisor or guide and facilitate an easier transition period that’s less confronting.
At OpenAgent, we are big believers that a good tech team is a mix of men and women from a range of different cultures, experiences and age backgrounds.
Inherently, it’s assumed we think and view things differently in solving critical issues and focus on different themes towards the problem.
This collaborative nature and efforts are really important in the tech field, and at OpenAgent we love to approach things differently, see from different perspectives and encourage everyone to generate ideas from a variety of fields to find a solution.
"At OpenAgent, we are big believers that a good tech team is a mix of men and women from a range of different cultures, experiences and age backgrounds."
A study by Catalyst identify the factors of which women in the tech industry struggle with are:
- Communicating openly and directly with supervisees
- Being provided with access to challenging assignments and projects.
- A lack of a clear career trajectory and goal planning between a female employee and supervisor, followed by flaws performance review feedback that does not target their abilities and skills to aid improvement.
Across the board, OpenAgent is very different from the nature of these findings. It’s what differentiates us from other companies; especially for women and the access to opportunities.
Coming into an environment like OpenAgent is extremely motivating and reassuring - especially when we work with females in successful and influential roles. At OpenAgent, we have two female CEOs and a high percentage of leaders and product managers that are female.
For newbies in the industry, I find that this would be extremely empowering. Open Agent's empowering culture of prospecting individuality and equal opportunity is really coherent throughout the team workforce and everyday work life.
Open Agent's empowering culture of prospecting individuality and equal opportunity is really coherent throughout the team workforce and everyday work life.
Receptiveness and responsiveness are increasingly important factors that build confidence and validation - especially for women in tech reaching out for opportunities within an organisation.
These traits are what we like to encourage in everyday practices and in our company culture at OpenAgent. This positive work environment helps break down the individual struggles that women face in the tech industry.
A large proportion of my career in the tech industry has been positive; I've never truly been able to relate to a lot of the issues and struggles faced by most women. I guess I have been very fortunate in that sense. During school, I went through 3 internships (3 months as a web developer, 4 months as an Android and iOS developer and 6 months as a junior PM).
During my junior years, I was very thankful for the supervisors I had and the learning opportunities and growth they provided me. Afterwards, I stayed as a product manager for a while, then shifted to being a Test Analyst for three years - of which two and a half were at OpenAgent. In that time I’ve never faced a gender-fuelled struggle.
From my own perspective, if I feel that I am not getting the recognition that I feel I deserve - especially when I’ve performed as well as my male peers - I would change jobs. I wouldn’t stay at a place that values my input and work less simply because I am a woman.
But I think this raises the issue that women in such companies need to raise their voice from the beginning in order to play on equal fields. I feel as though I’ve been very fortunate for the experiences and support that I’ve had during my time at OpenAgent.
"I feel as though I've been very fortunate for the experiences and support that I've had during my time at OpenAgent."
I am not saying that women in engineering roles all have it as easy as I have - gender inequality in the industry is real - but these are my opinions from a positive perspective working in the industry. I think I’ve just been really fortunate in my workplaces and career.