In 1911, more than 1,000,000 women and men across the country attended International Women’s Day rallies, campaigning for Women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. We owe these people a huge debt of gratitude.
I co-founded We Are Star in 2019 having worked in the technology consulting space for around 16 years. Without the courage of these amazing people, my career would probably not have been possible. So for me, International Women’s Day isn’t just a day to make sure Women’s rights are consistently considered, but a way for me to remember that without people campaigning for change, I wouldn’t be doing what I do today.
Our Digital Agency is currently made up of 55% women spread across the full spectrum of the business, from leadership through to backend development. But, our recruitment strategy is not about “balance”, it’s about best people. And it just so happens that whether you are a boy or girl, it really doesn’t matter, it’s about ability, attitude and individuality.
And so to celebrate International Women’s Day in 2021, I thought I would share a few key thoughts on what I have learned during my journey into tech and why women shouldn’t fear entering and enjoying what is still predominantly a man’s world:
Knowledge is power
Know your stuff. Work hard and earn respect from those around you, for no other reason than you are flipping good at what you do. We are so fortunate to have a wealth of information and resources out there that teaching yourself new skills and technologies can often be kick-started with an online tutorial.
Put theory into practise. For me, I have to really get into the weeds to feel like I understand something. I am not someone who can talk around a subject and speak confidently without having tried and tested it. My colleagues will often find me prototyping something with a new technology or idea.
Believe in yourself
Easier said than done, hey? Early in my career my default position was that my colleagues always knew more than me. But over the years I slowly realised that actually no-one has all the answers and trusting your instinct is key. It is easy for women in tech to get a sense of “imposter syndrome” and feel like you’re there to make up the numbers when in reality you just need the confidence to realise you’re there because you have earned a place at the table.
Challenge the stereotype
Still today only 23% of people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers are women 1. But embrace that, don’t let it intimidate you. I actually enjoy being a woman surrounded by men in tech. Even today I love being in a meeting and seeing the reaction on peoples faces when they learn the girl in the room is actually the techy.
So many opportunities
There are so many career paths available in tech, if you don’t enjoy or struggle with one particular area, there is probably another that feels right for you. A lot of businesses offer roles where you can try your hand at a number of disciplines which will help you identify which direction is right for you.
Work bloody hard and go for it
Jump in with both feet. If you are set a task during education or your professional career face it head on. Don’t panic if you don’t know how to do something, it’s not about knowing the answer, it’s about having the skills and experience to be able to navigate yourself there. It’s never as complicated as you first fear.
1 Research by PwC