As humankind, we’ve met many sorrows along our way. Some of them small, on an individual scale but some of them great, and downright depressing, for each and every one of us. One such, on a grand scale, is gender inequality. A big black blot on the sheets of humanity’s book (the book is still a work in progress).
Before our time, many different factors contributed to the growing inequality around the globe. An issue that was different (or dealt with differently) in different parts of humanity’s habitable corners. Since then we have become less fractured, forming bigger communities. Eventually, we’ve filled up most of the habitable place, and more importantly, became more connected.
Today, we live all across the globe with a sophisticated and far superior communication than ever seen before. However, the issue is still running rampant. You might ask yourself why that is so, and we wouldn’t have a clear answer. Despite that, we will do everything in our (writing) power to help raise the awareness of the still existing gender inequality, but with a focus on our domain – on gender inequality of women in IT sector.
For this day, the International Women’s Day on March 8, Gauss Development brings you an introspective look on the inside dealings of women in IT.
The Voice of Women
Please, let not the following discourage you from reading as we will have to dig out some skeletons of our past. But! For a brief moment only. A bulletin of our philosophy is to approach every subject, be it a client, a project or a post, with understanding. That is why we find it imperative to take a glimpse of the history of Women’s Rights Movement to understand this issue.
It is a lengthy list, as you can see. Women went through various stages in history. From being tribe gatherers with little to no privileges all the way to being rulers (namely, Egyptian Cleopatra). Women could own land in Ancient Greece but, without the same rights as men. Even so, for the bigger (much bigger) part of our past, women suffered, having their voices silenced by their fathers, brothers, husbands – by men. It is a (hi)story with more downs than ups. Up until the nineteenth century. In 1869, “Wyoming territorial legislators passed a bill that signed into law granting women the right to vote“. Women finally got their own voice (the right to vote) in the United States in 1920. However, New Zealand was the first to give Women’s Suffrage in 1893.
The patriarchal society stripped them from their voice. And a strong voice it was and is. Years have passed, summers went by, and day and night exchanged many times before we’ve advanced to this point of our kind. The point where most of us have learned to value not only a woman’s voice, but her insights and skills, equally to those of men.
The Voice of Women in IT
Since we have left the past behind us, we can now focus on what is in front of us. In the last decade, the information technology industry has seen rapid growth. And with the growth came new jobs. Men flocked to them, but what about the women? No statistics are showing the number of people trying to get into the industry, but they are showing the percentage of men and women in IT. The results are, at best, discouraging. According to Deloitte, only 25% of all jobs in IT are held by women. The field recognises the issue, but what can we achieve if we do not cooperate?
And in Gauss Development
A few reasons first, as to why you should even care about this issue, from a business point of view. First and foremost, we are all equal, and we all have same human rights.
Second, mixed gender teams far outperform single-gender teams as can be seen in this Harvard study.
We’ve already touched upon one of the bulletins of our company’s philosophy, so allow us to add one more. We at Gauss Development believe that everyone should have an equal chance at success, no matter the age or gender.
Gauss Development is a full-service agency. It is something you might already know, but it is also something which makes us proud. We have web developers and web designers, and creative designers too. A marketing team, and a sales team, project management and consulting, QA testing and so forth. And we strive to have a balance in all our teams. And gender equality is one such balance.
Positions of Women Held in Gauss
We all do our jobs. Sure, a lot of us work in different positions, but if nothing else, we are well dispersed.
At the moment of writing, there are exactly twelve women working for Gauss which comes very near the 25% mark. We do our best to educate and demystify IT, and we work hard to present it in a realistic light. It is a part of our efforts to introduce more women in IT.
We have project managers, a business consultant, a financial adviser, three QA testers, three working in Sales Department, an Office Manager, a creative designer, and a front end developer.
They all do a great job, and they pull their own weight, like everyone else at Gauss Office.
Once again, it is March 8, the International Women’s Day, and to celebrate this occasion we at Gauss Development wish you a Happy Women’s Day, this day and for all the days to come.
And for this special occasion, we bring you an interview of one of our most hard-working colleagues, ambitious Ana Ajzele, our Project Manager and Business Consultant.
Chit-chatting About Women in IT
I’d wish you a welcome, but we are already in your office, so you’ll get a hi instead. Hi, Ana. How are you today? :)
Hi. I’ doing well at the moment. Before we start, I’d like to say that I do not speak for all the women in IT, but only from my personal perspective and experience.
We’ll keep it in mind. To start. how did you get into IT industry? Have you encountered any difficulties in your “rise to position”?
I’ve followed my intuition. Although my brother advised me a few times to try myself in the IT field, himself being in the industry for a decade, it had never before rung a bell with me. Later on, I came to a point where I wanted a new challenge for myself. I haven’t actually given it much thought; since I already had a strong feeling for IT, I decided that was it. Not long after, I was given an opportunity. Having management skills from my prior working experience and a full educational support of my new employer, made this a successful transition.
The positive experiences greatly outnumber the difficulties I’ve encountered as a female. I have been the only woman in many occasions. In meetings, conferences and teams but still never felt out. Sometimes I was treated as one of the men, sometimes as a lady, but more often than not, respectfully. Having a great and supportive team and directors gives me much confidence in my day to day work. Being myself a strong, career-focused and unbiased woman I’ve never considered myself less because of my gender. That’s the attitude I live and work with.
What are some of the challenges you face in a Male-Dominant Industry? Do you feel women’s opinions in your industry is undervalued or is it more or less equal to those of your peers?
From my experience men have more freedom to promote their accomplishments and to seek compensation for it, while women are more self-critical, afraid and modest at that part. Men are more aggressive in getting what they want when they want it, and less prone to hesitation, overthinking things and emotionalism in business.
Instead of labelling those behaviours entirely negatively, we may often learn a lot, to seek balance and regain our freedom. Traditionalists may sometimes undervalue women’s opinions. Had a fair share of it myself on a few occasions, but working on wrong attitudes with the right approach, patience and understanding may dissolve biases even in the hardest cases.
Linguistics claims that men and women speech is different. Do you find this gap in communication to be a problem in your profession?
I’ve noticed a lack of details in conversation. They lack words (or will) to communicate all that’s on their mind or just assume it’s understood, sometimes even refusing to communicate at all. This kind of a communication gap makes it more difficult while planning and delivering complex projects. This difference is emphasised when they have to share information, or when I ask them a lot of questions. They are prone to engaging in overly detailed conversations which lead to analysing superficial arguments. Another thing, most men ask fewer questions than women do. They rather assume than ask.
Are there any stereotypes that haunt you in your profession?
While the concept of gender equality and sexual stereotypes is a never-ending subject, the fact is the differences are still great. The statistics speak for both themselves and us. Even though, I’ve been fortunate, not getting a significant part of all the negativity on my career path.
While talking about male and female sides, I think the focus should be on the balance instead of the differences. Both males and females have their biological, psychological and emotional advantages. Having male and female conversations in an organisation gives diverse perspectives, management styles and decision-makings. Companies lacking in that balance are missing the good stuff. While the statistics talk about a predominantly male world, they do say women have certain characteristics that make them great and inspiring leaders, as well.
Do you have any piece of advice for women trying to enter your industry?
Although men win more promotions and have higher incomes, you should never care about such misfortunate circumstances. Rather ignore them, and find your unique way. Whether you find yourself in leadership, creative or technical role know that you can play a huge part by placing focus on your knowledge and skill advancements.
Yes, there are traits attributed to us women – use them. Use your emotions, intuitions, nose for details, communication skills, patience or whatever else you have to your advantage.
Is there anything that we can do to help introduce more women in the industry? (something we ordinary mortals could assist in achieving)
Talking to my female friends I’ve noticed they consider IT to be some type of a Matrix movie, a job with fancy vocabulary from out of space, almost labelling it as science fiction. Awareness that there’s more to it than a developer’s’ code may make this industry more appealing to women. Mostly women are misled by the mystification of jobs in the IT industry while the creative and the business side of it stays mostly hidden.
Your answers will stay as evidence of your insights. And so, thank you very much for the taking your time to answer all of my queries.
I’m always happy to answer questions, especially for occasions like these. Thank you for asking.
Women in IT is a matter of great discussion. Gauss Development tries its best to bring an optimal and healthy balance, both for business effectiveness and for the overall happiness of all of its employees.
With every year, March is becoming more and more known as the Women’s History Month. To raise awareness of the issue and to celebrate equality of genders. We invite you to do your share, and participate together with us in the betterment of our collective future.
For that reason, and others, we at Gauss Development wish you all a Happy Women’s Day.
As a friend once said, “On this day it is well to recall how we humans, are worth all the same.”