Gender and Technology – Part I
Today is International Women’s Day, a global event that aims to celebrate women.
Bearing in mind this remarkable day, on our first piece about ‘’Gender and Technology’’, we asked Stelfox women to share their personal experience around gender and technology.
What are some of the personal experiences that have influenced your thinking around gender and technology?
What woman inspires you and why?
Lorraine Fitzpatrick – Group Operations Director
The world of Technology is a male dominated sector and as such you will generally find more males at the top of the corporate world. This is in part due to the fact that there are more males than females competing for the top Leadership roles, but is also due to the fact that some women second guess themselves, whilst their males counterparts ooze confident whether they’re more qualified/experienced or not. A 2011 McKinsey report noted that men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted based on past accomplishments. Conditions for all women will improve when there are more women in Leadership roles giving a strong and powerful voice to their needs and concerns. It is essential that all Women encourage and mentor each other and do not (as 2 top Tech Leads reference as their experience) pull the ladder up after themselves. The landscape is changing and evolving all the time. It is up to all, Male & Female, to promote gender equality in their own workplace.
I think one can be inspired by any number of Women. There are so many to choose from and I think it depends on what you’re experiencing at a particular time or what you are reading etc. One woman that inspires me is Linda Liukas. Linda Liukas is a programmer, storyteller and illustrator from Helsinki. Her children’s book, Hello Ruby, was funded on Kickstarter and smashed its $10,000 funding goal in just three and a half hours, going on to reach $380,000 in total. It is the most funded book on Kickstarter’s children’s book category. Hello Ruby is ‘the world’s most whimsical way’ to learn about computers, technology and programming, and is aimed at 4-7 year-olds. Linda is also the founder of Rails Girls, an organization launched in 2010 that empowers women with technology tools and a supportive community to build their ideas. Linda founded Rails Girls in Finland but the organisation experienced rapid international growth, with chapters popping up all over the world. The workshop, which teaches the basics of programming to young women, are now organised by volunteers in over 260 cities.
Clare McDonald – Business Development & Client Relationship Director
“Only 18 percent of undergraduate computer science degrees and 26 percent of computing jobs are held by women. It’s worse at the top of the corporate world — just 5 percent of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women.” It’s too low, It has been said that women learn better, communicate better and more engaged as employees and leaders. The latter two do need to improve in the technology sector.
I heard this girl speak before and rate her really highly – Iseult is co-founder and CEO of FoodCloud, a social enterprise that connects businesses that have surplus food with local charities in their community through a software platform. To date, the equivalent of over 14 million meals has been redistributed to charities that need it. She is starting to internationalise this platform.
Jennifer O Sullivan – Regional Director
Norah Casey is the woman that inspires me and she inspires women to be the best they can be. Norah Casey is an Irish businesswoman, self made publishing entrepreneur , journalist and television personality. Her award winning company , Harmonia, has strong connections to a wide range of charities – especially those related to women and children. Norah represents some of the most vulnerable women in society having represented and helped women in the travelling community on their journey to creating and sustaining jobs in a country where they deal with prejudice regularly. Norahs latest campaign #TooIntoYou highlights domestic abuse and the first telltale signs teaching young women the behaviours and controlling patterns which are there before a relationship turns abusive. Norah wants girls and women to recognise the signs and to get out early.
Mary-Rose McCann – Service Delivery Manager
A worrying inequality that I witness daily among male and female candidates relates to compensation and the gender pay gap. More importantly, it relates to the confidence shown in the negotiation and self valuation processes. We know this inequality exists however women still lack the confidence that men do in asking for salary increases or better compensation terms.
Anne Heraty, CEO of €455m recruitment group CPL. Former Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year and first female Chief Executive of a publicly quoted Irish company. No other Irish recruitment agency has come close to competing with CPL in terms of scale and dominance; a testament to her leadership and business acumen.
Ciara Heffernan – Senior Practice Lead
Michelle Mone. After hearing her story at the pendulum summit, I felt she was very inspirational. She overcame a lot of hardship and a very tough childhood to become one of most successful business women of our generation. She built a multi billion dollar lingerie business from ground up and this was all after leaving school at 15 with no qualifications and falling pregnant at 18. She is also passionate about giving back to the community and is heavily involved in the princes trust and cancer care trust.
Lala Gurbanova – Senior IT Recruitment Consultant
Originally from Iraq, Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid was an Iraqi British architect. The world’s most famous and controversial female architect.
She was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004 and UK’s most prestigious architectural award, the Stirling Prize, in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, She was made a Dame by Elizabeth II for services to architecture, and in 2015 she became the first and only woman to be awarded the Royal Gold Medalfrom the Royal Institute of British Architects.
She inspires me because: she followed her passion for architecture, she wasn’t scared of making a difference and she was working hard to reach the peak. And most importantly because she is coming from Iraq where women and men don’t have same rights but in spite of all the obstacles on her way she became world’s most famous female architect. Zaha was tough and she made it to the top in a male-dominated profession designing some of the key icons around the world.
Nádia Vieira – Marketing Manager
Most recently I’ve read a report from Coralesce sharing the following example: ”In an informal survey run within schools, young people were asked to name people working in the digital industries. Most were able to name Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg…but not a single woman was mentioned.” Although the mindset is already changing and we see more women entering the tech world and assuming IT roles, we need to adapt an early childhood education. Teaching that technology can be developed no matter the gender and showing examples of both successful men and women in the industry is a start. Step by step we’ll be able to spot the differences and help young generations to actually have an impact when changing thoughts and behaviors.
Anita Roddick – Founder of the Body Shop. When founding Body Shop, Anita’s plan was simple. Her main purpose, besides basic survival, was to create a line of cosmetics from natural ingredients. Anita was focused in appealing to her customers’ concern for the environment.
Additionally, her vocal support for causes such as Greenpeace and banning animal testing was able to generate a loyal customer base and, even when companies weren’t talking about it, create a corporate social responsibility strategy towards her organization.
Dristhi Lalwani – Technical Resourcer
Sheryl Sandberg,Chief Operating Officer, Facebook. She’s a business leader tackling gender inequality and the pay gap issues within the workforce.
Ciara O’S – Global ERP Talent Expert
The woman who inspires me is Mary McAleese – former President of the Republic of Ireland. She succeeded another female President, Mary Robinson, who I also hold in high regard. Mary McAleese actually succeeded Mary R. This made her the 1st woman in the world to succeed another woman as President. She is also the 1st President of Ireland who came from Northern Ireland. She is still to this date the longest running female president in the world. Her popularity as President in her first term, meant that when it came time for re-election , no other parties ran against her. Her success was because she used her time as president to address issues concerning Justice, Social Equality, Anti-Sectarianism and ”building bridges”, which is actually what she classified as the theme of her presidency. Mary Mc, despite being a practising roman catholic held liberal views on homosexuality and women priests. To this day she is considered the 64th most powerful woman in the world.
Marie Beirne – Financial Accountant
Nowadays a lot of children are introduced to technology at a very early age. They embrace the tech world. This is in sharp contrast to the older generation who still have the fear of ‘what will happen if they press that button’. I believe that this lifestyle change will have a big impact on the amount of women who will work in the technology industry in the future.
I am inspired by the women that I work with everyday. I see diligent, hardworking and adaptable women who strive to excel in their chosen field.
Kasia Ciemiega – Accounts Assistant
Pay Equality – not only so little woman are working in IT, but woman are earning on average 14% less than men on equal positions. Most of the times women have better education/qualification, but still earn less than a men doing the same job. Iceland gives an amazing example of how a country can fight for pay equality. “Within four years from January 2018, any public or private body in Iceland employing more than 25 people that has not been independently certified as paying equal wages for work of equal value will face daily fines.”
Nicola Mendelsohn – Named by The Daily Telegraph “the most powerful woman in the British tech industry”. She was attending drama school and wanted to become an actress. Eventually she got into advertising, and in 2013 she started in Facebook as Vice-President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, ending company’s half-year search to replace outgoing VP Joanna Shields. In 2011 she became first female president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, and in 2014 she became a non-executive director of Diageo. In 2015 she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the creative industries as part of the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours. Also in 2015, Computer Weekly ranked Mendelsohn number 34 on its “50 Most Influential Women in UK IT 2015”, she was named one of the Most Inspiring Women in European Tech by the Inspiring Fifty organisation, and Debrett’s included her on their “People of Influence” in the Debrett’s 500 2015.
Find out more about this year’s IWD theme: #PressforProgress.