Happy International Women’s Day!
What better way to celebrate IWD 2023 than by showcasing the career journeys of some of our many brilliant female colleagues?
This year's theme for IWD is "embrace equity," to create a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. So, we held two panel events for colleagues across the globe where our female colleagues could discuss the gender gap and their own personal stories – from juggling careers and childcare to getting ahead in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Our Chief Financial and Operating Officer Iveta Cabajova shared a vlog of her own personal mission to help women flourish at ITRS. Read the stories of our engineering trio who haven’t let the gender gap stand in the way of a career they love.
Only female grad
Step forward, Marianne Guban – the only female in our brand-new graduate program launched last November. She went back to school after having her son – now aged eight – and got her bachelor’s degree in computer science – as she’d always wanted to be a software engineer.
“Technology is so wide and I wanted to learn more about building websites, so found a technology course. Not only was I one of few women on the course, but I was also the eldest, studying alongside 17-year-olds,” said Marianne. “Being a woman studying computers can be hard as men are traditionally considered to have more technical minds.”
Marianne was working for another software engineering company when she applied for the graduate scheme. She said: “As the only girl I felt shy at first, not belonging. But I soon became very comfortable with the other graduates – joking around, working together and sharing ideas. Our managers are really friendly too.”
Marianne, with the other graduates, are completing three months of training and currently learning all about effectively solving tickets that have been raised. Marianne is the queen of multi-tasking. When she isn’t working, looking after her son and doing studies with him, sorting housework and laundry, she’s studying a web development course and Japanese – as she loves Anime.
What’s Marianne’s message to other women who want to crack into a software engineering career? “Be natural, be yourself. Make sure you love what you’re doing and it’s a passion. You’ve got to enjoy finding where the mistakes are and solving those problems.”
Don’t limit yourself
“You can do anything if you set your mind to it – don’t limit yourself,” is Quality Assurance Engineer Jing Wen’s message to her young daughters. She’s hoping their generation will see the gender gap reduced.
As a young girl growing up in China, Jing’s father – a materials engineer – first sparked her interest in engineering as she loved solving mathematics problems. She said: “Even then, the compliments were backhanded. ‘Look at Jing, she’s even better than the boys’ – reinforcing the idea that women are not as talented as men in STEM.”
But Jing has led a successful and enjoyable career as a QA engineer for fintech companies, now in the US, after majoring in software engineering at college. “The technical side of coding really appealed to me – it requires patience and attention to detail which aligns well with my personality.”
Society and companies are trying to change the stereotype but it’s probably going to take about 20 years to make the shift according to Jing. “When I was studying there were only 20 girls in an intake of about 150. If I look around me, most of my colleagues are male. It’s the result of a longstanding gender stereotype discouraging lots of women studying and working in engineering.
Career-wise this hasn’t deterred Jing: “I enjoy working with my team – learning new technologies, on new tools and helping make our products more reliable.” Jing makes sure her four-year-old and eight-year-old daughters know: “They can do and learn anything – as long as they practice and put the work in. Stay curious, be persistent and anything is possible.”
Love of solving problems
Maria Dolores Contreras is a QA manager working with five colleagues across our different products. Based in Malaga she’s had similar experiences. She’s worked at ITRS for the last six years, currently on pending tasks effectively fixing and solving issues and being on hand to answer her team’s questions.
She said: “I always loved mathematics and chose this career as felt there would be more jobs in this area. When I was studying, there were perhaps only two or three women doing the course with me.” There are few women doing QA engineering roles, but it’s never deterred her progressing her career.
What’s your goal? Learn more about joining us at ITRS where you can build an amazing tech career journey, alongside some remarkable women!