Tech isn’t just about programming. Many women think that software engineering is the only entry ticket into this booming industry, but there’s so much more. Marketing, design, management, finance — all have their place in tech.
While the number of women in IT worldwide has been staying consistently low during the past several years, in the last year alone, the percentage of women in one of the leading tech-thinker companies in Armenia, Volo grew from 34% to 41%. In comparison that number is close to 30% in the US.
Lack of Role Models?
Seeing is believing. When people see others like them do great things, they are inspired to do the same — the idea of achieving something no longer seems out of reach. There are a handful of powerful women leaders in tech like Sheryl Sandberg and Ginny Rometty, who do their part in leading the charge in getting more women to join IT. Yet, for many girls, it can be a real struggle to find a connection between themselves and the C-suite of companies like Facebook and IBM.
Women need more real, relatable role models, who are able to succeed on their own terms. Otherwise, a lot of young potential is lost when girls don’t even consider tech as a future career path.
For too long the tech industry was perceived to be masculine territory. The reasons for that are far and many and range from preconceived notions about male vs. female intelligence when it comes to math and science, women’s struggle to achieve a work/life balance, etc.
Now for industry insiders these stereotypes don’t really hold water, but for teenagers contemplating about their future professions, they play such a strong role, that they don’t even question them.
The picture is even gloomier in Armenia. Stereotypes are big here. IT was long seen as an industry for young men with exceptional aptitude for math — a notion, which still prevents a lot of women and men from joining the industry. In the words of one of our technical leads, Nune Darbinyan, “One of the biggest challenges for a woman to enter the IT sector is mentality. Many people still do not consider this field appropriate for a girl, rather associating it with some super-clever, geeky boys. With glasses. And untamed beards.”
The vast majority of girls are to this day encouraged to pursue “lady-like” careers in nursing, teaching, translation, customer service and the like. Many young women end up not using their college degrees altogether after getting married and having children.
Lately, however, with the continued surge of the tech industry in Armenia, more and more women are becoming aware of the potential of this field and what it can do for their careers. With the demystification of stereotypes comes the great realization that IT is the industry where women can prosper, because it offers nearly limitless opportunities for growth and development as a professional.
VOLO has started a wider #wempower campaign to support the trend and open up the sector for more woman to build their career.
We encourage you to read the short interviews with woman in tech on Volo’s website here: https://www.volo.global/thinking/news/non-tech-tech-insiders