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IWD 2022: Secure Code Warrior talks women in STEM
Tue, 8th Mar 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

What is the role of government in attracting more women into STEM-based qualifications?

This should begin at a young age by fostering a healthy, positive, and unbiased environment in which both girls and boys are equally encouraged to follow their passion.

When we expose girls to STEM at a young age, they will grow up believing that these subjects are no different from any other. Instead of doubting their ability to pursue a career in STEM, they will confidently follow their passion.

A society in which women ask "do I want to do this"?" rather than "can I?" is something we should all aspire to.

What do IT companies need to do to ensure that more women have the opportunity to achieve senior leadership roles within their organisations?

One of the problems that IT companies need to address is unconscious bias. Because IT was and still is a male-dominated sector, some companies still believe that a man will handle the job better, especially if it's a senior position.

Provide mentorship and sponsorship programs for the women in the company who wish to pursue their career in IT and hold senior leadership positions; this will help them gain confidence and experience.

Create a safe environment for women to use their voices and express themselves without fear of being judged or undermined by others.

What can women do to support themselves and their peers to drive a more diverse and inclusive IT industry in Australia?

I'm where I am now because of two incredible female leaders who saw potential in me and provided me with support and guidance along the way, and I'm going to carry on what they both started. We should all encourage, support, and empower one another to succeed; this way, we make an actual impact.

Women in leadership positions can help provide internship opportunities for young women who want to have a closer look at the industry and learn more about its challenges and benefits via hands-on experience.

Because of the ever-changing nature of the IT industry, many women in IT believe that having a kid will be the end of their careers. Staying away from their job for a year or more makes them feel as if they have fallen behind, and some end up changing jobs. Let's not lose this talent; we can be their voices in our companies and the industry in general, finding the means to help and support them to gradually return to work.

Do you have any advice for women or students interested in a career in tech?

I came from a place where the list of things I can't do, simply because I'm a woman, is endless. If there is anything I've learnt after all these years, it's that I can do anything but only if I want to.

Pursuing a career in tech isn't hard at all, especially nowadays; there are so many online resources and platforms available to assist you in developing your skills. Always surround yourself with people who share the same passion, join tech user groups, and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Remember that you don't have to know everything perfectly; instead, master one or two skills and continue to learn along the way. If there is a role that you are interested in and you "believe" you don't have all of the required skills, please go ahead and apply; we women tend to underestimate ourselves. You may end up getting the role; if not, you will have learned what you need to work on to succeed at the next interview.