At RegTek.Solutions, we are firm believers that gender balance in the workplace is more than just a moral imperative or a “women’s issue”, it is a business issue. The link between gender balance and profitability is widely documented. Data published just yesterday in Institutional Investor shows that “companies with gender-diverse leadership teams outperformed their less-diverse counterparts by 25 percent”.
By making gender balance a priority, we are building a company we want to work for, a company that is more successful, and eventually a company better at serving its clients.
In celebration of International Women’s Day 2019, we spoke to some of the ambitious and hard-working women making waves at RegTek.Solutions about what it means to be a woman in tech in 2019.
International Women’s Day celebrates the scientific, political, economic and social achievements of women. In your experience as a successful woman, what is its significance?
Lixia – To me, it’s about proving that half of the world population is just as capable as the other half.
Kate – I think International Women’s Day is mainly about promoting about fairness and equity, in terms of getting similar acknowledgement in similar situations. In an ideal world, I don’t think any distinction should be made in the workplace between men and women.
Lara – While many advancements have been made over the decades (if not centuries) to raise awareness of the women’s achievements throughout the development of our word, we are still often taught primarily of great achievements by men. Especially when it comes to advancing technology: Thomas Edison, Nikola Telsa, the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, Charles Babbage, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk. The list goes on. Yes, in small part this is because men were the only people in these roles, and thus there were no women to recognize. However, that in itself is WHY we need to celebrate the women either ignored, overlooked, or not given the opportunities to achieve more for us as a species. Because while we are extremely advanced now, only 50% of our population has been able or recognized to make those advancements. Think about what can be achieved if 100% of our population is given the chance!
What did you dream of becoming as a child?
Lixia – I wanted to become a scientist.
Shruti – I always wanted to be a doctor until I realised that I preferred numbers to biology.
Kate – I wanted to become a nursery teacher!
Lara – Many things. However, for the most part, I dreamed of becoming an aerospace engineer.
What is your biggest influence and/or icon?
Lixia – Elon Musk
Shruti – I feel like there are so many great women role models out there in Finance and Tech. Marissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandsberg, Indra Nooyi to name just a few. However, I think the people I’ve been influenced by the most have been my previous managers/MDs (all have been male) who have given me the confidence and guidance to be successful. They have pushed me to achieve my potential and continue to always achieve more. They have played such a critical role in shaping and guiding my career thus far and I’m grateful to now call them mentors/coaches/friends.
Lara – Octavia Butler and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The former was a talented voice and inspirational world builder in the literary world, who took on the challenges and injustices of culture and society through Science Fiction. RBG has been an adamant and vocal advocate for gender equality throughout her life and career.
How have you found being a women, working in technology?
Lixia – Challenging and satisfying
Shruti – It’s widely known that the gender balance in technology needs to improve, so it’s not a surprise to know that we tend to always be the minority in meetings. It can be challenging to be a woman working in tech, but I feel the key for me has been to adapt my communication skills in order to be heard. I think there’s a misconception that women need to be more aggressive and create an alpha male persona to get ahead, but I truly believe that women can use an different approach to succeed.
Kate – It’s kind of cool – I feel like this is one of the most rightful industries to work in: employees would get raises, salary increases and receive negative feedback based on actual achievements, and not on emotions or sex or nationality, which you still can see in other industries these days.
Lara – At RegTek, I work with a great number of women in technology, so it is pretty much the norm. I do not question interactions and discussions nearly as much in relation to my gender. In previous positions, I was often the lone female on a tech team and it was something I felt more aware of/was unsure of it’s direct relation to my work experience.
What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
Shruti – I have been very lucky in my career so far to have had extremely supportive managers and mentors. Despite working in a male dominated work environment, I have never really felt discriminated against which is something not many can say.
Kate – One of my first job searches… I had applied for a Software Developer position. My interviewer (a man, sure) told me something along the lines of “A female developer? That’s nonsense!” Well, I’ve worked hard to prove him wrong. Unfortunately, I don’t remember that interviewer name or the Company name anymore, otherwise I’d speak to that guy now.
The action or decision you’re most proud of?
Lixia – To do as much as I can to protect the environment
Shruti – In an industry where you are the minority, which forces you to the put pressure on yourself to to push ahead, it’s easy to neglect having a good work life balance. But I think it’s imperative to anyone’s mental and physical well being. To be very honest I have had to learn that the hard way and like most, my career aspirations pushed me to always prioritise work. In pushing myself I found myself with the opportunity to move to New York to lead a number of initiatives and build out my own team. This was a huge personal achievement at the time, and my life completely revolved around work at the time. But when a significant personal event forced me to reevaluate my work life balance, I was able to look at my work and life through a new lens. I had to make a difficult decision to move back to the UK, and it was both the easiest yet the hardest decision. An obviously easy one for personal reasons, but a very difficult one for my career at the time.
Kate – Frankly I am mostly proud of the way of thinking, which is quite simply – positive thinking. It gains popularity today, and I love it.
Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career in technology/finance?
Lixia – I believe women shouldn’t use gender imbalance and inequality as an ‘excuse’. I think we should instead fight it by improving ourselves to showcase that we are just as good, if not better!
Shruti – I would absolutely encourage them to purse a career in technology and/or finance. We have a long way to go to achieve gender balance and equality and we need to make sure we inspire the next generation of tech leaders. You will always get setbacks in your career, especially when you are starting off, but don’t allow that to put you off, persevere and don’t be too scared to put you hand up and volunteer to run that project or push to take more responsibility.
Kate – Irrelevant to industry or to gender. The main thing for me is enthusiasm. If you have this fire, you’ll be happy and successful. Otherwise you’ll be working 9 to 6 and waiting for Fridays!
Lara – Speak up for yourself in your own way. Traditionally, women aren’t always comfortable or feel prepared to negotiate for themselves or push back when they are personally challenged or dismissed. Find the best method for you to take ownership of your work, your career and your professionalism.
To find out more about International Women’s Day and how you can take action for equality, please visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com/