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International Women's Day 2022

To create a better future for women in tech, we need to work together to #BreakTheBias and have a gender-equal world. Some may think that we have come a long way in closing the gender equality gap, but there is progress to be made. Within tech, there is still a lack of representation of women; Techjury reported in 2020 that only 25% of GAFAM’s employees were female, and overall, the current ratio of men to women in engineering is 5:1.

As a celebration of #InternationalWomensDay2022, we are highlighting some of the women of ThoughtWire to gain their perspectives on what it is like to be a woman in STEM. They discussed confronting gender bias and inequality, celebrating women’s achievements, and what we can all do to empower women to help create a more inclusive world in STEM.


Catherine Burtman, Principal Test Engineer:

What motivates you to continue a career within STEM?

I enjoy working in the technology field because STEM is transforming the world around us and is opening new doors and opportunities for a better, more interconnected, smarter world. I like the feeling that I am part of that cutting-edge transformation and have appreciated its many benefits over the years. For those who love to learn, few places are as rewarding as STEM. In smaller companies, like in ThoughtWire, you get even more of that as you are often given the opportunity to work on different projects and in different areas—something that is more challenging to do in larger, more siloed technology organizations. Being on the cutting edge, making a difference in the world, knowing your skills are in demand and constantly learning new things are the drivers that keep me motivated in my career in STEM. I highly recommend it.

How can we empower young women to pursue a career in STEM?

I don't know if I have new insights to bring to this important question, but I feel that if we are trying to raise awareness of STEM careers to all kids—boys and girls—when they are considering what to do with their lives, all of them would have the ability to consider such a path, and then we would see more girls entering STEM. If we show all kids the benefits of working in a field that requires logic, but also creativity, a place where you need to keep learning and improving yourself, a place where problem-solving is just part of your day, I think you'll have more people enter STEM. The drive-in many workplaces to diversify viewpoints around the decision table will also signal to young women that their views will be valued in STEM and that the workplace of today in companies, such as ThoughtWire, will not greet them with barriers, but will welcome them with open arms.  


Nicole Cai, Director, Strategic Initiatives:

Do you feel you’ve had to work harder than male colleagues to advance your career?

I don't think so, but we definitely need to work harder to advance our careers. To be honest, I have never compared myself to my male colleagues specifically. I love what I do. When you are passionate about doing something, naturally you spend more time on it, and you find ways to do it better. People notice that. There might be gender bias, but I haven't experienced or noticed myself.

For young women who are interested in entering the tech industry, what advice would you give them?

I would say to focus on the job itself. Knowing what you are good at, what you are interested in, and what you want to be is the most important. I've interviewed many people for various positions in my career. I looked at their previous work experience, technical skill sets, personality, and their passion for technology but never their gender. 

Aiman Shafiq, Associate Product Manager: 

How can we empower young women to pursue a career in STEM?

One way we can empower young women to pursue a career in STEM is through providing mentorship. These mentorships should begin early in life for young women to help them gain confidence so they can translate that into a career. Another way we can empower young women is by exposing them to accomplished women in STEM, with this they will be able to visualize themselves following a similarly successful path. Lastly, we can empower them through learning opportunities such as internships and job shadowing. Doing this will teach them more about the different possibilities in the STEM field, and they will get a feel for what some jobs may entail.


Ama Iwuanyanwu, UI/UX Designer: 

For young women who are interested in entering the tech industry, what advice would you give them?

If you love solving problems, it’s the perfect space for you, so you should totally do it!

The tech space is constantly evolving, and often it can seem like you would never catch up. Tune out the noise, and focus on what you’re currently learning, so that you’re ready when your opportunity comes. And when you finally get in (which you would!), don’t stop learning. This includes growing in your craft, as well as understanding the roles of your teammates. This only makes you a better problem solver and a great teammate.

What motivates you to continue a career within STEM?

The opportunity to explore different disciplines. One day you’re solving problems that help employees be more productive in their environment, and the next, you’re helping nurses save lives. It’s totally rewarding seeing how much positive impact you can make on people with a career in STEM. Totally love it!


Janise Peters, Senior Delivery Consultant:

Do you feel you’ve had to work harder than male colleagues to advance your career?

Yes, I do. People presume men are inherently skilled in STEM. Women have to go above and beyond in some cases to demonstrate their worth. 

How can peers within STEM better support women to deconstruct gender bias?

Women excelling in STEM can mentor those just entering the industry, create a bias-free environment, and educate individuals about existing biases.


Shravani Parandekar, Delivery Consultant 

Since you began your career in tech, how has gender bias changed? Do you feel you have equal opportunities?

Lately, I believe that along with technology for women, technology by women is also gaining momentum. Women are exhibiting their potential to lead the female-led technological advances and establish a (femtech) industry that is aiding in creating equal opportunities for women in the tech sector. In the coming years, this is definitely going to provide more STEM opportunities for young women like me to exponentially increase their career growth in the tech sector.

Do you think there is enough support for women within STEM? What changes could be made to better support women in tech?

I feel there is quite an underrepresentation of women on all rungs of leadership in industries related to STEM. There is a career obstacle for women in STEM because most of them earn less and receive less funding at the crucial start of their careers as compared to their male counterparts. It is clear that in all facets of STEM, we need to cultivate environments that are more inclusive and diverse. We can do this by broadening gender diversity by recruiting, embracing family-friendly policies to promote work-life balance for women and thus sustaining them in STEM careers. 

Iman Umair-Qaiser, Data Analyst Intern 

How can we empower young women to pursue a career in STEM?

It would be feasible to support initiatives that help stoke interest in pursuing a STEM career. From experience, I didn't think engineering or technology were options for me to consider studying while applying to post-secondary education, because I didn't think I had the skills or experience to succeed in these fields. Providing opportunities for young women to learn more about these careers and why they might be a good fit for their interests and strengths would help. 

For young women who are interested in entering the tech industry, what advice would you give them?

Keep an open mind but stand your ground. Strive for excellence for your own purposes, and as a monument to the passion, you have for the work you do. Take pride in improving for the sake of improvement, not because you have to 'prove' you belong. Because you do belong in this industry- your skills and efforts have led you thus far.

At ThoughtWire, we strive to #BreakTheBias and provide equal opportunities for everyone. These responses reflect on what it is like to be a woman in STEM which emphasizes the importance of why we need to continuously work towards a better future, free of biases. 

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