It is a man’s world – is it though? Technology and the IT industry is stereotypically and socially (still) a male domain. Frieda and Ingrid are pioneers in this field, significantly strengthen our team and give us answers to important questions.
According to the Federal Statistical Office, the share of women working in this industry is 15 percent – clearly too low. But is there a specific reason for this? How does it feel to be a woman in this industry and how do you manage a successful entry into the world of technology? Frieda and Ingrid are pioneers in this field, significantly strengthen our team and give us answers to these questions. Richard, our managing director, who has many years of experience in leading multi-layered teams, looks at the topic from a male perspective.
What interests you in particular in the field of technology and IT?
Frieda: I find technology fascinating and from the beginning many things seemed almost magical to me. I like the logical and unambiguous things about it. I studied sociology, politics and French literature. There, it was often about hermeneutic problems, i.e. how can I understand or interpret something. In the technical field it’s clearer, either the machine understands my code or it throws back an error. We are surrounded by technology, there is always something new to learn and the industry never stands still.
Ingrid: It’s similar for me. I take great pleasure in creating new things. I am very interested in programming and technology in general because it gives me the opportunity to create anything I want.
What is it like to work in a male domain?
Ingrid: It feels good to work as a woman in a male domain. It promotes the realisation that diversity is always an advantage and can be a driver. In some situations it is also challenging – as a pioneer you do the groundwork.
Why do you think the tech industry is dominated by men? Why are women just as suitable?
Frieda: It has something to do with socialization and stereotypes. Women are just as logical and technically gifted as men but more often fail to have the confidence to do so. It’s all a matter of practice and passion for the subject. Talent is sometimes nothing more than love for the subject and when women and girls discover that programming is fun, they too will become good at it. This requires encouragement and role models, which fortunately there are more and more of.
Richard: To go into the historical background as well: Tech professions traditionally stem from engineering and technical mechanics – two male-dominated professions. But that should not be a justification. Good coders are creative and can quickly adapt to a new situation. To do this, they have to master programming languages, solve a problem in a structured way or build an IT architecture. And women can do that at least as well as men!
Ingrid: I see it that way too. People who work in the technology sector know how to solve problems. Men can solve problems. Women can do it as well – in a different way. Different perspectives in solving the same problem guarantee that the result will be successful, complete and inclusive.
Why should more women enter this business? What contribution could women in particular make?
Frieda: If only men build a product, then there is a danger that a non-male perspective will be neglected. There are various reasons why men are often seen as the measure of things in the world when it comes to developing medical and technical products. Involving women in software development, I think, helps to bring in a new points of view .
Richard: That’s how it is, companies and teams need new ideas and ways of approaching things in order to evolve. If everyone just thinks in the same way, has the same hobbies or follows the same path in life, it comes to a standstill. Every leader should be aware that it is through diversity that innovation is born. You have to allow diversity!
What advice would you give to girls who are interested in programming?
Ingrid: Women can also program, it is by no means a “man’s job” and it is a lot of fun. I grew up with the knowledge that some jobs are predetermined for men and I held on to that for a very long time. At a certain point, however, I started to change my perspective and discovered that I could create space to express myself, which I put into practice. I started teaching myself programming and then did further training in web development. Go for it!
Frieda: Exactly, give it a try and don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not for girls. Everyone can learn something in this direction. For me, the process was similar to Ingrid’s. I also learned it online and with the help of a program called FrauenLoop. FrauenLoop aims to make the tech industry more diverse.
Richard: I would like to add that every woman should go her own way, regardless of gender stereotypes. Even if the industry is dominated by men, women should show what they can do. Especially in coding, good people are hard to find and they don’t necessarily carry a Y-chromosome.