Interview: Women in TechCollaborative
After I interviewed Stefania, a woman working in technology, I felt strong about the topic of “Women in Tech”. So I intend to interview more female technicians volunteering at the Restart Project. However, It’s not easy to find any.
So the compromise is to find fantastic women working in technologies within my own network who are now or used to or plan to work in technology in order to identify a tribe they belong to. I would like to find out about the following in my interviews:
1) How do they define “Women in Tech”?-Their understanding of what that means
2) What are the challenges and how do they cope with them? (Their emotional needs)
3) How does their job influence their fashion choice, their interests outside of work and their relationships? (The culture of that circle)
I also interviewed women who are not working in technology to see how they view women in tech. For example Ting.
I used to work in IT in the field of Web Service and Web Design for four years. To be, “women in technology” means women working as technologist in various industries including IT, design and finance, etc.
There are 11 people in IT Department and only two are girls. I’m one of the two. Surrounded by man and keyboard noises and mouse clicks, besides that, silence.
I remember I cut my hair real short and start wearing pants and flat shoes verses long and wavy hair, high heels and long dresses as a marketing and PR person. At the beginning, it was more a liberation than a pressure to do so as I felt like spending too much time for a pleasant look to please others. But later, I realized that it’s hard to go back to the feminine look as the whole environment is so corporate like. To look professional and be trustworthy, I need to be like my male colleagues, wearing shirts and pants, talk fast, act quickly. I have no life outside job as I always feel pressure to learn more in technologies to catch up with my peers. I didn’t know what they are talking about most of the time.
The highlight would be I regard IT as a service that is friendly and approachable, not a problem-solving agent of people with indifferent faces who only what to get the job done, which agreed by my supervisor.
I don’t regret my choice but I had a hard fight proving myself.
Volunteer in the Restart Project
I think female technicians are quite rear at my time. Not many women working in the film production, not to mention sound technicians. It was hard but It’s getting better. Instead of working as men, for example, work overtime, making everything about work, we bring in the female vision and a diversity into the industry. There’s a life outside of work where you live more. We are collaborating with each other instead of competing with each other. But that takes time.
I started volunteering at The Restart Project 14 month ago. I have skills with electronics and though I could help. With everything going from mechanical to digital, coming here and help people out actually helps me keep those skills. In the past, when something is broken, we would come together and take things apart and sort it out and that’s what we do here(at the Restart Parties).
It’s important to know how things work. We use our brain to invent things and we use the same brain to understand things. Working with hands is a way for your body to communicate with your brain and that’s how you become good at things and get cleverer. We grow our brain through making and repairing.
(In terms of female technicians here) Ever since I came I notice there aren’t many female technicians but the founders are well-aware of it and are being super supportive.
There are monthly events hosted monthly called R4R(Restarter for Restarter) where we come together and share our knowledge and skills. It’s all funded by The Restart Project.
Lady who needs a system upgrade
I met this lady at the Restart Party. She needs an upgrade for her ACER. She was required to used computers for work for 40 years before she retired. She had a bit computer-phobia since then and now working part-time at an agency that does paperwork only, no computer needed.
She was so discouraged by the breakdown of the computer and almost gave up until she’s contacted by the technicians.
Web Developer from Art Background
I met Wendy at a ClojureBridge Event. She thought the biggest challenge in her case is lacking role models.
“‘Women in Technology’ means women working as the technologist in industries that conventionally dominated by men”.
“Girls were traditionally not regarded competent enough to do jobs of technicians’. You would find yourself the only woman in a room full of men and they are the ones to be asked to solve the challenging problem in the industry. Whereas women can only solve the easier problem. I know it sounds crazy but it’s a common misconception you get considering the usual coder dynamics.”
“I usually make sure I have a professional look so that people see me more as a professional or be valued by things I do instead of my gender. I do that to be more like people around you so that you won’t look that distinctive. I kind of embraced it. It’s not a problem to me.”
“It sads me when people think women have more opportunities to work in tech just because of the deliberate choice of the company at the concern of better corporate image. I want to have the confidence I deserve when I’m hired. ”
“The diversity in tech is important for the sake of the product. I know an engineer who works in a white male only team. They were working on a technology that detected skin color, but they had not yet thought of detecting the pigmentation of any other race other than white. It’s important to consider perspectives other than your own ”
Three-year working experience in Tech
Old Colleague: Graphic designer
Who’s not working as a technician
Depending on different level of engagement, people have drasticly different view towards the same topic.
I think “Women in Tech” is a very interesting topic and I also feel personally attached to it. But considering the time frame and