Today, 8th March, is International Women’s Day: the day we celebrate the remarkable contributions and achievements of women, no matter how big or small these might be, as well as commemorate the ongoing fight for equality, justice, security and rights for women all around the world. It is also a day used to remind us of the presence of women in all industries, cultures and societies.
There are many industries that we say are ‘male-dominated’, meaning the percentage of men working in these industries is remarkably higher than the percentage of women, where there are still massive gender divides in respects to pay, roles and positions. Unfortunately, women as a whole still feel they cannot make a break into many of these because of the gender-related stigma surrounding them: engineering, IT, programming, firefighters, police, pilots, and so many more.
When I started studying web design, I remember that I was one of very few women on my course. I found it strange that even after all the positive progress that has been made in the move for equality through the last few years, that there would still be such an obvious gender divide. I thought ‘maybe this career just doesn’t stand out to women’, but it became more obvious to me that women simply don’t consider going into IT and programming because the social perception of these jobs are that they are for men. It is terribly sad, but it is a fact. This made me even more determined to make my move into the IT industry, to show that women CAN be web designers, they CAN be programmers, they CAN be video game developers, amongst an endless list of other things.
Here at DragonStack, I am the only female employee (the only down side to this is nearly always finding the seat up in the bathrooms… come on guys!). This is, once again, because we work in an industry mainly taken on by men. I do not find it daunting being the only women here, I do not feel differently doing my job being a sole woman surrounded by men. And most of all, I don’t feel different for doing a job that is mostly (to not say normally) done by men. I find it empowering, and I just feel like one of the team!
So, let’s use this day to empower women to take on whatever careers they want to take on, to go where no other woman has gone, to break social stigmas, to fight for equality, to love, to live, and most importantly, be the woman they want to be!