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SnT goes #BalanceForBetter on International Women’s Day

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Published on Thursday, 07 March 2019

Why #IWD19? International Women's Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. But it’s also a call to action for accelerating gender balance.

Society and the tech sector have made great strides in terms of gender equality, but we’ve still got ways to go. Gender balance isn’t a women’s problem, it’s a collective issue impacted by several factors, from societal influence to education biases and workplace systems.

On International Women’s Day 2019, we want to highlight the wonderful diversity of our staff and talk about gender balance: from noticing its absence to celebrating its presence – here are the voices of SnT.

Enjie – Research Associate, from Tunesia

What advice would you give your younger self?

'Sometimes we think that some jobs are “reserved” for men or women, but those are our limiting beliefs. Being a woman or a man should not define your career path or aspirations. I’ve always loved mathematics and was lucky to have great mentors who encouraged me to stick to what I love. I eventually specialized in computer science and am now a Research Associate in the Computer Vision team.Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to be confident in your abilities and go after what you want.'

 

Jose – Business Development Officer, from Portugal

Do you think there is a lack of women in tech and why?

'Yes, absolutely – in the popular technology community there is still a vision of women as outsiders, which is absolutely ridiculous! I think this is because from an early age the gender stereotype of “boys being better at technology” discourages girls from studying maths and science. Unfortunately, this means that companies have a gender-biased talent pool to recruit from. In return, this means girls lack role models in tech jobs, and so the cycle continues. I believe it’s the responsibility of all of us to advocate for more women in tech, that’s why I contribute to this much-needed change wherever possible.'

 

Anush  Doctoral Researcher, from Armenia

What are you doing at work to help better the balance?

'In my free time, I volunteer as lead coach at the Lux Tech School, an after-school curriculum where kids are introduced to technology. We want to help build future digital leaders, and our strategy here is to get children, both girls and boys, interested in technology. I think it’s important to demystify the geekiness of working in IT and show younger generations how much fun it can be to develop a video game or code an app. We’re not putting any special focus on attracting girls, our focus is to make tech topics transparent and equally appealing to both girls and boys. I think this is key to a better balance in the tech sector.'

 

Manuel  Doctoral Researcher, from Spain

Why is diversity important for every organization out there?

'I believe diversity is key for personal growth, teamwork and a better understanding of any matter. Combining different perspectives unlocks our collective potential to address any problem with creativity and efficiency.  Without diversity, only a small part of the picture can be seen. To meet the needs of our current society, diversity is just necessary. We need to evolve together if we want to make any progress and improve everyone's quality of life.'

 

Serket  Doctoral Researcher, from Mexico

What role would you want to play in gender balance today?

'I’m a researcher in automatic control, and there aren’t many women in this field! So I always missed a role model I could look up to. My career goal is to become a professor, and inspiring women to enter this field in the future is extra motivation. I believe it’s also important to show other women in this research area that a career in academia is possible.'

 

Abd El Rhaman Shabayek – Research Associate, from Egypt

What are you doing at home to help better the balance?

'I have a daughter at home, and it’s important to me to raise her in a world where she feels valued, respected, and confident. So when I spend time with my family, I make sure that everyone can voice their opinion on any given topic, whether positive or negative. I want my children to know that everyone’s opinion matters, and I always make sure all arguments are taken into account and a fair and transparent decision was made.'

 

Manxing  Doctoral Researcher, from China

Who is your female role model?

'My mind goes straight to big names like Professor Feifei Li,  a leading scientist in AI, J.K. Rowling, or Sheryl Sandberg. They’ve made major contributions to specific fields and got recognition for these. But as I see it, they’re also role models because they share so much more than their work: all around the world, people are inspired by their knowledge, their experience, and their positive attitude. But if we’re being honest: anyone can be a role model. She can be a friend, a family member, or a colleague. In general, I admire women who pursue their career and live their lives with dedication, perseverance, and courage.'  

 

Raphael – Research Scientist, from Luxembourg

Do you think there is a lack of women in tech and why?

'Unfortunately, yes. But I believe we’ve made great strides in the past couple of years. I’ve noticed that more women are enrolling in computer science than ever before, and coding has become cool. Today, developers are superstars; they have great salaries and lead a comfortable lifestyle. And the younger generations are definitely catching onto that! There’s also been an increase in promotional campaigns aiming to get children interested in science and technology. I participate in some of these initiatives because I  believe it’s vital to get more girls interested in ICT. So while we’re not where we’re supposed to be yet in terms of gender balance, I’m confident we’re on the right way to get there.'

The future is exciting. Balance is the secret sauce to a better working world. Let's all help to create a #BalanceforBetter.

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SnT is turning 10! We’ve come a long way since launching our activities in 2009. Today, nearly 300 talented people work together to innovate in Luxembourg and around the world. Stay tuned for a year full of celebrations, excellence in research, and new milestones.

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