After the article that demonstrated facts about the participation of women in the most diverse areas of STEM, we considered it important to have reports, in the first person, of women who occupy high positions in the Portuguese technology industry.
Vanessa’s story began when she received a computer for her ninth birthday. After that, already in the eighth grade of school, she knew that she wanted to pursue “management informatics”.
Regarding the IT market, Vanessa says that she recommends this area only to those who really like it because it is a demanding market “and it can become frustrating and very stressful if someone works in this area just for the salary.”
Vanessa Pessoa is one of the women who, despite never having felt gender discrimination, has heard negative comments about joining the IT field “initially many people asked me if I was aware that I was going to work in a “men’s world” and if so it didn’t scare me.”
Vanessa’s advice for those who want to go into the Technology area:
Do not give up! Resilience, persistence and self-belief doesn’t come overnight, but each day we can work a little harder for it. Some days we win and other days we learn to move forward. No dream is in vain! Invest in yourselves: acquire knowledge outside of normal work tasks, strive to deliver quality work (don’t be afraid of making mistakes, just be afraid of not learning anything new) and take care of your physical and mental health as a person happier is a more dedicated and productive professional!
Teresa started her career at Oracle, in the pre-sales and support area. However, it was in the 10th grade that she discovered a taste for the technological world, when she had to change schools. There aren’t as many options as there are currently, Teresa became interested in a new professional technical computer course. As she liked science and math, she decided to apply.
As for the IT market, Teresa states that “the IT market is full of many and varied opportunities, but also very dynamic with too much turnover, in some specialties.”
Like Vanessa, Teresa considers that she has never felt gender inequality, although she has already heard less sympathetic comments “especially when some application does not work”.
As a way to alleviate the gender discrepancy, Teresa suggests greater dissemination about these areas in secondary schools, demonstrating the lived reality and the testimonies of women employed in the sector, given that, for Teresa, one of the hypotheses that justifies the low percentage of women in the sector, one can relate to the idea that it will be a monotonous job.
Teresa’s advice for anyone who wants to go into the Technology area:
The IT area today has so many areas of activity that there are certainly projects that they will identify with. Try it out!
Lucília, 11 years at Lactogal working in the area of infrastructure and networks, and currently responsible for Citrix and Endpoint Configuration Manager, during her graduation at ISEP, had a great study team “interestingly with many women, older than me and working-students”.
But Lucília was not always decided about her future. After having her first contact with Windows 3.0, she swore she would never like computers. However, on the 12th she was advised to pursue computer engineering as she had a lot of output, “this in 1998.” And so she did, albeit without passion, just considering having a good career.
About the IT market today, Lucília emphasizes the versatility difficult to achieve and confides that she feels more difficult to keep up with the technology.
Once again, and just like her professional colleagues, Lucília doesn’t feel any kind of inequality. However, she says that at the beginning of college, she heard comments such as “IT is more for boys. What is certain is that it is exactly my area, getting hands-on, PCs and it is rare to find available women with know-how in this area.” She also highlights that it is exactly the lack of taste for the subject, the reason pointed out by Lucília about the low presence of the female gender in STEM areas.
Lucília’s advice for those who want to go into the Technology area:
If that’s what you like, go ahead! Even now in my team there was a collaborator and we were recruiting, there wasn’t a single woman in this area! People want women, new ideas, different perspectives, let women come to the IT area!
Unanimously, when asked about the greatest difficulty in the IT sector, the answer was essentially the difficulty in keeping up with technological evolution.
Regarding the skills needed to follow the path of the STEM disciplines:
- Respect for others;
- Patience when exposing your ideas;
- Desire to learn.
It is concluded, therefore, that it is crucial that academic institutions disseminate testimonies of people and especially women who are employed in these areas, in order to demonstrate the reality of these professions, highlighting that these sectors are for all those who like technology.