We are pleased to introduce our ‘Women in Tech’ blog series. Over the course of the next few months we will publish a series of blogs and anecdotes from women who work at Repositive, reflecting on their experiences working in a male dominated industry, with the goal of encouraging more women to consider careers in tech. Everyone involved has been given a simple brief to describe their experience at Repositive.
Our first blog in the series comes from Abby, a Web Development Intern at Repositive who has spent her summer building a dashboard with us, between returning from Shanghai on her year abroad and recommencing her studies at University College London.
Abby, Web Development Intern, reflects on working at Repositive
I’m used to walking into a development meeting and, glancing around, finding that I am the only woman there. I’ve worked as an intern in places where I’ve frequently been not only the only woman in the room, but the only woman in the entire tech team. I’ve sat in crowded Computer Science lecture theatres where I can count on one hand the number of other women I see around me. And I’ve been to hackathons where I am the only female coding participant at the entire event.
So, I am keenly aware that there is a stark gender imbalance in the tech industry, likely due to the experience young women have had from an early age in school, which results in widespread underrepresentation later on – from Higher Education through to senior roles in large tech corporations.
Attitude to Representation at Repositive
While in some ways Repositive is not much different – I am still sometimes the only woman in development meetings and there is still a lack of women applying for technical roles within the company – the difference at Repositive is in people’s attitudes.
Whenever the question of why there are so few women around is raised, the response is never dismissive – just an acceptance of the status quo or a resigned shrug (something I am already painfully familiar with). Instead, the response is an enthusiastic ‘What can we do about it?’, accompanied by a motivated, in depth discussion resulting in thoughtful action plans. For example, Repositive has recently adapted its recruitment marketing to encourage more female applicants. Initiatives like this paired with Repositive’s refreshing outlook has made me feel valued and hopeful about a future where women are more equally represented in the tech industry.
The Tech Community
As I am only at the very beginning of my career in the Tech industry, I constantly rely on the support of more experienced people to give me guidance and answer my questions. I have been very fortunate to have had a number of truly great mentors so far, which is a testament to how open and supportive the tech community is in helping their newest members find their feet. Almost all of my mentors have been male, and I have never felt that I have been treated differently because of my gender. Perhaps I have just been lucky, but I believe this is representative of the nature of the community.
The developer community at Repositive is no different. There is a fantastic learning culture, where everyone is keen to learn from others and equally willing to help each other out with any problem that comes up. Whereas before we would sit alone and cry over our code not working, now we can sit together and work through the problem as a team. And then cry together when it still doesn’t work!
It has been an incredible learning experience being a web development intern at Repositive, precisely because of the challenging and supportive environment created around the development team and the company as a whole.
Female Role Models
Because the majority of the people I interact with at work have been male, I have previously found it difficult to find successful female role models to look up to in my professional life.
At Repositive it’s kind of amazing to see women like Fiona (our CEO) and Charlotte (our Product Manager), among others, who come from STEM backgrounds and are now forging successful careers in tech. It’s inspiring to see them not only hold their own in a male dominated environment, but successfully lead and manage large teams, without having to ‘act more like a man’ or be anything other than themselves.
Having the opportunity to watch successful women in action here at Repositive has given me people to look up to who I can really identify with, which is so important for any young professional, particularly in industries traditionally lacking diversity.
I can honestly say I am proud to be working, with everyone here at Repositive, to encourage more equal gender representation in the tech sector. I’m also proud to be part of this team building essential tech and a great community. The tech industry still has a long way to go when it comes to equal gender representation, but it starts with getting more women interested in STEM. So I would encourage more young women to find out about what’s involved in tech careers and perhaps even to come and join our rapidly-growing team!