Breaking the Binary: A Conversation with an IT Professional

Breaking the Binary: A Conversation with an IT Professional

The IT sector is usually thought to be best suited for men solely due to the high level of technical and mechanical expertise needed. In a conventional society where people believe girls are best suited for delicate vocations, we got the chance to speak with an outstanding female IT professional. Her story and what she has got to tell us have something for everyone eager to defy convention.

1) How do you perceive the role of women in the ICT industry today compared to, let’s say, a decade ago? 

Since I’ve been in the industry for only four years, I still can’t speak for what it might have been like a decade ago, but from what I’ve seen and heard, it’s probably progressed to more of an equal field now, where earlier it was more prominently male-dominated. I’m seeing equal numbers now, where I heard earlier that there were few women in the teams. As for the role of a woman in this industry, I don’t see why it would be any different from a man’s. You just got to do your job. 

2) Have you encountered any gender-related challenges or biases in your career within the ICT sector? 

I don’t think I have faced any gender-related challenges more than the usual ones we have anywhere as a woman while working. As for biases, I am fortunate to have not encountered such myself. But I realize it might be based on the people we would be fortunate or unfortunate to meet. But as an industry, I don’t think it is the norm. When they are hiring, they just focus on whether you are qualified for the job, mostly. The gender doesn’t come into it. ICT-related jobs usually don’t require you to go out in fields other than your office premises. Therefore, we don’t have much to worry about, like having to travel at night or any other worries that some other fields may have. 

3) In your opinion, what can be done to encourage more women to pursue careers in ICT fields? 

I think it might help to raise awareness and break the perception that it’s a difficult field for a woman to survive in or that it’s a career path more suited to a man. Because it’s a completely baseless idea. My team leader is a lady, and she’s doing an amazing job in that high position of authority that requires tech skills as well as management skills. And that’s not “because of” being a woman, and definitely not “despite” being a woman. It’s just because she has the talent for it. I think that’s the idea we need to spread among both men and women. It’s about your skills and your passion, not your gender. But that’s my humble personal opinion. 

4) Have you noticed any specific trends or initiatives within the ICT industry aimed at promoting gender diversity and inclusivity? 

There are celebrations for occasions such as Women’s Day. And there are team competitions where they make it mandatory to have girls on the team to encourage more girls to join. 

5) How do you balance work-life demands in a field that is traditionally maledominated? 

It feels as if I’m still at the start of my career, and being unmarried, I don’t have too many demands on my time. But I make sure that I have enough time for myself and to keep the balance. If there is a workplace that’s encouraging employees to always be in work mode 24/7, maybe that’s a sign to move on to a healthier workplace. 

6) What advice would you give to young women aspiring to enter the ICT industry? 

As long as you know this is the path you want to take for a career and you enjoy the work you do, you will be fine. It’s a field that requires you to constantly learn and adapt to new technologies. So if that’s something that makes you excited or at least happy to concede to, this is probably a good field for you. And make sure you are happy where you are at work and happy with the people you work with. If you are unhappy, try to see what causes it and what changes you can make to resolve it. Also, be assertive and confident about your own abilities. You have to believe in yourself before others believe in you. 

7) Have you experienced any instances of sexism or discrimination in your workplace, and if so, how have you addressed them? 

I actually haven’t. 

8) How do you think advancements in technology can contribute to the empowerment of women globally? 

As they say, it’s a global village now. It’s easier now to raise awareness about any issues and easier to realize the toxic cultures when you are exposed to all the differently handled similar situations around the world. 

With her experience and journey in the IT field, she serves as an inspiration to all of us to defy expectations and pursue our own happiness instead of following social norms. Her determination influences women out there to take charge of their lives and pursue careers on their own. Let us deviate from these stereotypical norms and establish a career path that is equally fulfilling for men and women. 

Interviewed by Rtr. Vibhavee Sarathchandra 

Written by Rtr. Dyaana Senarathna

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