Stories that I am working on these days are published by the biggest media outlets in the world. They are not about fashion, though, even if I’ve spent 10 years of my life while working as a stylist and fashion editor in the international fashion magazine L’Officiel. And I can admit that being the fashion editor eventually became my dream job. Why? Because you get to meet any woman, you would like to meet. In one issue you could talk about sports and the Olympic Games with the women who had trained all their lives to participate in their dream games. In another issue, you could grind the subtle art of pattern making. So, yes, this was the best gap year I’ve ever had! And you’ll probably ask why then I work in cybersecurity communications now? Partly, because women in tech are still (not) a stereotype, and I love (not) breaking stereotypes!
By LINA SURVILA
Starting in the tech industry
For some women of my age, tech is still a man’s world. Well, it’s nice if you’re from a place where girls have been playing with robots for many years, but in the Baltics, we had had a long time tradition of girls well… being girls. It was only a couple of years ago when the Baltics started to teach tech. I mean coding schools, kids’ activities, tech programs, etc. This was the first time I felt tired of being called just a girl in fashion. I desperately needed to prove something. So I started learning how to code. And I have finished the full-stack program leaving my friends confused. (In the circle of artists, musicians, and creative minds, this was something that we can’t even talk about now.)
Are there no women in tech?
Half of my classmates in full-stack programming courses were women. Later, in my UX/UI studies, we all were women. Currently, I am even participating in the Women Go Tech initiative with 200 women. You would say this is great! But how about finding a job and working in the field of tech?
According to the Google annual diversity report, in 2019, globally, only 33.2% of all hired people were women. In 2018, global women tech hires increased to 25.7% (+1.1 ppts). In four years, women tech hires have risen from 22.1% to 25.7% (+3.6 ppts).
Not a full class, you might say. Where are all those women who passionately want to learn and work in tech? It all comes down to stereotypes. From my personal experience, I shocked a lot of people when I said I was going to pursue a career in tech. First, I was doing great in fashion, and everyone seemed to think that you do what you do forever. Secondly, how could anyone without any history of real sciences education do that? I have good news for you. You can do whatever you want with your life! There are plenty of women who broke that (and many more) stereotypes and pursued their careers in tech.
Women in tech
Where to start if you don’t know anything or anyone in tech? Start following! Here are some extraordinary women from the Baltics I suggest you follow!
Kaidi Ruusalepp (Founder and CEO of Funderbeam)
Kristel Kruustuk (Founder and CEO of Testlio)
Karoli Hindriks (Founder and CEO of Jobbatical)
Alise Semjonova (Co-founder of Infogr.am, co-creator of Riga Tech Girls)
Gunita Kulikovska (Founder and CEO of Vividly)
Marija Rucevska (CEO of TechChill)
Dalia Lasaite (CEO of 3D model marketplace CG Trader)
Monika Katkute Gelzine (Founder of bit&Byte & Teachers Lead Tech)
Ilma Nausedaite (COO of MailerLite)