A STUDY sponsored by the National Center for Women & Information Technology cited three major reasons increasing the female churn rate in tech: workplace conditions, a lack of access to key creative roles, and a sense of feeling stalled in one’s career.
The numbers also tell us that the tech sector is still heavily dominated by men: less than 7% tech positions in Europe are filled in by women, and only 17% of tech workers in the UK are female. In the US, women make up only less than 20% of the tech workforce.
In the Philippines, the numbers are slightly more positive with 49% of STEM workers being women. A 2017 survey conducted by Pew Research Center however revealed that 50% of female STEM professionals from all over the world are more likely to say they have experienced discrimination in the workplace.
Is the tech industry a man’s man’s man’s world? Is there nothing exciting and creative in store for a woman in tech?
Jasmin Rosales, a Quality Assurance engineer of 6 years, is another addition to the list of ladies proving us otherwise.
“I initially wanted to take up liberal arts, but the school was quite far from our home. Since the school year was about to start, I had no time to decide for another course and the entrance exams for other universities were already finished, so I enrolled at STI.”
“I eventually liked tech,” Jasmin admits. “At first I thought it was boring, but while studying I realized that there were so many new things to learn.”
Fast forward to today, Jasmin now has more than six years of experience as a QA engineer under her belt. She has worked for several companies and clients, big and small, in the Philippines and in the US. She’s currently a QA engineer at Cloud Employee, a UK-managed IT outsourcing company, where she’s happy with the support for women in tech like her. “There’s an equal opportunity here at our workplace and it feels great to have our management actually advocate for women in our industry. They’re always supportive of us and they also encourage our growth as professionals.”
In her various stints as a QA, Jasmin’s had her fair share of the unpleasant experiences of being a woman in this industry.
“There was this time when I was offered a lower pay than my colleague (who was applying for) the same position. Then, in my previous jobs, there were also instances when my colleagues would nothear my ideas or suggestions, all because I am a woman.”
Fortunately, it’s not all rainy days and rough skies for Jasmin. She’s had great experiences at her job as well, sharing that “being able to deliver products that make people happy and (make) their life easier, (is) the best part.”
Jasmin is currently working on a CRM application for a UK-based client. Little did she know that this very project will bring her to the UK—and even to the highest point in Wales.
Working in the Philippines remotely through Cloud Employee, Jasmin finally had the opportunity to fly to the UK and meet her clients on May 7. When asked about her experience, Jasmin shared, “My colleagues from the UK were warm and welcoming. We never ran out of stories to tell. They showed us around and acted as our tour guide. It was such a nice experience being around people who come from a different culture but share the same interest as you.”
Part of their itinerary was to climb the highest point in Wales: Mt. Snowdon where Jasmin grabbed the opportunity to plant the Philippine flag. A live video of them at the summit has received more than a hundred thousand views on Facebook already.
“Setting foot in the UK is already (a) dream come true. It has fulfilled my dream to experience different cultures. Best part? It all happened because of my job.”
This might be a small feat for some, but this is another great leap for Jasmin and thousands of other women in tech. Jasmin says that one struggle as a woman in the industry is the lack of female role models and mentors in the field. “Even the community for females in technology is very small, and this results to us lacking visibility.”
“There’s (also) this negative notion that math is for boys, so girls get discouraged to pursue a career in tech even at a young age,” Jasmin adds. “They think they don’t have the mental capacity for the job.”
Despite this, Jasmin sees the positive side of being a woman in tech. As a message to young women aspiring for a career in tech, Jasmin wants to share her brave soul: “Gone are the days where there is a line dividing the things that men and women can do. I have female friends in tech who are rockstar project managers, developers, and QAs. We can also bring value and diversity to the field. We are as capable as men.”
Her colleagues at also joined in to share their pieces of advice:
Jennifer Trinanes, .NET developer for 10 years: “The first ever programmer is a woman! I’d say if you want to pursue a career in tech, GO. FOR. IT. I had people closest to me saying I’m wasting my time learning tech, and I also had my fair share of rather unpleasant experiences in the tech field. If they tell you “you can’t do it”, don’t listen. There’s a lot of tech communities out there that are willing to spend their time helping others no matter your gender. It’s also important to have a role model or mentor to coach you.”
Annie Dela Cruz, QA Analyst for more than 10 years: “In this generation women should not think that they are less skilled than men. We just need to focus, know what we want as early as possible and do our best in any career that we chose.”
AnnielynLagang, .NET developer for 7 years: “The IT industry is vast and there’s a place for everyone. I know it’s scary, intimidating and overwhelming to be the only female in the room or in the group, I still feel that way sometimes. But don’t let this fear hinder your dream and your passion. If you have a dream, go for it! Be greater than your fears. Take the first step. The rewards—building innovative applications, making users happy, meeting new people, collaborating and sharing ideas with others—are all worth it.”