Friends, colleagues, relationships and support – An experience of a woman in engineering

Friends, colleagues, relationships and support – An experience of a woman in engineering

Written by Farinaz GhasemiSoftware Engineer, Acast2023.08.01

As a woman in the tech industry, I’ve often found that the most challenging part of a role is not learning the skills or code, but actually dealing with the gender stereotypes and biases so often at play. And my experience is shared by many women I’ve known and worked with, and we’re not alone – according to a study by PWC, only 3% of women say a career in technology is their first career choice. 

Because of this, we have to spend more time proving ourselves and more time striving for perfection so we feel we can be included or involved in higher level tasks. Only 5% of leadership positions in the sector are held by women – which proves that the disparity still remains. As women we have to continuously combat implicit biases and systemic barriers, and this so often means we fall into the trap of imposter syndrome and not feeling good enough.

I’ve known many female colleagues and friends who have experienced genuinely unfair treatment because of their gender. They’ve been at the same level and experience as a male engineer, however have had their ideas and suggestions downplayed or dismissed in favor of the male engineer’s suggestion. When it comes to assignments too, the male engineer is given more complicated or challenging tasks because of systemic treatment – providing them with greater visibility and more opportunities for career growth. However we, as women, are assigned more administrative or support-oriented responsibilities – limiting our opportunities for career advancement.

I’ve known many talented female software engineers who have strong educational backgrounds and relevant experience in software development. However, despite their qualifications they often doubt their abilities in comparison with their male counterparts. They second-guess their work, and attribute positive feedback to luck or thinking that others overestimate their capabilities. And this is a problem – according to research by Accenture, over 50% of women leave the tech industry by the age of 35, with 51% of them identifying company culture and a lack of support as a contributing factor.

And this is a problem we all – as women and our male allies – need to solve.

The Acast Way

At Acast, it was actually the number of female programmers that initially caught my attention when applying for a job here. You’ll find at least one female programmer within every single team, and often they are in leadership or influential positions.

And because of this mix of gender, it means communities are formed and people are given the opportunity to share their insights. We frequently have workshops run and facilitated by Acast. For example, a mentorship program is in place where women are guided and advised by other women who are already established in the tech industry. Being surrounded by supportive individuals who share similar interests or backgrounds helps establish connections. It’s so helpful to speak to people who’ve been in the same shoes; ensuring we’re recognizing each other's strengths which ultimately boosts our confidence and helps us believe in ourselves and our careers. Both mentors and mentees learn a great deal from one another, whilst simultaneously feeling fulfilled in helping the other party out. It’s the act of being heard, taught, inspired and encouraged by others when in need which has the biggest impact. 

I also received practical and tangible examples of problem-solving techniques from my mentor. She helped me shift my perspective and look at things from a different angle. This allowed me to approach situations with a less serious mindset and focus on learning from the journey rather than solely fixating on the end goal. This has helped me to enjoy the process a bit more and take advantage of the present.

The women I’ve encountered in tech work diligently to push things forward, having all had to overcome obstacles to establish their presence in their respective fields. 

Every time I meet another female working in the tech industry it instills hope, encouragement and empowerment within me, motivating me to become a better version of myself.

Here’s to us all pushing the industry forward – men and women alike.