Reflecting on gender equality this Women’s Equality Day
As we reflect on this Women’s Equality Day, we spoke to three women at Transcenda regarding their thoughts on equality in the workplace, the challenges that women still face in the industry, and their proudest professional achievements.
Women’s Equality Day is celebrated annually on August 26 to commemorate the day in 1920 when the 19th Amendment was ratified for adoption to the US Constitution. The 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote, ending almost a century of protest. In honor of this historic landmark, we spoke to Transcenda’s Alexandra Tkachenko (Android Engineer), Yuliia Shpak (React Engineer) and Tanya Belinska (Requirements Manager) about their career paths in technology and the challenges women still face today.
Tanya Belinska, Requirements Manager
I was always good at math, and both my parents studied at a technical university, so pursuing an applied mathematics degree made the most sense for me. Back then, I was one of the few girls in the course.
Luckily, the situation has changed since the days I was studying. I’m happy to see that there are more and more women in tech across different teams at Transcenda and other software development companies. However, there are still very few women in management positions in tech. There are almost no female architects, delivery managers, CEOs, with a few exceptions. Those positions are the most well-paid and challenging roles, and I’d love to see more women in them. During job interviews or considering promotions, one should never assume that women would be more preoccupied with their families, and thus less effective.
The best way to close the gender gap in the technology industry is promoting and explaining the tech roles to women, starting early and throughout school. I would even go further – the tales we read to little girls are also very important. A modern princess may actually be a leader and a changemaker, and not just sitting there, waiting for her prince.
I have changed several careers during my professional life, having to prove and grow from a junior position again and again. I think being flexible, learning fast, and being open to changes is one of the most important things in our modern world, no matter who you are – a man or a woman.
Yuliia Shpak, React Engineer
I received a Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering, and the actual programming experience showed me what a thrill it is – to see how your product is used and how it helps other people. This feeling pushes me further every day.
At my first job, we held an academy for front-end developers. After finishing the course, four girls joined our team. So, now we have a small community of female programmers – we’ve become friends and meet often. We support each other and share useful information. I think that I am very lucky to be surrounded by such cool gals.
Recently, I read an article about Victoria Secret model Lyndsey Scott. She is a software engineer and a fashion model. She has faced so much hate – people didn’t believe that she could do anything except be a fashion model. At the same time, she is among the top Stack Overflow users (a website where users gain a reputation by providing answers about computer programming), and even teaches programming in college. I still see similar cases on social media, and, unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about it.
I would advise other women to not underestimate themselves. I know what it is like when you think that you are not good enough for something. Even though everyone can’t change history, we can all find our inner strength and make ourselves and our lives better everyday. I am proud that I found the courage to try programming despite the opinions of others, and even of my own family. I am proud that I found a job that I love.
Alexandra Tkachenko, Android Engineer
I knew that I wanted to be a software engineer since sixth grade. I started learning Android development during my last year of high school, and back then I created my first application which is still on Play Market. It is about physics and its formulas, and there’s also some theoretical material and practical tasks. Can you believe that it has gained 5,000 downloads by now?
What I still remember very clearly is that I faced challenges during my university years. There were many old professors who never thought of girls as an equal. In our group of around 100 students there were only seven girls. And we had to work twice as hard so our professors would treat us better.
But later I never felt any inequality at any of my jobs. The only thing that I remember is that at the beginning of my career sometimes recruiters asked me whether I would be comfortable working in a company where most people are males. But as time went by, I started getting less questions like that.
At Transcenda we recently developed updates for an app whose rating doubled on Play Market in just two months, and it keeps growing. Such successes inspire me every day. However, I believe that my main success still awaits me.