I worried it might be too technical for me. Once I made the switch, I discovered that I was more than able to keep up academically. I finished university with an honors degree and with the highest grade average possible, and now work as technology consultant.
For me, diversity is not only about diversity of gender, it is also–and more importantly–about diversity of thought.
In most respects, my team at Accenture is diverse. I currently work as a project manager, and my team mainly consists of business analysts, developers and technical architects. Differences in age, background, experience and, most importantly, in the way we think and approach tasks are all relevant diversity factors.
“Differences in age, background, experience and, most importantly, in the way we think and approach tasks are all relevant diversity factors.”
Working with inspiring and talented people, from whom I can learn, is the best part of my job. In our team, we take advantage of this diversity by discussing new tasks or issues in a group setting before deciding on next steps. Looking at a problem from as many angles as possible helps us to identify the right solution in the end.
That being said, I do believe more gender diversity will automatically give us greater diversity of thought. It’s my impression that women generally tend to approach problems differently than men. It is a shame that the industry misses out on the talents that are hiding in women who do not pursue a career in technology.
When I finished university it was important to me to find a job where I could continue to grow, and that allowed me the everyday flexibility to do the things I enjoy besides work. I found that balance.
There is no doubt my number one priority in life is my friends and family, but that does not mean I need to compromise my career goals. I rarely bring work home. I think my determination not to do so is the key to me being focused, efficient and successful at work.
My advice for young women aspiring for a career in mathematics, engineering or technology is to just go for it. Let go of the desire to be in control. Fight the fear of failure. Trust in your ability to learn once you dive into it.
When people are surprised at what we do, take it as a compliment and be proud that you are helping to change the widespread impression that technology is only for geeky guys. The geeks are there, but many of us are women.