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Inspiring voices: Women who are leading the way in STEM

There is no need to fear change. Change brings in steep learning curve, varied work experience, and exposure to different people.

A female engineer in a cleanroom. Image (C) Tim Sandle.
A female engineer in a cleanroom. Image (C) Tim Sandle.

Today – June 23 – is International Women in Engineering Day 2023. To mark the 10th anniversary of event, Digital Journal has heard from executives from Pixis, Ocient, WEVO and Tamr, gathering stories to share inspiring stories from females pushing the frontier of technology.

Shachar Koresh, Software Developer at WEVO.

Koresh explains the importance of International Women in Engineering Day

According to Koresh: “International Women in Engineering Day holds a special meaning to me as a woman engineer as it symbolizes the recognition and celebration of the contributions made by women in the engineering field. It serves as a platform to highlight the achievements and aspirations of women engineers and remind us of the importance of empowering and inspiring future generations of women in engineering. To foster talent, companies can actively promote gender diversity, create supportive environments, provide mentorship programs, and implement policies that ensure equal opportunities for women worldwide, thus cultivating a thriving and inclusive workforce.”

Vrushali Prasade, Co-founder & co-CTO at Pixis

Prasade looks at women in STEM

Prasade says: “This is an extremely exciting time to be in tech, especially for women. I see the environment evolving constantly, women today are far less likely to back out of a challenge. My strongest piece of advice would be to be resilient and patient in the face of adversity – however big or small the challenge.”

In terms of core advice, she adds: “To women aspiring to be in tech, I say believe in yourself and have absolute faith in your ideas, and you will succeed. Reach out for help, guidance, and mentorship. Don’t be afraid to fail, fall, and pick yourself back up again. The industry can seem vast and unforgiving, but you can carve your place in it, find strong advisors who back you up, and believe in your ideas. Most importantly, know that you have what it takes to succeed in this field that still remains male-dominated. Your unique perspective is necessary to solve the innumerable problems and build an even stronger foundation for the next generation of women.”

In terms of promoting greater diversity, Prasade recommends: “I think the lack of enough role models, or rather, the lack of coverage of women in the tech space is a big reason why there aren’t as many of us in tech as we’d like. There are comparatively a smaller number of women, which makes it difficult to find women peers to brainstorm with and/or get midcourse advice and mentorship from.”

Moreover, there are social norms to combat, as Prasade sees: “And then there’s the battle with the misconception that women aren’t good with tech, or, interested in it. However, the environment is constantly changing and there are more and more professional females speaking up and paving the way for other women out there and that’s going to help shift the industry’s perception”

Other cultural barriers include: “In addition to society’s stigma towards a woman’s choice of profession, the lack of role models and peer support in the industry are challenges women in tech face even today. I believe, if young women have access to more women tech leaders, they would feel encouraged and motivated to pursue a career in this industry. Again, this is something that is changing and hopefully in the coming years we will see an increase both for women in tech and cheerleaders for them”.

The best way to tackle this is with promoting inspiring case studies, as Prasade summarises: “Whether it is a new idea that requires someone to provide meaningful feedback or a solution to a roadblock, I’ve found that women always bring rather surprising and refreshing perspectives. Having more women in tech helps to make innovations more inclusive, accessible, and an instrument for broader social, economic and cultural change in itself.”

Anitha Nagaraja Rao, Lead Technical Solutions Delivery Engineer at Ocient.

Rao has advice for women aspiring to become engineers.

Here Rao offers: “We often tend to get too comfortable with our current work /role. We show reluctance about working on something new or picking different role and end up losing opportunities. There is no need to fear change. Change brings in steep learning curve, varied work experience, and exposure to different people. It helps grow professionally and personally.”

Sam Maxim, Director of Product Management and Operations at Tamr.

Maxim has advice for women who are new to technology.

Here maxim notes: “Find a community. If there isn’t a “Women in Technology” group – create one! Previously, my coworkers and I started a small get together in the conference room at lunch because we craved that community feeling. When I left that company, they had over 200 members in the group and a yearly operating budget that we put towards community outreach, speaking engagements, and corporate events with other companies. It was surprisingly easy to get started and the company wanted to help us.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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