“Women should stop being afraid to do what they like,” says Marta Demyda, Systems Engineering Manager of Cypress. According to her, there are many prejudices against women in IT and management positions, but it is possible to overcome them. Lviv IT Cluster spoke with Marta on how to reach the set goals and change society.
“We still have the division into male and female professions, and people tend to think that programming is for men. Many girls are simply afraid to learn this sphere because of the complexes: they think there is nothing for them there since it is a man’s job,” states Marta. According to her, these fears result from education since from a very young age, the children are being taught certain stereotypes and learn about different expectations for boys and girls.
“A woman has to do much more than a man to achieve career success,” continues Marta. For example, men often promote themselves for their potential while women do that based on the accomplishments they have already achieved. There are many skeptics who do not accept women in leadership positions or do not believe they deserve them. As a result, many girls feel insecure, receive lower wages and do not demand more for their skills.
“When it comes to employment, there are managers who do not pay attention to gender and look at the people’s qualifications, but there are managers who hire only men because they believe the men are better,” says Marta. She often faced prejudices because of being a woman. “Before, I was very offended by sexist comments and perceived them as personal insults. But then, I just started to work much harder than men to show that I deserved my position,” adds Marta.
She is positive that experience adds confidence, and now, she does not respond to sexist comments. “Women have to do what they like, and if the women want to have a career, they should do it. However, if a woman does not view career as a goal, she has to do something else,” concludes Marta.
Marta believes it is possible to overcome the prejudices, but this process has to begin in middle school. It is necessary for educational programs to help children develop and focus on subjects that interest them despite the stereotypes. “This way, the girls will be able to learn programming without doubts because most of their classmates are guys. Women should stop being afraid and understand their strengths as they are hard and determined workers.”
According to Marta, a woman should develop self-confidence to demand higher positions even when competing with men. The latter, instead, have to treat women with respect and not expect the women to stay at home.
“Successful woman in our society has to have everything: family, children and career,” says Marta. She adds that we need more information about such women so society is interested in them. Marta reassures: “If we have more successful women, the little girls will look up to them. The main thing is not to be afraid!”