Women’s Day: a meeting of women consultants
Today is International Women’s Day and from Emiral we join this fight for equality. In addition, in our sector it is a day to remember that a woman was the first computer programmer in history: Ada Lovelace.
However, in the technology sector there is still a long way to go, as indicated by the latest data published in 2019 in the White Paper on Women in the Technological Field, prepared by the Ministry of Economy and Business, according to which only 15.6% of women are dedicated to the technology sector. Another revealing data is the one provided by the European Commission on women in the digital sector, according to which only 24 out of 1000 women graduate in ICT studies.
Being a woman in technology
To commemorate this day, at Emiral we want to make a special mention and recognition to the women who are part of our team. We have shared with them how they started in this sector and how they foresee the future. This is what they have told us:
What is your educational background?
Patricia Barbolla: I have a degree in Business Administration and Management from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.
María Jesús Gimeno: I studied the master’s degree in SAP Consulting.
Coral Manzanedo:I studied a degree in Information Systems Engineering at university.
How many years have you been in the technology sector?
P: I have been in this sector for 21 years.
M.J.: I have been working in consulting for 19 years, since 2002.
C: I have been working in this sector for a year and a half.
What is your position at Emiral?
P: I am a Microsoft Dynamics Ax functional consultant.
M.J.:I am currently working as a consultant in the Sage X3 team.
C: I am currently a technical consultant for Sage x3 at Emiral. Although I also do tasks in other areas such as marketing.
Did you always have a clear idea of what you wanted to do or did you come to this sector by chance?
P: Initially, my vocation was directed towards totally different sectors, such as healthcare. But eventually I decided to go into the technology sector.
M.J.: Until I was 16 years old, I wanted to be a doctor. Then I started having doubts until I finally discarded the idea. After that, I did not have a clear vocation of what I wanted. My path was not a straight path, but I decided as I went along, depending on what I knew and what I liked..
C: It was always clear to me that I wanted to do computer science. In my family, my older brother (who is 20 years older than me) studied computer science, and since I was a child I have heard and seen a lot about technology.
Have you encountered difficulties due to the fact that you are a woman?
P: When I started working I did not encounter any difficulties; the drawbacks came after having children and asking for a reduced working day, since, although you can work practically the same hours (in a row), you do not provide service in the afternoons and this was seen as something negative.
M.J.: In my case I can say that being a woman has not been a problem for my professional development.
C:For the time being, not in the field of studies and work.
From your experience, within the new technologies sector, are women gaining more and more recognition or is it still a sector mainly for men?
P: I think there are more and more women in the technology sector and that is very good news.
M.J.: It is becoming more and more equal, but there are still companies in which the man who holds the position of consultant reaches positions of responsibility before the woman.
C:I think it is still a sector mostly for men. Little by little more and more women are participating, but only a very small part.
People are still surprised when you tell them you are a computer engineer. The response is always the same: “Wow, a girl programming, you’ve rarely seen that”.
What is the customer’s perception of the fact that the technological implementation is led by a woman? Have you had any problems in this regard?
P: Throughout my professional career in this sector, I have only had one client who did not approve of two women leading his project. There was another female colleague and myself. Except for that case, I have not had any problem, everyone has been correct with me. I believe that if the project and the implementation are well managed, it should not matter who leads it.
M.J.: On occasion, but it has been a one-off event. In my case, the problem came more from a member of the client’s team than from the company that hired me.
C:In my case, being a woman and very young, the times I have gone to customers, the first impression is that they always stare at me. I guess being a woman, and young in this sector, even in the face of society is still surprising or may even create little confidence.
If the project and implementation are well managed, it should not matter who leads it.
Is there still a long way to go in this sector in terms of equality?
P: I think everything is becoming more and more equal, but there is still a lot to do, especially when a woman becomes a mother. Teleworking is becoming more and more widespread and this helps a lot in terms of work-life balance, both for men and women.
M.J.: There is still a long way to go in this sector as in many others.
Teleworking is becoming more and more widespread and this helps a lot in the reconciliation of both men and women..
C: I think there is still a long way to go. More than we would like. But I also think that every day we are closer. That among all of us who are still here, we are taking small steps for ourselves and for all those to come.
What advice would you give to young women who are thinking of directing their training and professional future towards new technologies?
P: The best advice I can give you is that if you like technology, do not hesitate to train. In this sector there is a wide range of possibilities where you can develop your knowledge, and it is an exciting world because it is constantly changing.
M.J.: From my experience and after having tried different sectors, I can say that technology is a very interesting path because of the rapid changes and advances. You are always in continuous learning.
C: Don’t let them think about it. That this is also a woman’s future. And that if they like it, they should go ahead. I would recommend them to read a book about the history of women in the history of technologies women in the history of technologies, (of the books that they never teach in the universities) and that she continues to move forward.
We hope that someday this date will not be vindicative, but commemorative of the day in which full equality of rights was achieved.