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International Women's Day: #Choosetochallenge

It’s International Women’s day and we are celebrating all women around the world, starting from our team at Digiterre. To kick off the celebration, we caught up with some of our colleagues and we talked about what this day means to them.

By Digiterre

08/03/2021

It’s International Women’s day and we are celebrating all women around the world, starting from our team at Digiterre. To kick off the celebration, we caught up with some of our colleagues and we talked about what this day means to them.

Theresa Cantwell, Director of HR and Talent Management, Digiterre

  • Question 1: What does this year’s International Women’s Day theme; #Choosetochallenge mean for you in your work life?
    • Start by challenging any personal fear, doubts and negative self-talk.  Self-awareness, compassion and inner strength help build confidence to challenge the unhealthy barriers that still exist for women in the modern world.
  • Question 2: On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
    • The message I would like to share is about a career being a journey with some dead-ends, roundabouts and obstacles along the way but it’s important to take a look at the scenery and get to know people along the way!  I think it’s very important to be happy and try to find a career path that brings out the best in you.  If you get joy and satisfaction from your work, you will get what you give, and it will be easier to stick to when times are hard.  A career can be an opportunity to showcase your talents, learn, make friends, travel, to understand people and have your views challenged and developed.  From personal experience, a career and family life are not mutually exclusive though it is very important to choose a partner who values your career as much as you do. 
  • Question 3: Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you over your career?
    • I am fortunate to have worked with many wonderful people in my career who have encouraged me, inspired me, and given me opportunities to grow and learn.  I don’t have a particular role model from my personal career however a public figure I’ve admired very much is Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

 

Ramona Mohan, Associate Consultant, Digiterre

  • Question 1: What does this year’s International Women’s Day theme; #Choosetochallenge mean for you in your work life?
    • I think choosing to challenge comes in multiple forms: choosing to challenge any prejudices against women, as well as choosing to rise to the challenge of working in a field with mostly men. To me, tackling both challenges means that we should collectively apply fair treatment to women as much as men. We have come a long way from the pioneers of women in science and engineering, and our presence should now be considered a normality. It is also important to note that IT is a challenging field in and of itself. Thus, it is more effective to build healthy relationships within the work environment, where everyone uses their skills to team up and build something together, than it is to single out or sensationalise women working in IT. This is because by drawing attention to this we add an unnecessary division between men and women. Ultimately, anyone with a passion for tech, science and engineering should be able to work in this field with no stigma attached.
  • Question 2: On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
    • The most important message is much easier said than done: make sure to choose the career path that you want. It is easily said because it’s the most obvious advice, but hard to do because in a world with so many options and passions that you can follow it is often difficult to pick. In the context of International Women’s Day, this means paying no mind to the men to women ratio in your desired field. Even if the chosen career path is not considered to be “for girls”, it can be “for you”.
  • Question 3: Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you over your career?
    • I have been inspired by my parents, both of whom are engineers. Not unlike me, my father has moved to another country for work at my age and has taught me about the importance of communication in another language. My mother has also been part of a field dominated by men her entire life, but even more so than today when she was my age. She asserted herself with her knowledge and skills and knew how to compel others to respect her, working her way up to leadership positions, so she is my biggest inspiration.

 

Chinelo Okoli, Consultant Developer, Digiterre

  • Question 1: What does this year’s International Women’s Day theme; #Choosetochallenge mean for you in your work life?
    • Choose to challenge is not being afraid to ask questions and put your ideas across whatever the audience.
  • Question 2: On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
    • Do what you enjoy, the rest should follow.
  • Question 3: Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you over your career?
    • Both my parents in the medical profession, their dedication rubbed off on me as a child, Before working from home was a thing, as a child my dad would bring home medical journals and books and spread them all over the dining table as he prepared for exams. I learnt from a young age

 

Rosy Henderson PMO Officer

  • Question 1: What does this year’s International Women’s Day theme; #Choosetochallenge mean for you in your work life?
    • To me this means two things in equal measure: first, taking the opportunity to be challenged, whether that’s by stepping outside my comfort zone, tackling something I don’t feel I understand but learning about it as I go, or just trying to do a little better today than I did yesterday. Second, it means choosing not to shy away from challenging those around me, including colleagues who may be more senior and/or experienced than me. We all need others to challenge us at times, not just women on IWD each year.
  • Question 2: On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
    • Take all the stuff we’re told about “lean in” and “behave more like men if you want to get ahead” with a large pinch of salt. I’m tired of all that. Just because the traditional working setup is designed to fit and value the “typical” man with a stay at home wife, doesn’t mean we need to re-design ourselves to fit into that mould, and the mould will never change if we continue cramping our own style to fit. One silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic has been shedding light on the vastly disproportionate role women take on in unpaid labour, in terms of childcare, housework, caring for elderly and sick relatives, and so on. Outside the private home, we’ve seen how women, and in particular women from ethnic minorities, have been the first line of defence against the pandemic, as health care workers, social care workers, childcare workers, shop staff, to name just a few – all sectors in which women and especially ethnic minority women are over-represented, but which are also typically vastly undervalued. Society is beginning to recognise that our value as human beings extends far beyond comfortably-paid hours at a desk and our contribution to “the bottom line”, and we all benefit hugely from women’s unpaid and poorly-paid labour – and that includes the economy. If we keep building momentum, we can improve things for everyone. Don’t try to be more like a man to “succeed” – the definition of success is still too narrow and biased in favour of the businessman-with-a-wife-at-home. Be the woman you are, and succeed on your own terms.
  • Question 3: Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you over your career?
    • Where to begin! I’ve been fortunate to have several role models and mentors over the years, some of whom I’ve known personally and others who I’d like to meet. I couldn’t do justice to any of them. Those who have inspired me the most have been the ones who have had the courage to change course and do something completely different at a “late” stage, and those who have taken attributes typically seen as counting against them, and used them to strengthen their hand, for example a disability, the lack of a university degree in a field which typically requires one, or poverty of opportunity (e.g. quality education, having the right networks and contacts, and so on).

 

Lape Runsewe, Marketing Manager

  • What does this year’s International Women’s Day theme; #Choosetochallenge mean for you in your work life?
    • Being able to speak up about anything you’re uncomfortable with and also being able to challenge yourself to confidently take on tasks. 
  • On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
    • Whatever it is you want to do, focus on that and become better at it. Ignore the noise and focus on your goal. 
  • Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you over your career?
    • My mother has been my biggest inspiration. As a kid I enjoyed visiting my mother at her office. Watching her work and take charge inspired me to always strive for excellence