Increasing the visibility of women in fields such as development and giving them the space they deserve to excel is crucial in order to achieve gender equality in seemingly male-dominated IT. In light of this year’s International Women’s Day, Payal, Senior Frontend Developer at Lana Labs talks about her experience in the industry, her passion about the job and gender discrimination in IT.
What do you like about your job?
In the world of coding, I think frontend development is the most fun job you can have. It’s creative – in a way that you can do so much with your web pages in so many different ways. While I totally respect and admire the work of my fellow backend developers, I have always found it slightly plain for my taste. When you work with frontend technologies, there is so much you can do! And there is so much happening in the world of frontend frameworks. There is something new to learn every day, and even after almost 7 years of working as a frontend developer, I wouldn’t say I know everything. That’s what keeps it exciting!
Why did you choose this job?
Other than what Lana is doing, there was one major reason – the people. Every person that I interacted with during my interview process, made me feel so welcomed and comfortable. I could tell by interacting with Thomas that this company is headed by some really smart people who know what they are doing, and are aware of the change they want to make. It was an easy decision to make.
How many are you on the team and how many of your team members are women?
In the frontend team, we are actually four people, and three of us are women! I always take pride in giving out this count to everyone!
What is the share of women in your profession?
I am definitely not aware of the exact stats, but I recently read somewhere that there are at least nine male developers, for every one female developer. Another report stated that the percentage is around 80-20, of course the former being male. So you can imagine the situation!
How are you accepted as a woman in the industry? Are men and women treated equally?
I want to say yes to this, but unfortunately, the world is not quite there yet. I cannot base my entire answer on just my experience with Lana. So I feel, even in 2021, women who speak up are labelled ‘aggressive’, whereas men who speak up are considered ‘passionate about their jobs’. I have often found myself contemplating if I should say something in a situation where I could come off as ‘aggressive’. This is a topic of conversation that often comes up amongst women in the field.
What do you consider typical women’s or men’s jobs?
None. There is no such thing. And the world should stop asking this question.
Why do you think the profession “Frontend Developer” is considered more of a “man’s profession”?
History! That’s the reason. If you look way back in time, every profession was considered to be a man’s profession. Not just Frontend Development. There was a time when women had to take permission from the men of the house to work. So this as well, is a result of Patriarchy!
What advice do you have for female students who are about to choose a technical degree or apprenticeship?
If that’s what you want to do, go for it. And please speak up if you think your suggestion could help. Go be that ‘aggressive’ female developer. It is really fun!
What can your employer do to make this position more attractive to women?
I believe Lana is already very supportive of their female employees. The fact that we have so many female leaders in the company proves that the doors are wide open for any gender, and all we care about is the talent!
What do you think has changed for women in IT over the past 10 years?
Well, multiple things have. First, women learnt to take a stand for themselves. Second, companies found a new innovative idea of marketing themselves by being diverse and inclusive. Years ago, I went to a job interview where they were selectively hiring women. I asked why, and the answer was – we want to improve the ratio of women in our workforce. And the final thing – the world really is changing, and I can see people get more progressive and open-minded.