Women in Tech: Working Towards Equality and Inspiring Others In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re reflecting on some of our own efforts to increase gender equity in tech in hopes that it inspires others. Kalina Tekelieva Senior Content Marketing Artist Today is International Women’s Day. This year’s theme of the day is Break the Bias and challenges people to imagine a gender-equal world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. Going a step further, IWD breaks that them down into several different missions including one centered on the tech industry: “MISSION: To celebrate digital advancement and champion the women forging innovation through technology.” In the spirit of the day, we thought we’d look inward to our team and reflect on some of our own efforts to increase equity within MentorMate as well as the tech community at large. We hope that sharing our efforts will offer increased visibility to women in tech and inspire other organizations to institute similar initiatives. Experts in Their Field According to the Women in Tech Index 2018, Bulgaria has more women working in the IT sector than any other country in the world – 30.28%. But where does MentorMate stand in these statistics? Women who work at MentorMate in Bulgaria represent 30% of all Bulgarian employees, while women in the U.S. represent 42% of all U.S. employees. This year, we started a new initiative called Women in Tech Share at MentorMate. This series of free online events features women from MentorMate’s leadership team sharing knowledge, experience, and advice from their long-standing professional path. They discuss important issues facing women in tech and give valuable know-how that helps other women advance and succeed in this sector. The events are interactive, and participants have the opportunity to share their opinion in discussions, ask questions, and share their experiences. They get valuable, actionable advice that they can use in their everyday work. Finally, participants make new connections with other women in tech, get inspired, and receive many new ideas about their development opportunities. The first event from the series focused on coping with the IT world’s dynamics and avoiding burnout in the workplace. Viktoria Chuchumisheva, our HR Manager, talked about wellness & well-being techniques and ways to cope with the stress and difficult situations in the everyday IT world. Sixty people joined this first event and received advice to help them in their work and a practical task to understand the topic better. After the positive feedback and interest in the first event, we organized a second one. It was about leadership and how to do it elegantly. Jeni Kyuchukova, Director of Quality and Process at MentorMate, spoke about her ten years of experience managing teams in the IT sphere. With a bit of humor, she shared how to look at problems positively and see them as our greatest opportunities. Our third event focused on how to have a successful career in IT. Eleonora Georgieva, VP of Delivery, shared her techniques for a successful career path and the main pillars around which she builds her professional development. She spoke about what it means to be successful, be present for your team (the team’s needs come first), be the team player everyone wants to work with and be ready to negotiate as not everything is constant. It was interesting to notice that around 30% of the attendees were men. Educating the Next Generation of Women in Tech While MentorMate’s two training programs — QA Academy and DevCamp — are co-ed, they provide opportunities for the next generation of women in technical roles. QA Academy QA Academy is a free online training program that provides young talents with the tools and knowledge to land their first QA job. Participants have access to engaging lectures, practical assignments, and exercise activities that help them become real QA professionals. At the end of the program, the best participants land a job at MentorMate. There have been two QA Academy editions so far, and the recruitment process for the third edition is now open. At the end of the second QA Academy, we hired 11 people in total. 6 out of these 11 were women. Velislava Minkova, QA Lead and QA Academy Trainer, says that “being a woman in the IT sphere is just like being a woman in any other walk of life nowadays. We are now used to breaking barriers and proving every step of the way that whatever the qualities of a good professional are, gender is not one of them.” From her personal experience, there is no stigma around women in tech, and it’s a matter of time until we start seeing even more young women join the IT profession. Technovation In addition to our internal training programs, we’ve historically partnered with organizations dedicated to balancing the gender gap in tech. One such organization, Technovation, has chapters worldwide and challenges girls in middle school and high school to identify a problem in their community and use technology to solve it. The program takes them through the entire mobile app development process and gives them a leg up for a future career in technology. We hold Technovation very near and dear to our hearts as we’ve partnered with our local Minnesota chapter on several events in the past, including their upcoming Pitchapalooza on March 22. Women in Leadership at MentorMate At MentorMate, women are very successful in their leadership roles. Quite a lot of them have reached a manager position and positively lead their teams. Currently, women account for 42% of the management positions on MentorMate’s Bulgarian team. On the U.S. team, that percentage dips down to 26.7% of women in management positions. As these numbers show, we’re not perfect at MentorMate. We still have a long way to go to achieve full gender equality, particularly on our U.S. leadership team. But through initiatives like Women in Tech Share and by continuing to invest in programs like QA Academy and DevCamp, we’re determined to bridge the gap and have not only full gender equality but equity as well. With the theme of today in mind, we hope that reading about the achievements of some of our team members inspires more women to join STEM programs and pursue careers in tech. They sure inspire us on a daily basis. For our part, we’ll continue our commitment by implementing initiatives that further balance the scales of equality. Tags CompanyCulture Share Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Share Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Sign up for our monthly newsletter. Sign up for our monthly newsletter.