Editor's Note: The Women in Tech Networking Brunch was coordinated, planned and run by Karley Clayton, Director of Luddy Indianapolis Career Services, not Women in Technology student organization. Although, members of Women in Tech were present at the event.
Across many different fields, individuals who identify as women have faced adversity in their chosen career paths, making it difficult for them to advance in the workplace. This problem is particularly prevalent in STEM fields.
Women are the minority in STEM related career paths. The “T” in STEM is no exception, with women only making up about 26.7% of all technical roles globally. Women in Technology, a student organization focused on empowering women to make a difference in their field, held a brunch event on Sept. 6, where students had the opportunity to speak with representatives from various companies and speak about their experiences.
President of Women in Tech, Ikshitha Reedy, believes that the organization has a simple purpose but hopes to make a large impact.
“If you look at the diversity ratio of male to female in the technology work force, it’s very skewed,” Reedy said. “With that, we really want to promote and do events where we are promoting young girls to get into technology. The primary aim remains that we support women in technology in whatever way we can, through networking, etc.”
Iqra Syed, Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG) Service Project Manager and former IUPUI student, was one of the company representatives who attended the event and spoke with attendees about her experience.
“It was great to see so many women show up and network with one another,” Syed said. “It was also great to speak with representatives from other companies and organizations too.”
From her own experiences, Syed knows how difficult it can be to be a woman in a male dominated profession.
“I think that a lot of times girls will have a level of imposter syndrome where they are told by men ‘well I can do it better,’ but they should still put themselves out there and see what happens.” Syed said.
Reedy has also faced some challenges in her specific work in the field, although slightly different from Syed.
“Thankfully I am in design, so design studios have a good ratio of male to female,” Reedy said. “But yes, there are times where there are a lot of men. One thing I have found is that, sometimes, when a woman gets promoted as opposed to a man, they will say ‘well she got it just because there might be some reservation or funding reserve’ and not because of her talent. It is very disheartening to hear, because everybody works hard to get where they are.”
In regard to advice, Syed would give to other women who are looking to pursue a career in technology, she had this to say.
“My biggest piece of advice is ‘if it hasn’t been done, why not do it.’ I think a lot of times women are underestimated, or, like in my own education, I was told that I may not be able to do it, but just putting myself out there and doing it was big for me,” Syed said.
Reedy offers similar advice to women aspiring to enter the technology field.
“I would say talk and put yourself out there. It doesn’t matter what others are thinking about you. All that really matters is going and putting yourself out there and being vocal about it saying , ‘yes I need this skill,’ ‘yes I need this job,’ ‘yes I need this task,’” Reedy said.
In addition, the women in tech brunch is just one of several other events they plan to do to support women in technology.
“This year we are more focused on doing networking events. It helps [students] get at least two good contacts that you can go back with and have those fruitful conversations,” Reedy said. “Next semester we are having events during the month of March where it is about women. We are planning to do collaborative events with women in business, again, the same chapter at the university promoting feminism and things related to women.”
For more information about Women in Technology and the events they may be hosting, they can be found on the Spot as well as emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abigail Godsen (she/her) is a sophomore majoring in Applied Information Sciences with a minor in Classics. She is a reporter, podcast co-host and Copy Editor for The Campus Citizen. When she isn’t writing, Abby likes to cook, do crossword puzzles and drink a lot of tea. She can be summoned using tea, cardigans and books (according to her roommate Jackie).