Women in Tech Spring Event
Spring event launches new Initiative at CWRU with engaging panel discussion to share wisdom and advice
The gender gap, although it has improved in the technology sector, still exists in a big way. With female representation in tech still below 50%, Venkataramanan "Ragu" Balakrishnan, the Charles H. Phipps Dean of the Case School of Engineering, reminded the 90 attendees at the Case Western Reserve University Women in Tech Spring Event on April 4, “It behooves us to do everything in our power to bring as many great people to the table as we can. This event, Women in Tech, serves as a small first step towards that.” The Women in Tech Initiative at CWRU has been fully funded by Craig Newmark Philanthropies and spearheaded by Evren Gurkan-Cavusoglu, PhD.
Panelists tackled subjects ranging from the value of college to work-life balance to preparing for careers that do not necessarily exist yet.
From left to right:
Zeynep Erson Omay, Research Scientist at Yale University
Carmen Fontana, Modern Software Delivery Service Offering Lead at Centric Consulting
Stephanie Hippo, Site Reliability Engineer at Google
Audience members had plenty of questions for the panelists; one attendee asked, “Have any of your experiences been shaped by the fact you’re a woman?” Hippo began, “Overwhelmingly people are supportive. Don’t be afraid to fire your boss and move on. Never give those people credit for your success; you succeed in spite of them, not because of them.”
Fontana added, “One of the most refreshing changes I’ve seen is I used to be the only woman around. I felt isolated, but it has become a more inclusive environment. I used to have imposter syndrome because I wasn’t geeky.” Omay agreed, “Things are moving for the better. There have been great improvements.”
With women often pushed into roles that are stereotypically feminine, the panelists encouraged students and seasoned workers alike to speak up, educate when they are able, and take charge.
The reality women in tech face is a gender pay gap and people discouraging them around every corner, but as these three female tech powerhouses demonstrated, the world of technology is heading in a more positive, inclusive direction.