Although they are experiencing progress regarding workplace equality in general, women are still underrepresented in technology-related education fields and jobs. And this is not only visible in just a few companies, but worldwide. According to a study carried out in 2020 by the AnitaB.org Institute, only 28,8% of the workforce employed in a technology-related field is female. This is indeed more than in 2019 (26,2%) and 2018 (25,9%), but still a significant minority. Growing at this pace, it would still take more than ten years for women to be equally represented in the technology industry.
Considering STEM occupations (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in Europe, only 17% of the jobs are occupied by women. In addition to this, only 5% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women. Although the demand for skilled employees in technology is higher than ever, this field still limits itself by neither encouraging enough women to choose a STEM-related field of study nor supporting them to work in a related field after graduation.
Nowadays, companies put more and more emphasis on the inclusivity and diversity of their workforce than ever before. Therefore, we think it is time to give women working in technology a platform to share their experiences and exchange them with others. Networks can help people support and empower each other – and this is exactly what we want to achieve by showcasing success stories of women working in the technology industry at Greentube.
We sat down with three of our female employees working in technology fields and asked them to share their experiences: Sabrina – Master Product Owner and Team Lead Platform Product Management, Verena – SBG Business Development Manager, and Andrea – Head of Risk & Service Operations.
Sabrina: My role has a lot to do with the overall coordination of all platform products and projects that are in the works in our departments. I also make sure the product strategy is aligned and going in the right direction. The main item on my to-do list is to prepare the platform for the future by transitioning it to the planned brand-new target architecture with the help of all the other platform teams.
Verena: I work on coming up with new opportunities to introduce our Server Based Gaming (SBG) product, Greentubes’ Plurius™, to potential customers and partners. In general, that means presenting the product and its potential, clarifying questions and customer requirements, creating offers and coordinating product and feature demonstrations. Together with the Plurius Team (SBG) located in Graz, we bring Plurius™ to the markets. In addition to this, I am currently leading the Luxembourg Market Launch project from the tender phase onward.
Andrea: In our team, we operate multiple Online Casino Platforms in different jurisdictions. Personally, I oversee all customer operations teams and my team (nine teams in Malta and Vienna with around 60 team members, including two heads and eight team leads). We approve pay-outs, verify documents, manage customer contact, monitor suspicious transactions, and a lot more.
It seems there are still a lot of hurdles for women to get their careers started in a tech company/field. We are especially interested in the first steps of your career and if you always thought that you would be working in a tech company/field.
Sabrina: I’m not sure I always knew it, but I’ve definitely always felt very comfortable working in tech companies, especially if my roles included a lot of business tasks as well. I love building bridges between those two areas. I started my career as a developer, so I understand “tech” – but I also wanted to understand the business side of things and the underlying processes. I actually have to “blame” my dad for getting me into this field. He was into computer-related stuff but didn’t really try explaining it to me. So, I decided to attend a technical school to learn how systems work and do programming.
Verena: After 19 years of holding different roles in this business, I can truly say that this is where I belong, and I’m fully skilled at it.
This business offers you the perfect balance between variety and stability, and I am grateful to work with a team of well-skilled, exceptional people – besides that, it is also a lot of fun. I started my education by attending a technical college in Graz (studying Electrical Engineering), but I always intended to work in an organizational unit that focuses on steering and coordinating product lines with direct contact with the respective customer. In addition to this basic technical education, I completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Innovation Management and continued my studies with a Master’s Degree in IT Law and Management. The Gaming industry has always fascinated me, so I took the chance to learn and develop in many areas within this business during the years.
Andrea: No, I never had something like this in mind. I joined Greentube twelve years ago. It was actually a job I held as a student during the last 2 years of studying Comparative Literature and Scandinavian Studies. When I started my studies, I imagined I would be working at a publishing house as an editor of French literature or something similar. When I arrived at Greentube, I was a bit scared, as I didn’t have any technical experience, but at the same time, I was excited to learn something new. A few months before finishing my studies, my manager offered me a full-time position. I liked my job, the field, the company and soon got more responsibility and interesting tasks, so I decided to stay.
You’ve already made your way and proved yourself – but before being so successful in the tech environment, you also faced challenges and obstacles. Can you tell us about the difficulties and challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Sabrina: During my career, I met some men (sometimes even women) who just by default thought (and some even said) that they were not expecting a woman to fill a particular position – reading between the lines, they also didn’t think that a woman could handle it. So, in order to find common grou
nd to work with these people, it was necessary to convince them that I did understand what I was doing. That was sometimes annoying, but fortunately, it didn’t happen too often. Generally, I feel really comfortable working with “techies” – they are usually direct and honest. My other challenges were not gender-related. An example would be that software is usually expected to be delivered faster than it’s actually done (no matter the gender of the project manager or developer).
Verena: I faced a lot of gender-related obstacles while in school. As a woman seeking technical education, you always had to work 150% more to get recognition among men. There was a lot of prejudice back then. In the end, the only thing that helped me was not giving up, trying again and again, and focusing on my goals. Luckily, I didn’t face a lot of obstacles to being a woman in the gaming industry. This kind of business is characterized by diversity and individuality. No matter which challenges you face with your project or product, the different perspectives of a heterogeneous team are vital for solution-finding and therefore highly appreciated. Occasionally, there were some weird situations in which colleagues or customers did not expect me to have experience in and knowledge about topics they were talking about. But after so many years in this field, I do not see or experience any strange behaviour anymore – or at least I am not focused on noticing it. I am mainly focused on our common targets and different approaches for overcoming a challenge.
Andrea: Occasionally, I felt that my technical understanding of solutions was underestimated. When I raised concerns about a solution during a project, I wasn’t taken seriously. In the end, my concerns were right, and the project was delayed because of them. I handled it by approaching the colleagues I felt didn’t take me seriously, and I openly addressed that I thought this was happening due to gender bias. Most challenges I faced had to do with being accepted as a female leader in this field.
Even though you faced these challenges, it sounds like they were totally worth it. How would you encourage other women to choose a technology-related occupation, and what advice would you give them?
Sabrina: I would recommend going into this direction if you desire to work with technology, if there is a fascination with it and passion for it. If you feel that way, then you should definitely go for it – the rest will come naturally. And here’s my advice: ask as much as you can in order to understand what you have to understand. Never give up trying to understand things, and make sense of them.
Verena: If a young woman is interested in technology, I would only say this: go for it and don’t let anybody tell you that you cannot achieve your goals. It is not an easy path, but it is definitely worth not giving up!
Andrea: What I try to do with my older daughter is read her books about female role models. One of our favourite books is “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, which also includes stories about women in tech. I would also tell young women that a job in a technology-related field doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be a developer. There is often this misconception that a career in technology always means being a developer or an engineer, but there is a wide range of other very interesting jobs within the
tech industry. My advice would be this: just go for it and don’t overthink. Nobody fits a job description perfectly; whatever you don’t know, you can learn – and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
What or who else helped you in developing your career? Did you have any strong role models, or were you part of a community?
Sabrina: My role model was definitely my dad, who worked in IT. But he didn’t push me to follow the same path at all – I guess he didn’t even expect me to choose it. I, for one, am not part of any WIT (Women in Technology) community and would also not join things just because of the “gender”. I would much rather join a community because of a topic I’m interested in.
Verena: I did not have a role model, but my main supporters in achieving everything I intended were definitely my parents. I am not part of any in
ternal or external community, but I would love to contribute and be part of such a WIT community. I am blessed to have friends and colleagues that are my supportive “community”.
Andrea: I didn’t have any tech roles models. As a child, I wanted to become a teacher and never considered a career in tech. I have found it helpful to befriend other women in the company or the same field. I am not part of any official community, but I have worked with some amazing women over the past years, and we try to support each other as much as possible.
In your opinion, what are the underlying reasons for the small number of women present in technology?
Sabrina: The numbers are low for sure. At my school, four women and 50 men were in my class. It’s still a fact that we have fewer women in tech than men. But I know the numbers have slightly increased since my school years, and they will continue to grow. It’s time to change the narrative that something is done better or worse because of gender. Women are increasingly interested in holding jobs in the technology field (because the industry is pretty cool!). By not telling them what they can or cannot do, we’re already encouraging them. The rest will follow automatically.
Verena: I think this is because of the social/public acceptance. Most of my female friends are still choosing the “typical” female careers in health care, beauty, etc. But fortunately, in the last decade, one could notice changes in the other direction as well. To increase the number of women interested in working in this field, we could:
Andrea: I believe this starts in school, or even in kindergarten: girls are taught that they are not good at technology, and there are still specific toys for girls and boys. If girls learn from an early age that they cannot do certain things and don’t have any female role models in technology, it’s normal to not develop in that way.
What is the situation like for female “techies” in our company? Would you recommend women to apply for a job at Greentube?
Sabrina: Sometimes, you have to prove yourself a bit more. But I really enjoy working in this field at Greentube, and yes, it DEFINITELY made a difference for me as a woman in tech: I was often the only woman in a team full of men! But I think things have changed in the last few years. People are getting more and more used to seeing female developers and project managers. To be honest, I don’t feel that men and women are treated differently at Greentube. Whoever you are, it is important to be a team player and know your way around your field of work. At Greentube, this will make you feel very appreciated, regardless of gender.
Verena: In the gaming industry, and especially at Greentube, you will meet and work with people who have two things in common: they want to achieve great results, and they have a positive mindset, dedication and respect towards each other. I can recommend working for Greentube, no matter your gender. I think Greentube is doing a lot to make you feel welcome whatever your gender orientation.
Andrea: Even though Greentube is very diverse, I found that men sometimes have it easier than women at reaching certain goals. This has improved a lot over the past years. Sometimes, I had the feeling that I had to fight harder than men to be accepted and for other people to trust my competence. It happened from time to time that I mentioned a possible solution to an issue during a meeting, wasn’t heard, and a minute later a male colleague would bring up the exact same idea and be celebrated for it. On the other hand, this was a good exercise for me to get out of my comfort zone, speak up and stand up for myself. Regardless of these experiences, I would always recommend applying for a job at Greentube. There is still room for improvement when it comes to gender equality (you won’t find a company where this isn’t the case, though), but there are some great initiatives put in place in the company, especially by our HR team. Something I find outstanding at Greentube is how family-friendly they are. Having kids doesn’t restrict you from having a career at Greentube. You will see board members taking breaks to pick up their kids from school, directors working from home to care for their sick kids and other similar situations. This might not seem directly connected with women in tech, but I believe family-friendliness is an important factor for a diverse work environment.
With these three stories, we tried painting a realistic but encouraging picture for all the women out there who aim for a career in the tech field. For us at Greentube, it is important to provide an environment where men and women can be equally successful by setting up relevant frameworks such as equal pay for equal work, maternity and paternity leave options, career possibilities for both genders, and respect and fair treatment of all employee groups.
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