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Women In Tech: Resilience Against The Odds.

The future is female, as they say, and women are changing the game even when the odds are stacked against them.

staff contributor

March 8, 2022

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Oumayma Tanfous

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The tech world has long been known for its boys club status, with women remaining gravely underrepresented—only a mere 25% of its workforce is estimated to be female, meaning that women have to fight tooth and nail to establish an equal place among their male counterparts. However, that isn't to say that it can't be done. Here's what three trailblazing young women have to say about empowering themselves to make their mark and change an industry that's long overdue for a gender revolution.

What is the greatest challenge you've encountered as a woman working in your industry?

Sandrine: Not being treated as an equal among my peers. When I first got started in my career, my opinions were regularly invalidated in meetings with colleagues, often followed by forced laughter. I would say that the hardest part was keeping my cool and not doubting myself, despite the invalidating comments that added up over time.

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Sandrine

Lab Technician Specialized in Coding, AI, and Neuroscience

Débora: It took me a while to find my place. Overcoming the fear of being perceived as incompetent or being judged about the way I dressed was not an easy process. Now, I don't feel like I need to act or look a certain way in order to gain authority and credibility.

Adin: I still sometimes (ahem, often) struggle with overcoming imposter syndrome or self-doubting thoughts. I tend to second guess myself and assume that everyone around me is smarter or more accomplished. I just have to remind myself that I've worked hard to get to where I am and that I do belong here.

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Débora

Tech Lead, Computer Vision

What advice would you give to other women trying to break into the tech world?

Sandrine: Set boundaries. Your opinions deserve to be voiced, understood, and integrated within a discussion—never let anyone interrupt you as you're in the midst of establishing your place. Especially in the beginning, it's important to show others how you expect to be treated. Your limits will be well-defined and it'll become second nature for others to respect them.

Débora: Do not tone yourself down in order to fit in. You do not have to be softer, louder, more modest, etc. The parts of yourself that you may criticize are what make you unique and bring more value to your company and to the world than you can imagine.

Adin: Honestly, just go for it. Try a bunch of things and don't be afraid to fail, because things might not work out in round one (or two, or three). The important thing is to keep believing in yourself and not give up.

"You do not have to be softer, louder, more modest, etc. The parts of yourself that you may criticize are what make you unique"

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Adin

Doctorate in Machine Learning (AI) and Coding Pro

If you could pick only one object that represents what you do and who you are, what would it be?

Sandrine: A strong cup of coffee. It's got a bold taste, the ability to fuel hard work, and keeps the energy high and alive.

Débora: My wooden statue. It's a souvenir from my home country, Cameroun, but I also love its aesthetic flaws. The contrast between the two types of wood shows just how beautiful a “defect” can be. The statue's calm pose also symbolizes that even when you run into a problem, everything will work out in the end.

Adin: My laptop and specifically its case—I've sewed on a bunch of patches from national parks that I've visited. I'm really into sewing and am a bit of an eco warrior, so I try to minimize my consumption to upcycle or make my own clothes.

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