Imagine a software developer. Close your eyes and envision them. What do you see?
Years ago, a study called the "Draw-a-Scientist" test was conducted with 5,000 children. They were simply asked to draw a scientist on paper. Only 28 of them drew a female scientist. While the situation may have improved since then, there is still a severe underrepresentation of women in many fields such as sports, science, business, and technology.
Today, even the most advanced AI systems tend to associate women with certain professions like nurses and teachers, while men are linked to careers like scientists and doctors; mostly because these systems often reflect human biases due to the lack of women's involvement in these fields.
In such a landscape, visible role models can have a tremendous impact on inspiring more women.
It is important to expose women to diverse role models, especially at an early age. Children are first influenced by the people around them, including parents, teachers, friends, and relatives. Later, they look up to influential people in the mass media and on social platforms. People are mostly encouraged and inspired by those who have similar backgrounds and experiences.
As they grow into university students and professionals, they unconsciously tend to choose the fields where they have seen more female role models throughout their lives.
Companies can play a role in breaking these invisible barriers.
After providing a diverse and inclusive environment where everyone can thrive regardless of their gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, or any other personal reasons, companies must also enable and empower their employees to be role models.
At Sievo, we recognize the value of visible role models and have taken steps to increase the number of women who serve as such in our community. This includes becoming a member of Women in Tech Finland and actively seeking out similar collaborations and initiatives in our other locations, such as Bucharest and Chicago.
Through our networking events, student collaborations, and even social media campaigns, we aim to showcase Sievonians with diverse backgrounds and talents. By doing so, we hope to inspire individuals who might not otherwise consider careers in fields where certain groups are underrepresented.
In addition to these efforts, we are planning to launch a mentorship program this year to create one-on-one connections. Such initiatives are also beneficial for current employees since they can self-reflect on their journeys and experience the joy of sharing their inspiring stories with others.
We also know that leadership roles are critical to make visible role model women in the business world. We have discussed what we do and what more we can do to ensure women are being represented in leadership roles in our previous blog post. You can check it out from here.