The European Women in Technology conference took place at the RAI Amsterdam, on the 28th and 29th of November 2018. The conference is the largest women in tech conference in Europe with over 4,000 participants from across the world. We, Katharina and Ine from Osudio, were happy to be part of this inspiring event. Two days tech talks and inspiring speakers, and of course… all females. Who doesn’t want to be part of that? To quote every single of the female speakers would go beyond the scope of this blogpost, but let’s sum up the most inspiring lectures of them.
We, women, had to go a long way to become as independent and strong as we are now. Jennifer Beecher, Head of the Leadership and Development team at Zalando informed us that, in 1986, a man named Lord DeVader (this name can’t just be a coincidence!) made a survey about the typical characteristics of leadership. From today’s point of view, the results of his survey are both terrifying and scandalous in the same way. The 3 main characteristics which became evident from his survey about leaders were:
Well, obviously, women would not be able to conform with these abilities. Today, we can positively invert the weight of being a woman in tech: In a field dominated by men, we do stand out in the crowd. People might notice us not only by performance, but by presence as well.
Let’s build on that. The only thing we women must do then, is to stand our ground and claim our space. Even if we are outnumbered. We should not let us, and our opinion, be pushed aside. This might be hard to initiate and there might be some rejection, but keep in mind: A rejection of an idea is not a rejection of the thinker. Also, stepping out of your comfort zone always scary in some degree. Learn to convert that fear into the drive to do it nevertheless. The more often you do it, the easier it should get!
But is that all? No, it’s not. We need fellows while working on inclusion through diversity. For example:
At the start of the day, there was an issue with Ine’s registration. It appeared that our boss, Luc Box, had registered his own name instead of hers while buying a ticket. At first thought: Why would there be men at a Women in Tech congress? Luciana Broggi, EMEA GM of Hewlett Packard Inc. answered that question when she directly asked one of the male attendees in the audience why he attended the event. He answered by saying that, being head of a tech company with only few women, this had been a means of educating himself about being inclusive and mainly attracting more female employees. Luciana answered by saying ‘It’s great to be talking more about diversity but I look forward to the day when we don’t have to, as it will be the norm.’
Natasa Jovanovic, Sr. Project Manager at TomTom, presented her point of view regarding progression through inclusion. We are now looking for fellows on our road to diversity. We need to support other women, but we also need to support men which are open for diversity. Their task will be to help us make diversity become the rule rather than the exception and certainly ban all stereotypes.
Though most importantly: We are responsible for raising the generation D. Let us teach our children diversity in an early stage and let us raise our girls to remain strong, independent and self-confident. Make them believe that, if you are good (or not good) at something, it isn’t because of gender attribution, it’s simply because of the general diversity of abilities.
Olivia Schofield, Motivational Speaker (“Be ‘Boldy’ You”), was by far the most inspiring and enthusiastic speaker in our opinion: She taught us how to effectively integrate into a male-dominated working environment. Things got comical when comparing typical male and female behaviors in a means to point out to what degree we think and act differently. She made us realize that there is a need to stand out and literally think about how you stand. Stand confident, be confident, be ‘boldy’ you.
These two days were packed with speakers and we unfortunately couldn’t attend all of them.
We got a chance to experience the empowerment and strong, positive vibe during the European Women in Technology conference, and we recommend this event to all women in the field of Technology. You will certainly become inspired to embrace female involvement in tech, what you might potentially already be part of. Don’t let your insecurities get in the way of your goals.
So be confident, take your space and don’t forget to be awesome!
By Ine Dewil (BE) and Katharina Czerner (DE).