This week, 8th of March, is the International Women’s Day (IWD), and we'll highlight and put our focus on one of the IWD Missons; To forge inclusive work cultures where women’s careers thrive and their achievements are celebrated.
IWD is an opportunity to celebrate the successes that women have achieved but also mark a call to action for accelerating gender parity. To mark IWD 2022 we have asked a couple of female leaders at Quinyx to share their experiences and perspectives of being a female leader within the tech industry.
Can you please introduce yourself?
I’m Emma Modig, I’m 31 years old, and I live in a small town called Vaxholm (outside of Stockholm) with my husband, my 1.5 year old son and I’m the Design Lead at Quinyx! I've spent the past 8 years in the tech industry and during that time I've mainly been focussed on UX and service design.
When you began your career, did you ever imagine yourself having a leadership role?
I think the leadership role has always been a part of who I am. Even though my leadership style and techniques, of course, have been refined through the years! So eventually taking on a leadership role is something I’ve always had in the back of my head but I've never had a concrete picture of how, when and where. I've always taken the path that felt the most intriguing at the time.
Who inspired you to be a leader and why?
I’ve been surrounded by a wide range of leaders with different personalities and leadership styles throughout my career. I think my interest for leadership and people have made me think a lot about how the actions of a leader creates a platform for success (or the other way around). So I’ve always been inspired by the specific qualities of my close leaders rather than a specific person.
As a female leader, can you tell us more about any significant gender related roadblocks you have experienced?
I think I’ve been really fortunate in that I’ve worked with great colleagues and leaders that saw me and my qualities and skills rather than my gender. I’ve been offered the opportunity to practice my leadership skills and eventually been promoted into more senior and clearly stated leadership positions.
Have you seen some gender related patterns over the years about women at work?
One thing I don’t think just applies to women at work - but is something I also see in my private life - is that women seem to be less willing to endorse each other. This is something I see men do a lot but somehow it seems like women don't do it to the same degree.
How do you think we can stop gender biases?
I believe that biases are about one person's limited understanding of something enforced by social structures. So, to me it's about people growing their knowledge and daring to question the current norm. But that is, of course, easier said than done. As humans we have so many qualities, we come from different experiences and backgrounds that shape us into who we are. If you have the understanding that people are unique and that the single factor of gender can't determine your capability of doing something, the gender biases will be thrown to the side.
Why do you think companies would benefit from having more women at the top?
I'm very confident they miss out on excellent and more diversified leadership if they don't.
How can women support other women in their organisations?
As I mentioned before, I believe women can support and lift each other in the eyes of other colleagues to a better extent. I also think that something we could do even more is to invite each other into the important conversations.
Why should more females be attracted to the tech industry?
Because it’s a very exciting industry offering a wide spread of opportunities! Standing outside of the tech industry it can be easy to connect the industry with only very technical roles such as software developer, solution architect etc. But there are so many roles that focus on other main competences such as creativity, phycology, project management, strategy etc. working with the technology as a platform. And despite where your interest lies, I think that the tech industry has a lot to offer.
What do you think helped you the most to make a career as a woman?
I don't think I have done something special in terms of making a career as a woman. But a lot of hard work, having the courage to ask for feedback and learn from it, to share my opinion and being challenged with the purpose to do even better are some key factors I've found to bring me forward.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Just go for it. I can promise it will be scary at times and you won't always know what to do or say but having the mindset “I’ll give it a try” usually works very well. Also try to be humble for the situation you find yourself in, be empathic, if you’re not sure of something, you don’t need to keep up a facade (as a leader you’re not the expert of everything, probably you're surrounded by a lot of smart and competent team members). And, lastly, learn the power of good questions.
Why is IWD important?
A lot has happened in the industry and the world around gender equality in the past decades but we still have a way to go. I don’t think the day itself is what's important but what it encourages. Making sure we bring these questions to the table, getting people in their homes and offices to talk about it and eventually some discussions will turn into actions.