#ChooseToChallenge: Celebrating Women in Tech this Women’s History Month

March 19, 2021

Happy Women’s History Month! Given this year’s International Women’s Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge, we thought it’d be the perfect time to pause and highlight one of our industry’s most pressing issues: gender equality in the workplace.

About only 25% of the tech workforce in the US is female. A 2017 poll in the Pew Research Center report also found that 50% of women said they had experienced gender discrimination at work, while a mere 19% of men said the same. Not only does the industry remain male dominated, but in 2020, women in tech were still making 17.5% less in wages than men.

There are a variety of factors that feed this disparity, including how toys are often gendered in their marketing to children, damaging stereotypes, which courses women are encouraged to take, along with which degrees (and careers) women thus end up pursuing.

We believe that all in our industry must make a conscious choice to challenge these perspectives, become active bystanders, and do our part within our own organizations to promote diversity. As the numbers show, when diversity wins, we all do.

So, in honor of this particular month, we’d like to introduce you to and celebrate a few of our own outstanding women at Polte. We picked three colleagues and presented them the same five questions to gain insight from their unique career paths.

  1. Who are you and what is your current role at Polte?
  2. What are your favorite parts of your job?
  3. Was there ever a point in your education or career where you felt dissuaded from going into the tech industry?
  4. What do you think can be done to increase the number of women in the tech industry?
  5. If you could send a message to all the young women and girls who are in school and figuring out which career to choose, what would it say?

Janet Jose

A1. I am a former Developer and now a Technical Writer; I wear a lot of hats. I take care of all the technical documentation at Polte.

A2. I like being the voice for the customer, making it easier for them to understand our product so they can easily integrate us into the asset trackers they are building. Most of all, I get to learn every day. There’s never a dry day at Polte.

A3. Yes, about seven years ago, prior to Polte, I took time off to raise my kids during their primary years. Those years are very challenging for a young mother. I think it’s very important that the industry supports women especially at a time when children enter our lives.

I found that even when the industry gives women flexible working hours, excuses can still be made when there’s a possibility for promotion. When this is factored into the balance between family and work, for me, those years were very stressful and challenging. I wish more support was given.

So, in the end, I took a break from work to focus and give time to my family.

A4. I have two answers: first, hirers should not reject a candidate because she has gaps in her career. Second, I feel there should be more focus on paternal leave: when children come into the picture, nobody asks how is he going to take care of the child, so why do you ask a woman?

A5. I have just three words: Just be you!

Be yourself. It’s not an easy path for a woman, so work hard and give your best.

Neetu Raveendran

A1. I am an Electrical Engineer by background, and I work as a Research Engineer at Polte.

A2. If you are willing to take initiatives, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the industry, you have tremendous space to explore and contribute. The tech industry is very dynamic, and there are always challenging problems to solve. I’m so glad that I get to ask questions, learn and do interesting things.

A3. No, I’ve had a passion for Math and Physics right from my high school days. I was fascinated to learn about how technology could help someone from one end of the world communicate with someone on the other end.

I consider myself fortunate to have had support from my family and teachers to chase a career in tech and reach where I am today. Even at this day and age, it is disheartening that some societies consider the ambitions and dreams of women as unimportant.

A4. To encourage more women to join the tech industry, we need to instill awareness and confidence in young women, about the immense opportunities present for growth and achievements. Talks and interactive sessions with accomplished women in the industry can be great morale boosters for young women in schools and universities.

A5. Whatever might be your background or journey, no matter whether you pick a career in tech or not, be confident in yourself, work hard, and persevere. You will get there. If I can, you can too.

Meghana Veeramachaneni

A1. I am an RF Engineer at Polte.

A2. Cellular technology is changing all the time. We are always adapting and having to dig deeper for the optimum solution. These challenges keep me engaged and help improve my knowledge. Working together to face these challenges is something I love and has created interest in what I do.

A3. No. Since our childhood, advancements in technology of electronics, communications, etc., have skyrocketed. Initially, it was just an object of fascination, but soon I realised their potential as my parents explained to me the basics of how they work and their applications. I was intrigued to observe how these technologies transformed the world around me. Thus, I developed a passion for adaptable applications to expand the use of technology and I never felt like giving up.

A4. I strongly believe that one major change we can bring is by providing awareness in people. Not everyone can decide what they want to become at an early age, which is normal. We choose our path based on our interests at the time, which, in turn, are based on what we’ve experienced in our life so far. There are some parts of the world where girls are limited to soft toys and cooking whilst boys are sent outside to explore the world.

We have to show examples of how women excelled in tech industry and the opportunities that are available for everyone. As we create interest in young girls, we are giving them choices which they can explore and perhaps create a passion in the process.

A5. Don’t be afraid to face challenges. Explore and decide what interests you and never give up!

We thank Janet, Neetu and Meghana for sharing their experiences and insights.

“The word ‘female,’ when inserted in front of something, is always with a note of surprise. Female COO, female pilot, female surgeon – as if the gender implies surprise…One day there won’t be female leaders. There will just be leaders.”

– Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and Founder of Leanin.org

For more blogs like “ChooseToChallenge: Celebrating Women in Tech this Women’s History Month,” keep checking our Blogs page here. To learn more about how Polte can leverage 4G/5G cellular networks to track what’s most important to you indoors and out around the world, send us a form here.

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