The Ukrainian IT industry has undergone changes in lacking professionals and accepting more female specialists in the last decade. As a matter of fact, many women are getting interested in IT professions, and the industry doesn’t have to obstruct them. Today, women count around 25% of Ukrainian experts, and the third part of leadership is made by them. The IT entrepreneur, Founding Partner Roosh, and Reface investor Sergey Tokarev spoke it’s time to break IT stereotypes and help Ukrainian women contribute to IT.
Women have been oppressed for wishing to become IT specialists. They confronted fears and rejections, stating they were not for IT. Sergey Tokarev highlights that it’s high time to change the situation as women might bring great potential to Ukrainian IT development. Considering the shortage of IT specialists in AI, ML, and cybersecurity, particularly, women can fill the gap and help the industry grow.
The main reason for oppression is the stereotype formed for decades that IT is a man-focused industry. Women are told to choose the way of an HR or QA tester, considering they are looking for life partners. But such an assumption is wrong. Sergey Tokarev notes the importance of providing thematic clubs and proper education.
“To solve this problem, it is necessary to create thematic clubs and communities. This way, every girl interested in IT can find a role model in this profession and can turn to like-minded people for advice or support,” says Tokarev.
Creating projects to let women learn more about IT is a good idea. For example, NGO STEM is FEM launched an initiative SHE is SCIENCE that displays the story of 12 prominent Ukrainian female scientists. Some of them made a significant contribution to IT: Kateryna Yushchenko, a programmer who developed a formal language for addressable computer programming, and Olga Perevozchikova, a scientist who was engaged in creating state programming standards in Ukraine.
According to Sergey Tokarev, this is an excellent approach to letting schoolgirls know more about technologies in practice and helping them find their way into it. For example, the initiative STEM is FEM organized free IT courses for girls aged 12-16 on App prototyping, Data-driven web apps, and Machine learning. They were launched in partnership with the Swiss organization Empowerment Lab and with the support of Oracle.
Once schoolgirls define they want to grow in IT, they must get a proper education. For this reason, SET University was created last year. The institution opened courses in cyber security for both boys and girls. Schoolgirls took 30% of the total number of participants. In addition, the Reface investor added that there is a great demand for It among girls.
Another crucial part of supporting girls to reach IT is attending thematic clubs and communities. This helps them build their career. Sergey Tokarev names an initiative AI HOUSE that gathers Ukrainian and foreign AI and ML professionals. This community organizes training courses for IT females as well.
The Roosh founder believes that providing IT education and involving girls and women in specialized communities will cover the IT personnel gaps and bring fruitful outcomes in Ukrainian IT.