More women than men lost their jobs because of the pandemic. As the fourth industrial revolution, or the Tech Big Bang, is already happening, women have to jump in, Vida Jonušytė, key account manager at the unicorn tech company Vinted, told CyberNews.
“A lot of things have gender - hair, hobbies, cars, many many things, including jobs and technology,” Vida Jonušytė said during the LOGIN conference where we first met.
When she used to work for a technology company in the UK, Vida kept her hair long and kept experimenting with it. At the time, her experiments kept receiving comments, such as “don’t you think it’s too short?” or “don’t you think it’s masculine?”
These comments made her think about things that are considered to be feminine. Later, Vida signed up for a charity event to support children with cancer, then shaved and donated her hair.
“Literally, nothing changed. No doors were closed, I haven't stopped traveling to my clients in the city of London, and I realized that I don’t receive any more questions. I kept receiving compliments about my style, and it was absolutely wonderful. It was a test,” she said.
The female and male brain might or might not work the same way, but that doesn’t even matter as the Tech Big Bang, or the fourth industrial revolution, is demanding different kinds of skills, and it’s time for women to jump in.
Women lost more jobs
Women have been hit harder by the pandemic and lost more jobs than men did. There have been reports that Hispanic women, immigrants, and young adults were hit hardest by COVID-19 job losses in the US.
As half of the workforce worldwide is female, women have to jump into the tech field to avoid job loss in the future.
“Some people talk about the fourth industrial revolution. It is already happening, we just don’t feel the impact too much, but people will have to change and adapt. Otherwise, technology will push them aside. Women have to jump in. When it comes to salary, technology jobs are well-paid. If we are going to leave women outside, the gap will become even wider, and it’s going to escalate and create new sorts of problems,” Vida said.
Some people talk about the fourth industrial revolution. It is already happening, we just don’t feel the impact too much, but people will have to change and adapt. Otherwise, technology will push them aside.
According to her, a lot of stereotypes still surround women, such as the requirement to be a good mom or to just look good.
“An American survey has shown that people feel different pressure points when it comes to women and men. Men are more pressured when it comes to finances. Everyone expects a man to support a family. Men are expected to be better at what they do - their jobs and careers. Women have to be good mums, and they have to look good,” said Vida Jonušytė.
Is there a way out of this? There is, she reckons.
“In this modern world, it’s not relevant anymore. We have different expectations. We don’t have to pressure on these particular points anymore. People created social norms, and this means people can change them,” she said.
Do you remember BBC interviewing professor Robert Kelly and his kids bursting into the room?
“He was embarrassed, confused, and ashamed. His wife entered the room just like a tornado, trying to collect the kids. It sets a bad example, and it’s programming to keep the pressure on those particular points,” Vida Jonušytė said, amplifying the need for different examples.
It’s a fact that women are misrepresented in the tech field. But it’s also true that technology companies need not only programmers.
A need for different skill sets
“Technology companies are not just developers. There are a lot of experts in different fields - product owners, designers, human resources specialists. Even if there are some differences ingrained, it’s fine because we need different skill sets,” Vida Jonušytė said.
Every day, new job titles are created. Demand and technology are constantly evolving, too.
“It’s fine that you don’t know something, and that you are not an expert. It can be hard at the beginning. A team could consist of three different levels of expertise - a junior, who follows the guidance. Then there would be someone in the middle, who is a good problem solver, and then someone who creates things, who helps the other two contribute to the same goal,” she said.
Let’s say you don’t like technology, and you don’t find it attractive. It’s fine. The same Big Bang is going to push you towards tech-savvy skills. Just explore what that is. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get the most out of this modern world.
In any case, the Big Bang of technology has started, it will accelerate, and all the industries will be affected in one or another way.
“Let’s say you don’t like technology, and you don’t find it attractive. It’s fine. The same Big Bang is going to push you towards tech-savvy skills. Just explore what that is. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get the most out of this modern world. The Tech Big Bang is unisex because we are all in it. We are all needed with different skill sets. And we need to act now,” she said.
Modesty is the enemy
“More than once, I understood that I’d asked for a smaller salary than I could have aimed for. It’s very difficult to guess the right salary,” she said.
Modestly is sometimes an obstacle for women: “I was a woman who tended to be careful so that I wouldn’t lose some amazing job opportunities.”
“Sometimes, the gap between the tech industry and other industries is so big it’s hard to comprehend it. If you are used to a thousand euros per month, you don’t even think that you could get 2.5 times more,” Vida said.
Women don’t trust themselves enough. Also, sometimes family and friends do not support their life and career choices.
“A person is afraid to ask for a big salary in order not to create high expectations. But it’s also true that new positions are being created, and it’s hard to understand how everything is supposed to be,” Vida Jonušytė told CyberNews.
According to her, soft skills will be very important in the future because they can’t be replaced by algorithms.
“Anyways, we all need to be more tech-savvy. And not only at work,” she said.