The number of women willing to dive into the Ukrainian IT industry is rising. The industry can gain benefits from them and receive high-qualified specialists accounting for the need for IT personnel in AI, ML, cybersecurity, and data science. But there are a few factors that can make them change their mind. Sergey Tokarev, the Reface investor and Founding Partner Roosh, comments on crucial components to engage more girls and women in Ukrainian IT.
Currently, women comprise approximately 25% of all Ukrainian IT specialists. And this is not enough. Women often encounter unfair judgment when taking steps to enter the IT area and build a career. They are often told that in such a way, they seek a life partner. Also, they are limited in choice and can apply only for an HR or QA engineer. According to Sergey Tokarev, these factors are distancing women from the IT industry in Ukraine and affecting it significantly. It is time to break any stereotype about women in IT. Instead, they can become great specialists and contributors.
Engage women in IT
One of the essential components in promoting women in IT is to raise their interest and help them follow their dream. Sergey Tokarev says that it is possible to achieve this with the help of IT clubs and communities. Girls and women can learn more about IT professions, interact with like-minded people and decide what direction to move on.
SHE is SCIENCE is an initiative created by NGO STEM is FEM. It allows participants to get familiar with the prominent 12 Ukrainian female scientists and their contribution to science and IT, in particular. Olga Perevozchikova, a scientist who created state programming standards in Ukraine, and Kateryna Yushchenko, a programmer who developed a formal language for addressable computer programming, are among them.
Sergey Tokarev mentions another specific community AI HOUSE. It combines ML and AI specialists from Ukraine and other countries who organize training for women. Currently, there is around 25% of women in the IT community. However, the project organizers hope this number will increase very soon.
Educate Future It Female Specialists
Another crucial component is to enhance women’s interest in IT with proper tech education. For example, last year, STEM is FEM launched free IT courses for girls aged 12-16. Such a project allows them to dive into the industry in practice. The initiative was created together with the Swiss organization Empowerment Lab and with the support of Oracle. The courses aim at educating in Data-driven web apps, App prototyping, and Machine Learning. The teaching staff is women working in IT.
In addition, Sergey Tokarev notes the opportunities the SET Univerisity brings up to teenagers. Last summer, it launched a cybersecurity course for both boys and girls; the latter made up 30% of the total number of course participants. The businessman underlies that the university plans to open a scholarship program exclusively for girls.
The entrepreneur believes that favorable educational opportunities can increase the number of women in Ukrainian IT. They can be a great contribution to the industry and the country’s economy at large.