To mark international women’s day 2022, we want to highlight some of the women working in men dominated areas, such as Technology. In FINN we’re always working towards creating a diverse culture, which of course includes obtaining a healthy gender balance.

In this regards, we’ve had a chat with some of FINNs developers regarding their life path of technology but also their view of gender balance in the field. Please see their thoughts and what messages they would like to share on a day like this.

Meet the Techies

Some of the many talented women working in FINN Technoloy. From the left: Shifteh Sherafat, Siddise Hirpa, Martine Trulsrud, Beate Boger and Ankita Meshram.

Martine Trulsrud, Frontend developer at Transaction Journey Torget. Worked in tech for 6 years.

Siddise Hirpa, Fullstack developer in New Construction — Worked in tech for 3,5 years.

Beate Boger, I work with developing and maintaining FINNs data warehouse. I’ve been in tech for four years.

Shifteh Sherafat, Full stack developer in AdContent. Worked in tech for 4 years.

Ankita Meshram, Frontend developer in FINN. Worked in Tech for 9 years.

What do you like about your job?
There is just soo much to mention here, as I really feel like I have the best job in the world, says Martine. I like the part where I’m in the focus zone in front of my computer, with a cup of coffee, digging into detailed coding problems like it was a puzzle game. I like discussing the visuals with designers, how we think the users might react and behave. I like watching user tests, and realising how other people’s brains work totally different from mine. And I like being a part of my team, having fun together while also creating stuff that will make life better for the users!

I used to think that you have to be a certain type of person to be a programmer, and I was not sure if I would fit into the requirements with my visual brain, Martine continues. But there really is a big value in developers who can think about problems in different ways, and together the team will have a broader spectrum of knowledge and abilities.

What I like, adds Shifteh, is that I get to use different modes of thinking like abstract, deep, technical etc to create solutions to complex problems. Oftentimes in a collaborative process. Being in a team setting with great colleagues makes it much more enjoyable as well.

What women support and inspire you on your career path?

I am grateful to reciprocate support to and from former and current colleagues and others in the field, friends and family, explains Shifteh. Thankfully there are contemporary women voices of strength in the public sphere too, one being Christin Gormans. In last year’s discussion on the gender imbalance in tech, she was the first to introduce a much needed sanity check that was completely missing in the discussion up until that point. And many followed suit.

For me, says Ankita, I can think of my MAA (mom in hindi) immediately as I hear this question. My mom, due to circumstances, couldn’t work and has been a housewife. But the level of support I got from her in everything I did, do and decide is supreme to me. Wherever I am today is of course because of my deeds but couldn’t have been possible without her support.
Talking about women who inspire me, it’s a looooong list, continues Ankita. I get inspired by women (or people) around me, women I listen to or like to watch. Women doing and achieving things that I don’t have but wish to have, inspires me. It doesn’t have to be huge like being a perfectionist at something but even a personality trait or a good habit of theirs inspires me to learn it from them.

My mother will always stay at the top of that list, tells Beate Boger. My mum has been programming her whole career, and has worked in a variation of industries. Her experience along with her genuine interest in my career is invaluable. Otherwise I was lucky to have two female ex-engineers teaching maths and physics in high school. They took us to Tekna events and arranged a trip for the “girls and science” group to meet female MSc students at NTNU. Today I am inspired by colleagues from FINN, previous jobs and friends. I always find it extra inspiring to talk about careers with other women.

What gender-specific challenges, stereotypes, or barriers have you had to overcome during your career?

Unfortunately, I have had some experience like this, says Martine. I was once in an interview process with a company of only male employees. At the end of the process they warned me that I might have to work extra hard to gain respect from the other developers, because I was a woman. Fortunately, I had multiple offers and joined a company with colleagues who would cheer me on, and never felt that I had to be «one of the boys» to fit in.

What motivates you to explore more?

The feeling of improvising and becoming a better version of myself day by day motivates me, tells Ankita. It can either be learning something new or solving a complicated bug in the code, everything that gives me a sense of accomplishment is my driving force.

It feels great to look back in time at your own self and appreciate the progress you have made as an individual in a big world full of opportunities.

What’s your International Women’s Day message?

For me, says Siddise, I am used to hearing stories about people who got into technology because of a lifelong passion of tinkering with electronics or gaming. I am not saying that those interests are negative in any way, but I used to be terrified that they were a requirement and that I just didn’t have a space in the field with my differing and ongoing relationship to technology.

The previous paragraph is just a very small example of how the lack of perspectives could make someone feel invalidated in the field, continues Siddise. But the truth is; technology is a field that is and can be part of every aspect of our lives, and therefore requires every perspective. A long history of neglecting and suppressing women in a patriarchal society has caused us to lose many of these stories, and not only in tech. I wish for all of us to not only acknowledge this great tragedy, but work against it. For everyone on International Women’s Day; listen, lift and engage with the stories of the women around you.

For me it is important to tell you that I want all of us to be conscious as human beings, explains Ankita. Instead of pointing out the differences among us we should be more accepting. Everyone is unique as an individual but what’s common among us is the lifecycle, environment and basic needs to survive. So I wish all of us to work together as humans to make it a better place for every creature on this planet.

How can men get more involved?

I wanted to answer this question, says Beate, because — to be honest — early in my career I was not too concerned with gender balance myself. In time I have learnt that differences in how we are treated affects how we perceive ourselves and our opportunities in life — as well as our actual opportunities. My interest was especially sparked by taking a gender bias test — which I think everyone should try. Although I was disappointed with my results at the time, this awareness has meant a lot to me. Having good intentions does not mean you will do the right things by default. My general advice is to be curious, and seek information. It is impossible to fully understand the experience anybody else is having, but understanding the current situation, and how we can improve is achievable through reading. Look for content produced by women 🙂