By Jurgita Andrijauskaite, eProcurement consultant, Wax Digital

tech role modelsToday, we’re seeing increasing numbers of women thrive in traditionally male-dominated industries. This is inspiring to see, especially for young female students and graduates thinking about careers in the STEM sectors.

In spite of a host of positive female role models taking on high profile roles, frustratingly it’s still not uncommon to hear tales of women being overlooked for certain jobs or feel they have to prove themselves more than their male counterparts.

In my role, I help businesses resolve their procurement challenges using technology. I work for a software company which is 85% male, and with procurement leads, many of whom are men too. However, fortunately for me, I’ve never experienced any prejudice or unfair treatment as a woman working in a heavily male dominated sector and think women should believe in their own ability to perform a role just as well, if not better than a man.

Any issues I have faced in my career have little to do with these male dominated environments, in fact my biggest challenge has always been my own self-limiting beliefs. I always used to struggle with self-promotion, asserting myself and taking credit for my achievements. The fear of being judged on ‘Who does she think she is?’ seemed very real when I was starting out.

I think men can get ahead more quickly and easily than women in business because they tend to have the confidence to seize opportunities when they arise, take credit for their successes more readily and are not shy to ask for what they want. I think overcoming feelings of doubt is what sets successful women apart. This certainly changed the way I view myself and others.

When I was younger, I feared that I may not be taken seriously and that people in senior positions would not be interested in hearing what I have to say. As I became more experienced and confident in what I do, this fear has faded. I think it is important to realise that powerful men in expensive suits are human beings too and that equality means trusting and treating yourself equally to the way you treat others.

During my career I have been lucky to have been supported by both male and female mentors who have offered me their honest feedback, support and encouragement. They also helped me to understand what both genders have to offer and learned to appreciate the value of diverse teams. Looking at the bigger picture, taking more risks and not letting perfection get in the way of progress are a few of the valuable lessons that I can attribute to my male role models and I am thankful for them.

My advice to any woman who suddenly finds herself working in a male-dominated environment would be to go for it, and not to try and act like a man! If you ever feel that you’re being left out of the ‘boys club’, think where that feeling might be coming from. Trust that there are ways to build strong professional relationships with men without having to pretend that you like football or drinking beer. You can add a lot of value by tapping into your femininity – your strength lies not in being the same, but in being different. Ask yourself what you are truly passionate about and try to bring that to your work. For me it is the human factor – working with people first, technology second. I’m passionate about helping people, understanding human behaviour and nurturing relationships. It takes great people to build technology, make decisions, apply and manage it to get the desired results. Technology is shaped by human interaction, not the other way around. It is people driven.

To more encourage woman into male-dominated professions, I’d like to see more women support each other. The sisterhood can bring about a positive change in gender equality. Women should empower each other, and we should be proud of our unique skills such as flexibility, an empathetic approach, creativity, intuition to name just a few.

Jurgita AndrijauskaiteAbout the author

Jurgita (Gita) is an eProcurement consultant at Wax Digital, an integrated Source to Pay software provider. Prior to joining Wax, Gita worked in global procurement for CEVA Logistics.