In computer science, what is the place women occupy? On International Women’s Day, I wanted to give the keys to the blog to my female colleagues who make up the PRIM Logix team, asking them to share their experiences and their points of view, as diverse and rewarding as they are.
Every March 8, women are honored on an International Day established to recall the struggles, political and social, waged to recognize them a place and rights like those of men in our societies. But what about the workplace? What is it to be a woman in a “boyish environment”? Should we specifically highlight March 8 in our businesses?
A few weeks after having told the story of Isabelle, founder and co-owner of the company, let’s introduce Genevieve, Laura-Ann and Melissa in the spotlight.
How long have you worked at PRIM Logix and what is your role?
Genevieve : Since January 12, 2015! I am responsible for accounting, payroll, and Human Resources. I have gained my experience over the past 20 years in my father’s family business.
Laura-Ann : I have been working at PRIM Logix for almost 3 years now. I am a software integrator, SQL expert. I am a programmer analyst by training, with nearly 25 years of experience in developing software of all kinds.
Melissa : I have been working at PRIM Logix for 2 and a half years as an integrator. This job was kind of a change for me as I had previously worked for 15 years as a programmer. I made this change first and foremost because of my family reality but also because I like to have diverse tasks.
A quarter of the PRIM Logix team are women: is that enough or not in your opinion?
Genevieve : Unfortunately, that is not much, because in my opinion women bring a more collaborative vision and an approach based more on mutual assistance and listening to clients. This is essential in a more technical field which, initially, tends to be done alone.
Laura-Ann : It is never enough! But the ones we have here are exceptional!
Melissa : In my opinion this proportion is correct. It is neither too much nor not enough: in reality, it is not a criterion of importance that influences my choice when I choose a job.
“In 25 years, I have rarely worked with more than one woman on my team. Most of the time, I was even the only one!” – Laura-Ann
We often hear that computer science is a “guy’s environment”: is that your point of view?
Genevieve : Yes, there seem to be more guys than girls doing this job.
Laura-Ann : Yes, absolutely! In 25 years, I have rarely worked with more than one woman on my team. Most of the time, I was even the only one!
Melissa : Yes and no. In fact, that’s kind of one of the reasons I turned to computer science studies: I have always liked working in a field that is more masculine than feminine. However, in my experience in CEGEP when I was studying programming, there were already more and more women in the field. Still, there were almost a dozen of us in our class, of which about half had completed their course.
“We should highlight the contribution of women in these professions through the values and the vision they bring to show that this type of profession precisely needs women. ” – Genevieve
If so, how do you feel about this idea? Do you think we can change mentalities?
Genevieve : I think we must go beyond preconceived ideas, to meet these women to know their work and promote their achievement … This implies reaching women through an approach that speaks to them, to inform them about this profession. Perhaps more technical and lonely jobs like computers are less attractive to women, who prefer more social and mutual aid jobs. The contribution of women in these professions should be highlighted through the values and the vision they bring to show that this type of profession precisely needs women. A good way to achieve this would be to have strong female role models to be able to recognize themselves: to evoke the women who exercise this profession, what they bring to it, their influence on their environment and how they see it evolving.
Laura-Ann : I think there should be even more promotion of the computer science field among young girls. It would certainly be a good way to shake things up.
Melissa : As I said, I have always felt more comfortable in a field where there were more men than women, because I have always had more hooks with them. However, I have met several women here that I am happy to work with: they look a lot like me and have a personality type that matches mine.
March 8 was International Women’s Day. Is this a day to be celebrated in the workplace?
Genevieve : Yes absolutely, I would even say that it is essential in a so-called “traditionally male” environment. International Women’s Day is a day to become aware of and be grateful for the contribution of women in society over the centuries, it shows women as pioneers and creators, sources of inspiration to evolve and transform their working and living environments.
Laura-Ann : For me, it is obvious! The path women have had to walk and the path they still must achieve to this day both deserve to be highlighted at least once a year!
Melissa : Honestly, it is not a day that I think should be celebrated at work. I am aware that this day represents all the evolution women have gone through in the labor market, but I do not think that this should necessarily be emphasized in the company: men as well as women carry out their work daily, and these do not necessarily have a day to underline it. Rather, we should celebrate days for each function held in the company: integrators’ day, programmers’ day, etc. This concept would appeal to me more!
“We should celebrate days for each function held in the company” – Melissa
Finally, if you could go back in time, and send a message to the little girl you were, which one would it be?
Genevieve : To always follow your heart and your passions in life. To go for it, even if our dreams seem bigger than us, because nothing is inaccessible when we always do our best and put in the effort.
Laura-Ann : ”Do whatever you want and go for it! Nothing and no one can stop you except yourself. Trust me: we did well all the same!”
Melissa : To make choices like those I made for my course of study and my professional choices. That is, to take my place and move forward with conviction in an area that fascinates me.