Innovation, by its very nature, requires diversity of thought. By and large, women are drastically underrepresented in technology, with less than 30% of workers in technology companies identifying as female. The numbers look bleaker still when we drill down in to senior management and decision-making positions, with many women leaving the workforce temporarily or moving to more flexible, or 'secure' industries with family-friendly cultures.

At Vodafone, we’re proud to offer some of Australia’s boldest initiatives to support employees and foster a culture in which women feel supported and empowered to grow in our teams. From our nation-leading paid maternity leave, to our four-day work, five-day pay return to work policy, we encourage and support women and parents to keep working with us.

We had a chat to some of the bright minds at the helm of Vodafone to share some insights about their experiences in the field, and see if we could glean any insights for grads looking to enter the field…

What was uni like, and what do you wish you’d known as a student?

Aanchal Bharadwaj, Transmission Engineer: Do well in school, but don’t forget to get involved in other activities and life experiences. Having a different personality and opinions gives you a fresh perspective in the workplace. In the end, work is a lot about dealing with different people, and life experiences help with that, maybe more so than what you learn on the academic side of uni!

What did you want to be when you grew up, and how did that pan out?

Maria Quinlan, Head of Commercial Strategy and Governance: When I was a child I wanted to design and build stuff. I got into Dick Smith kits early in high school, and it kind of grew from there. My first job was working on a telco’s AMPs network and then designing sections of their GSM network. I guess I am showing my age! I am not building “stuff“ anymore, but I am really enjoying using my technical experience and commercial skills to ensure we get the best outcomes for our network, business, and customers.

Ivonne Gomez; BSS Planning & Technology Capability Manager: I wanted to be a ballerina! I still wish I’d done something about it because I still love dancing but not it’s too late!

If you could bust one Women in Tech myth, what would it be?

Kelly Tran, Change and Acceptance Analyst: One that I hear is ‘women in tech don’t have managerial roles’ or aren’t taken seriously. While this might be true elsewhere, in my experience in working at Vodafone, many of the women I look up to are in higher positions, managing their own teams and voicing their opinions with confidence. At the same time, they remain approachable and I’m always comfortable enough to ask for advice and mentorship. I find them really empowering and inspirational!

Why did you choose to work in technology?

Kelly: Honestly, when I started studying technology, I didn’t know what to expect or what it would involve – I felt that it would be challenging and new for me, and that it would never be boring. Also, knowing there was a lack of women in technology, I thought I’d challenge myself and get in there and make a difference!

How does being a woman give you a unique perspective or advantage?

Cindy Tan, Technology Strategy and Planning Manager: Women generally don’t have ‘big egos’ in a typical sense, and they’re more open to asking for help and learning from others, which helps us to keep learning. They’re also brave, and help to challenge the status quo.

Maria: Women have a different set of experiences which form a different way of viewing things. It can often lead to innovative or creative ways of solving problems or dealing with people.

Why do we need more women in technology?

Aanchal: Gender diversity drives innovation. Since a large portion of our customer base is the female population, it only makes sense that technology companies try to better understand problems faced by them and create products with the customer at the centre!

What do you love most about your job?

Ivonne: I love being the bridge between Technology and the Business areas and be able to speak both “languages.” It’s given me so much insight to understand both worlds.

Cindy: Knowing that I’m making a difference to keep our business stable. Vodafone has allowed me the opportunity to take on many different roles and challenges with flexibility. I’m especially proud of managing a $10Mil project, turning a failing legacy project around. Now it’s thriving!

Looking to start a career in technology? Apply to our 2017 Graduate Programme

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Camilla Gulli

Editor

Camilla Gulli,
Editor

As Editor at Red Wire, Camilla is particularly passionate about diversity in tech, content marketing, social media, and disruptive platforms.

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