When I heard about Ladies of New Business and that it was to be held in Zagreb, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew immediately I wanted to be there, for numerous reasons. The conference not only exceeded my expectations, but also provoked me to consider the role of women in the web industry.
First of all, I dived into the digital world and all it entails head-first, so I appreciate all the knowledge, ideas and experience to which I have access. Secondly, I believe connecting with other women in the ICT field could benefit me. And, thirdly, it does bother me that women are, in general, a minority in the field and I felt it was necessary to address the issue.
Highlights of the conference
The idea of the conference was to gather women in the digital industry to discuss the challenges they face in the ICT field as well as their position in that, as it seems, male-dominated world. The official Twitter hashtag of the event, where you can read lots of interesting and some thought-provoking tweets by the participants (some even from the gentlemen), was #LadiesZG. It was wonderful to see so many successful, open-minded, and determined women at the conference listening, sharing experiences and networking.
Many challenges were approached in the discussions where women who are on the top in their companies or their founders talked about their work, professional development, and all other business-related things they tackle on a daily basis. I found addressing the women’s self-imposed restrictions quite significant and valuable.
The gentlemen were not forgotten, either. General agreement was that it’s a tough (business) world for them as well. If a man is not good at what he does, he doesn’t get any respect. The overall conclusion, which was on point with my opinion as well, was that the fear of failure is what paralyzes us the most, male or female.
Here are some of the things discussed that I found inspiring and commendable:
- in order to get to the top, you must be open to a lifelong learning
- be brave and go after your goals
- the most important thing is your attitude, stand, positive outlook, determination, and self-confidence
Women in the web industry
Things discussed at this inspiring conference provoked me to consider the role of women in the web industry, such as myself. It would be idealistic to say there aren’t any gender-based issues, but the field is undoubtedly a great environment where you can advance quickly if you are competent and skillful, regardless of your gender.
The web industry is fast-growing and always in demand for more people, being it developers, designers, project managers, community managers, and whatnot. As a matter of fact, web industry *needs* more women. Web projects require a multidisciplinary approach, multiple perspectives, and different points of view, and can only benefit from having more women involved. The reason is quite simple: almost half of the web users ARE women.
Taking advantage of the opportunities
Being involved in creating web solutions provides you with an opportunity to shape the looks and the content of the web. You can structure the web sites and apps in a way that will appeal to the intended audience and, therefore, improve their UX. In short, you can make a difference in a world-changing business.
What I am saying is, put bluntly:
Ladies, if you want the web to feel and read differently and to fit your wants and needs, engage in the web industry and make a change.
Gentlemen, if you want more women in the field, support and encourage them.
As was concluded at the conference (and I hear it was the same in Ljubljana and Belgrade), a woman can do anything she sets her mind to. So, if your dream job is creating wireframes, choosing the right typography, social media management, or being a tech lead on complex web projects, go for it! The community will be happy to welcome you.