10th February 2020

Meet three of Civica’s pioneering women in IT

It’s vital we champion female role models to achieve gender equality in IT

Research shows that only a third of female students select STEM subjects in higher education in the UK, with female representation reported to be particularly low in IT at just 3%. These choices are made early on in life, reinforced by gender stereotypes rather than any difference in ability at STEM subjects. So why are there fewer women entering the IT field?

To tackle stereotypes early on, Civica is determined to help young people make informed decisions about their career by championing its female role models¬. For International Day of Women and Girls in Science, three employees at Civica reflect on their roles and what inspired them to enter an IT career.

Meet (from left to right, above) Sushma Shekhawat, Analyst Programmer based in Australia; Áine McCaughey, Senior Software Engineer based in the UK; and Prerna Temkar, Delivery Manager based in India.

What does your typical day look like?

Áine: “My day usually involves a daily stand up with my team in the morning, followed by a prioritisation of important tasks before getting stuck into coding for the day. The day can involve a lot of discussion around implementing solutions, as well as providing support to more junior members of the team. Aside from that, my day often involves liaising with teachers and school staff as part of my role in leading Civica’s Coding for Kids programme.”

Prerna: “My role as a Delivery Manager means that a large part of my day involves co-ordination. My typical day comprises collaborating with stakeholders, team members, and peers, to plan and control the company’s deliverables. Civica encourages a great work-life balance by allowing flexible schedules, so I am also able to catch some lighter moments with my colleagues which helps me manage my busy workload.”

Who or what inspired you to take up a career in tech?

Áine: “My Dad was a huge inspiration to me in my decision to join the technology industry. He worked in tech for many years and most definitely instilled a love for tech in me. His support and guidance throughout my journey has been second to none, and I feel incredibly lucky to have someone like him to look up to. After more than 30 years in the field he is still so passionate about what he does, which is incredibly motivating.”

Prerna: “The idea of contributing to a sector that is continuously innovating encouraged me to join the tech industry. Change is the only thing that is constant in IT industry, and because of this, I am constantly being challenged to learn new things. I love my job in the IT field. Due to the ever-increasing opportunities, the tech industry is both the present and the future.”

Sushma: “I have always been inspired by the different women at various stages of my life. Initially, my mother taught me that building strong relationships with people, and working hard, can get you anywhere. Then when I got to school, I learnt about Kalpana Chawala, a NASA scientist. She inspired me to consider a career as an engineer or scientist, leading me to choose Computer Science as a subject in my high school, which is where I learnt my first programming language C++.

“Following this I joined the Girls Engineering College and started my journey towards a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering. It was an inspiring experience, and provided me with the self-confidence I needed to participate in different programming competitions and workshops, such as Code like Girl – the best part of my student life.”

“After this I started my dream job as a Software Engineer. The most inspiring part of working in this role is that I can see technology making a difference in people’s day-to-day lives. I am looking forward to more women working in STEM, because I truly believe that all women need to encourage each other to consider a career in this industry.”

Why is International Day of Women and Girls in Science important?

Áine: “I was lucky that my Dad inspired me to continue with my STEM education, but women in the industry also need to encourage young girls to continue with STEM subjects after GCSEs and consider a career in tech and science. The focus for International Day of Women and Girls in Science Day this year is on how science and gender equality are needed to achieve inclusive green growth in our global development goals, so we as women need to be breaking down gender biases and helping young girls learn about how fulfilling a STEM career can be.”