Women’s Equality Day is a special day celebrated every year on 26th August; it highlights the anniversary of women’s suffrage, which was finally adopted in 1973.
As we continue to honour the hurdles that women have overcome to achieve equality in many areas of our society, we thought it was only fitting to chat with our youngest female developer, Sasha Chapman, about her experience working in a male-dominated industry and how she is breaking stereotypes at Orca Scan.
A little bit of context: Meet Sasha
Name: Sasha Chapman
Age: 22 years young
Degree: Theoretical Physics
Current role: Graduate Software Engineer
Orca-Anniversary: 8th August
Sasha has been working with Orca Scan for just over a year as a graduate and has experienced many areas of the company, focusing on engineering and development.
Hi Sasha 👋 Happy Women’s Equality Day! What does Women’s Equality Day mean to you?
Woman’s Equality Day holds significance to me as it symbolises the ongoing struggle and triumphs of women in their pursuit of equal rights, opportunities, and recognition in society.
Why do you think it is important to celebrate this day?
I believe it is important to celebrate this day to look back at how far we as women have come, to remember and thank those who worked so hard to make the advancements we see today. While also taking accountability for where we, as a society, are still falling short.
My university experience was slightly overshadowed by the assumed intelligence of my male peers above my ownSasha Chapman Graduate Software EngineerOrca Scan
What obstacles have you faced in the workplace as a female graduate in tech?
I have been incredibly lucky to have found a workplace where I have never encountered any issues. However, parts of my university experience were slightly overshadowed by the assumed intelligence of my male peers above my own. The first time I felt like this was in my very first tutorial group. There was one man and two women (including myself) in this tutorial. When the other woman asked about the lecturer’s research, the answer was directed solely to the other man in the room.
Next, we were given the task of answering a mathematical question. I was given a very basic question compared to my male peer, and when I answered my question correctly, the lecturer said, “I didn’t think you would be able to do that”.
This type of bias made me and my female classmates feel lesser than the men throughout our studies, as it was a recurring theme in lectures.
Is it challenging working in a male-led environment?
As previously mentioned, I have been very fortunate to work with a group of men who have never made me feel out of place for being the only woman on the team. However, I do completely understand that this is not a universal experience and think more should be done in workplaces to bring attention to sexism and unfair treatment.
What do you think employers can do more to support women’s equality in the workplace?
Continuous and varied representation of women in technology is important to break the stereotypes of it being a male-led profession. Ensuring equal access to opportunities such as projects, promotions, and skill growth is available to both men and women.
I have been very fortunate to work with a group of men who have never made me feel out of place for being the only woman on the teamSasha Chapman Graduate Software EngineerOrca Scan
Who has inspired you to pursue your career in engineering?
I didn’t have an interest in technology when I was younger. I did my degree in theoretical physics, where the only coding I did was for basic mathematical modelling. I left university without knowing what career I wanted to pursue, but then John (CEO of Orca Scan) offered me an amazing opportunity to become a graduate software engineer where I could learn while working. I was given access to a three-month training course and then moved around different areas of the company to find what I enjoyed most. I learned so much in my first year and had fantastic support throughout!
How can employers inspire and empower other young women who want to work in this industry?
To support and propel the female staff in this industry, proper support and representation are important to create a welcoming environment for young women. Facilitating networking opportunities for young women to meet established professionals to help build a supportive community can help make women feel involved and important without highlighting the downfalls of a female lacking space.
What advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?
Don’t focus or compare yourself to your peers, as everyone works through things at their own pace.
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
My favourite thing about my job is the ability to grow as an engineer in an incredibly supportive environment whilst having the flexibility to gain life experiences through remote work from all over the world.
If our interview with Sasha has tickled your fancy, and you’re interested in working at Orca Scan contact us today with your CV, or check out our job opportunities, and let’s talk business! 📩🚀