Women in tech: An interview with an IT Expert

International Women’s Day is here, and at PCA Predict, we are very excited to be celebrating the amazing achievements of women around the world. To get a better insight into what the world of tech is like for females, we spoke to Manisha Mistry, 3rd Party Manager at Fujitsu UK & Ireland.

Is tech an area in which women are starting to be taken seriously?

Definitely! Despite my relatively short career within the IT industry, I have seen a major turnaround in the number of women in senior roles or in positions of leadership. This in itself is a massive achievement for women and a huge encouragement for me personally as someone just starting out in business and to all other women across the sector.

How do you see the future of tech for women?

The future of tech and IT is forever changing and the need for variety means women have an equal footing, if not an advantage over some male counterparts, due to having alternative approaches to solutions, different mind-sets and working practices, which can shape leadership and direction quite radically in many circumstances. There is power in diversity and companies who harness this ‘female power’ can achieve so much more!

When did you first start working in IT?

I started working in the IT industry in 2012 as an apprentice at Fujitsu, beginning as a Project Coordinator and progressing into my current role as a Service Delivery Manager in 2017.

What was it that drew you to this particular profession?

Being part of the IT and tech industry has always been something which has interested me due to being an area with countless expansion options, so when the opportunity to apply for an apprenticeship with one of the largest IT services companies in the world came up, I couldn’t pass up the chance. In terms of my actual profession, I didn’t, and still don’t know, what I want to be when I ‘grow up’, however, I’m taking every opportunity and trying to absorb every experience, so I not only achieve the best for myself, but for future generations of women from all backgrounds and ethnicities.

Traditionally, the tech sector has been male dominated. Is this changing?

Absolutely! There are so many amazing women across the industry, from start-up organisations to established global companies, acting as role models for younger girls and women. These women are helping to change the shape and feel of the sector in a dynamic and progressive way. This teamed with greater emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in education for all age groups will definitely see the male dominated sector become equal.

What can tech and ecommerce companies do to close the gender gap?

By recognising that women and men are assets and not discriminating based on gender, helps to create an equal playing field for all; offering equal pay, removing “pink collar” jobs and by eradicating tokenism in business will support aims to reduce the gender gap – this can be applied to any industry and sector. Creating sustainable partnerships with STEM organisations with female role models working with education providers will help reduce segregation in IT occupations, contributing to improved parity regardless of gender. Also, having a structured work experience programme for young people will provide an insight into in the field and support career aspirations through showing a range of people in tech-related roles.

Are there any particular women in tech who you look up to?

There’s a fantastic quote by Maya Angelou which I take guidance from in line with all the supportive people I have in my life, including work colleagues, family, friends, and, importantly, my parents, which reads “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” At Fujitsu, there are a host of inspirational women creating positive change at all levels, from ground level work to senior VP’s, and having the chance to work and learn from these women is a privilege. On top of this, the creation of the Women’s Business Network at Fujitsu, sponsored by Wendy Warham, are taking action to close gender imbalance and establish an inclusive culture, including pay gap, under-representation of women in senior positions and career progression, are massive role models for women and men everywhere.

While I take inspiration from a variety of women and men in IT and other industries, I come from a family of strong women working in various industries including Consumer Healthcare (Anupa Mistry, Regulatory Affairs Manager), Regulations (Naina Mistry, Commercial Director) and Utilities (Hema Mistry, Digital Technology Services – Head of Planning) – these women whilst foremost being my aunts they also motivate me to be a better individual and to achieve more for women, not just for me but for all women.

Are there any particular tech groups that you participate in? What does that consist of?

I am part of the Women’s Business Network at Fujitsu promoting women in roles at all levels whilst creating an inclusive culture.

Also, I am a co-founder of the group Zahara Women promoting BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnics) leadership and success in all sectors and industries. This is predominantly a social media group promoting opportunities, events and news articles relevant to the community.

As well as this, I mentor young people between the ages of 18-24 as part of the UpRising Fastlaner’s Programme, helping them to gain an understanding of the IT industry and supporting them in their careers aspirations and employability.