We interviewed Genevieve Kangurs, Head of Digital Experience and Adoption at TSB on her thoughts and experience on women in tech.
As Head of Digital Experience and Adoption I am accountable for the customer experience across our digital channels and our mobile apps. My team both support the existing digital and mobile service, as well as build new digital products and services working with teams from across the organisation, including Products, Marketing, COO etc. Our big focus right now is ensuring we uplift our mobile capability so that we don’t force our customers into other channels because they are not able to service in their channel of choice.
Despite growing up in a house surrounded by computers and technology (my father was a computer engineer) I’m not sure I ever considered it. Growing up I lacked confidence and it was only over a period of years it slowly dawned on me that I could achieve more than I ever thought was possible. Understanding technology became indispensable for me to be able to do my job well (I moved from operations roles into project management, specialising in building digital products) so I inched my way in over time.
Nowhere close! I was never encouraged to think of STEM subjects growing up and always felt they were beyond my capabilities. My undergraduate degree is in History and Literature, and my master’s is in International Relations.
No – I grew up in an environment and culture where STEM subjects were not encouraged for girls.
Yes, yes and yes! The biggest problem I see is not so much the lack of females in the IT and tech sector as so much more is being done to encourage women to consider a career in IT, but the way in which the numbers of women drop significantly the more senior you become. This has all sorts of implications both for the sector (lack of diverse thinking and experience amongst decision makers) and for those women who are in senior positions.
I see more unconscious bias in assumptions around where you must sit in an organisation because of your gender and find this true or amplified for other factors such as race, class, socio-economic status, and not just gender (privilege is intersectional after all).
I can only speak from personal experience but, in my case, it was about creating the aspiration (this is what you could be) and the confidence (technology is something that you can understand).
If the definition of barrier can be considered to be those in society that have less power and privilege finding it harder, for all sorts of reasons, to be able to survive and thrive in tech then the answer for me is yes.
People in a position of power and leadership (men and women) should be thinking about how their leadership shadow influences the choices of those within their shadow. This can be at the micro or macro level, depending on where you are in your career. Encouraging more women into tech is the responsibility of everyone – from those people who have just started their career in the industry, right up to the policy makers and leaders of our government and industries.
Gosh, I’m not sure I feel qualified to give advice! But the one thing I do always remind myself to do is be curious, so perhaps that’s good advice.