#Asia Kerjabilitas CTO Tety Sianipar: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a woman”


Google Women Techmakers 2016 reveal the struggle Indonesian women developers face in the industry – and how to change it


The tech industry has a well-documented gender disparity problem, and this is a phenomenon that is almost universal.

“When I was at the Launchpad Accelerator event, there were 24 people in the Indonesian delegation, but only two of them are women. The same goes with the Indian and Brazilian delegation,” said Kerjabilitas CTO Tety Sianipar during the Google Women Techmaker 2016 event held in Jakarta, today.

The event brought developers and engineers — who happened to be women — such as Sianipar, Winni Septiani (Android Developer at IceHouse), Leonika Sari (CEO of Reblood), and Indra Maryati (Google Developers Grouop Surabaya Manager), to speak of the challenges faced by women in the tech industry and what to do about it.

Though their experiences varied, all of them had faced discrimination at different level, starting from their own peers’ expectation of a female engineer’s capability.

“Men tend to expect us to know everything, such as ‘This is so simple, why can’t you do it?’” explained Septiani.

“People also tend to appreciate the works of male developers even though the results are the same [as female developers’],” she added.

Sianipar also added that there were opportunities that women had to miss simply because of men’s perception of their skills and ability.

“Whenever women ask for help from men, they’ll be like, ‘Here, let me do that for you.’ This might seem like kindness at first glance, but imagine all the learning opportunities that go missing, and the opportunity for women to showcase their skills,” she explained, adding that there were also moments when women had to deal with derogatory jokes coming from male colleague.

Also Read: Isabel ‘Pao’ Barrientos on dispelling myth that women can only make it so far

Even women themselves are not immune to having a distorted view of their own ability.

“There’s a certain paradigm that [working in] startups is only for developers while startups also need other divisions. Programming is also seen as difficult, and that girls will have difficulty in doing it,” said Sari.

We learn more of the role that incubators play in helping startups grow when an audience member (a 17-year-old girl who is in the second year of university) explained her idea to startup a girls-only coding school for high school students.

“Incubators turn the raw [idea] into a mature. As developers we tend to want to create the coolest app possible, but when you’re starting up, you need to see the problem first, before you start working on the app itself,” Sari explained.

For changes to take effect, first and foremost women need to recognise the potentials that they could offer to the world.

“Female developers are focussing more on building for communities. So they don’t just work on something that they are capable of doing [which is their job], but they also volunteer for a cause. It really inspired me to ask myself, what have I done for people?” said Septiani.

In order to tap into those potentials, Septiani stressed the importance of working in a place that supports learning process and personal growth.

The Internet, with its anonymity, also provides plenty of room to grow.

“When I first begin, I was just looking for something creative to express myself with. I started by learning through Udacity. It’s great because when you’re on the Internet, nobody can tell if you’re a girl or a boy, you’re seen as equal,” said Sianipar.

Last but not least, networking and sharing ideas are everything.

“Don’t be afraid to get your idea stolen. Idea is cheap, it is execution that is expensive,” said Sari.

The post Kerjabilitas CTO Tety Sianipar: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a woman” appeared first on e27.

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