We asked the women of Lucinity to share their thoughts and perspectives, for International Women’s Day 2022, on gender equality and inclusiveness.
Anna Berglind Jónsdóttir
Anna is a developer at Lucinity, focusing on creating and maintaining the intuitive UI of our products.
She’s also an Icelander, “born and raised in a small town in East Iceland called Egilsstaðir.” Thus, her experience is somewhat different, yet still familiar, than those of women in the rest of the world. Iceland is famous for its leadership in gender equality, which many press outlets have covered over the years. Yet, being the “best” doesn’t always mean “good.”
As Anna explains: “The Technology field is complicated and not very welcoming to outsiders. Especially not to women. Women make up around 20-25% of the field in Iceland. But there are a lot fewer women at the top of tech companies, not just at the top - a lot fewer women in middle management as well.” She adds, “When you go to interviews, the interviewers are almost always one woman from HR and then a man from tech. So the visibility is low, and the lack of role models is severe. You do see women - but they are so few that you think, ‘Wow, she must be extra special since she got that far.’ So the feeling you get is men only need to be good to succeed, but women need to be extraordinary.”
Visibility is crucial for women, but the wrong kind of visibility can plague the effort for equality. If women are only seen as “the HR person” at a technology company or presumed to have extraordinary talents just to be seen, then that visibility is toxic.
“I also served on the board for Young Professional Women in Iceland (UAK) for two years: first as a Technical Manager and then as a Vice-Chairman of the Board,” Anna adds. “At school, my strengths lay in STEM. But when I took a test at my school to find a suitable path and got “system analyst,” I had no clue what system analysts do. I just thought of some nerdy MAN working at a computer doing something I knew nothing about.”
Creating role models and positive visibility is a fundamental way to Break the Bias.
As Anna explains, “I like my path, but I wish that I had had more role models or someone to introduce me to the world of software before I was in my twenties, and I sometimes wonder where I would be if I had realized my passion for software earlier. I simply thought I wasn’t welcome, smart enough or just not for me.”
It cannot be overstated how important a role education plays in opening opportunities for women. As Anna observes: “There is now more interest in teaching kids programming. Girls have more confidence in their younger years, and I think introducing kids at a young age to software and programming will deliver us more equality in the field.”