08 Jan Q&A: Women in tech
Sandy Issa, Marketing Manager, Intelligent Security Systems (ISS) for the Middle East, is the only woman on a team of 25. She talks to Security Middle East magazine about how she navigates the gender divide in a tech-orientated sector.
What it is like to be a woman in tech?
Being a woman in tech is one of the biggest challenges a woman can face throughout her career. Some stereotypes doubt their technical abilities, leadership skills or suitability for certain roles.
Despite this challenge, there have been significant strides towards gender equality in the industry and progress is being made as more corporations recognise the importance of gender diversity and work towards creating inclusive environments.
Additionally, and especially in the UAE, many organisations are actively working to promote and support women in tech through initiatives such as mentorship programmes, networking groups and advocacy for equal opportunities. At this level, I was blessed to have been the recipient of three awards recognising me as an ‘Influencer and Innovative Marketer’ across the country.
Why do you think it’s important for more women to join the tech industry?
More women need to join the tech industry to foster diversity, drive economic growth, address the gender gap and mitigate bias. Women embrace innovation and creativity and bring their unique perspectives and ideas to the forefront.
Increasing the visibility of successful women in tech provides inspiration and guidance to the next generation, allowing them to envision themselves pursuing similar paths and unlocking the full potential of technology for the benefit of everyone. Every day we interact with technology in hundreds of different ways and all of those are good reasons for women to grab this opportunity.
How much do you think the industry has changed since you joined it?
Nowadays, the tech industry is becoming an equal playing ground for both genders and we are seeing more women keen to explore careers in technology.
It was by pure chance that I joined the tech industry nine years ago. I have encountered few structural and cultural barriers, even though I was working in a male-dominated region like the Middle East. But I can assure you that the industry has changed for the better and thankfully, many women are coming forward to make these changes happen.
Throughout my career, I have had the chance to work with incredible women who have contributed to the growth of their organisation.
How and why would you encourage other women in the tech sector to gain visibility?
Encouraging women in the tech sector to gain visibility not only benefits individuals but also promotes an innovative tech industry for everyone.
Digital platforms are the best means to embrace this visibility through highlighting achievements and sharing expertise which will help every tech woman establish herself as a thought leader in the field.
Additionally, many organisations are arranging networking events specifically designed for women in tech where they can connect and build strong relationships and to celebrate the accomplishments of these women through awards, recognition programmes and media coverage.
Find out more about Sandy Issa and the work she does at www.issivs.com/