OpEd: International Women’s Day – A Student’s Perspective

Dana Schwartz is a senior at Miami University, and a valued intern at Avionos.

Let’s face it – the workforce, especially in the tech industry, is still dominated by men. With some of the most recent workplace conversations making major headlines, it is no surprise that there is some slight hesitation and angst for younger women about to take those first steps into the workforce. As an upperclassmen college student, I can confidently say that from time to time, those thoughts have crossed my mind.

Yes, some of the stereotypes are true. My classes are mostly guys, my professors are mostly men, and people still have a pretty stunned look on their face when I tell them I am an Information Systems major with a focus in computer science and blockchain technology. But if you ask me, it’s only made me THAT much more powerful. There might be a stereotype of what a women in technology looks like, but I do not fit it… and that’s part of my super power.

People have said time and time again that being a woman can put us at a serious disadvantage in a space like this. I have found it to be quite the opposite. It’s a really exciting time to be a woman in the workforce, especially in the technology industry.

Not only are we seeing more and more women taking leadership positions, we are also seeing women coming together to build one another up. Even the men are getting in on it! At my university, I feel nothing but motivated and inspired by my male professors. Walking out of interviews, I have a sense of pride knowing I was nothing like what they expected me to be. I walk into a male dominated room and know their eyes are on me. Am I intimated? Absolutely not. With all that scrutiny, I’m left with the chance to surprise them. I know what I’m saying will be heard and I am confident enough in my own abilities to know what I’m saying holds value and deserves to be recognized.

As a young woman going through the internship, interview, and full time hire process, I am excited to check the box that identifies me as a female. Now more than ever, companies are looking to diversify. In that sense, being a woman is to my advantage, so why not use it? I am being sought out because I AM a woman!

Naturally, we must consider that not every story or experience is the same, but from my personal experience in the space, knowing my worth and being truly confident in my abilities is what is setting me up for a bright future.

Do not run from the idea of being the only woman in the room. Take it, run with it, and be confident in the fact that you are the ONLY woman in the room! OWN IT! Prove them wrong – Elle Woods style if you will. Sure, there might be some stigma and criticism that goes along with it, but nothing good is ever easy. If I’m being criticized, at least I’m being recognized.

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