Most career advice follows the old chestnut, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
But gender barriers around the tech field persist, limiting young women’s educational opportunities. One family broke through this bias.
Emma Arrigo (pictured, left), associate solutions architect at Amazon Web Services Inc., faced such prejudice during high school.
“We approached the school to ask if I could do IT in year 11, and they said no, that ‘girls don’t do it; they’re not good at it,’” Arrigo said. “They wouldn’t let me do physics either. So I moved school for the final two of high school to do the course I wanted to do.”
Arrigo and her father, Frank Arrigo (pictured, right), senior manager of solutions architects at AWS, spoke with theCUBE analyst Lisa Martin during the Women in Tech: International Women’s Day event. They discussed barriers and levers in gender equity in tech, as well as the diverse future of work.
Amazonians’ desire for action paved pathway to a career in technology
This father/daughter duo, both proud “Amazonians,” shared successes and struggles in Emma’s journey to employment in IT and data science. Rejecting half of the population because of gender stereotypes isn’t exclusive to the technology field, but it could do greater harm in this line of work than in some others.
“Every future job is going to be a tech job. Technology is embedded in everything that we do. It’s really important that kids come through school prepared for that,” Frank said.
Despite challenges in her educational path, Emma found ways around the barricades and has become a mentor and role model for other young women.
“Back yourself, find supporters, whether it be your family or a teacher that you connect with, to support you through these decisions,” Emma advised.
The importance of equality in tech reverberates throughout society, according to Frank.
“The tech industry needs diverse perspectives because it reflects the customers that are using it, because we’re made up of every race and color, creed and gender,” he concluded.
Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the Women in Tech: International Women’s Day event.
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