International Women’s Day signals a time and space for everyone to focus on both the achievements of women and also what steps need to be taken to reach gender equality.
This year’s theme, Balance for Better, highlights the importance of gender balance across the board. With one of the most male-dominated areas being tech, I interviewed Bhavisha Patel, Product Manager at Unibuddy.
What does the International Women’s Day slogan, #BalanceforBetter mean for you in your work life?
Diverse teams produce better results. A diverse team will contribute with varied perspectives and experiences on the products we are building. These in turn are used by a diverse group of users. Balance means we create a better product.
Why did you choose to become a Product Manager?
I’m fascinated by how technology powered solutions can improve how we do everyday activities whether at home or at work. I wanted to have a hand in that!
In your opinion, why is it important that more women go into tech?
They need to be there to represent the user’s voice. Over half the population is female so it makes sense that women contribute to shaping products that are used by them!
Another reason is to inspire the younger generation that they too can work in technology. Technology isn’t something that men are better at than women. There are a lot of stereotypes placed on both men and women growing up which affect our choices. My careers adviser at school suggested I look into becoming a secretary. I obviously ignored him!
What advice did you receive early in your career that has stayed with you?
To be honest, early in my career I wasn’t on the ball enough to ask for advice. Now I know better!
One piece of advice I’ve received recently from a past manager was to be brave. A friend reminded me that I’m to hired to share my opinions so if I don’t, I’m actually not doing my job. So now, I voice my ideas, concerns etc to benefit my team and company without being afraid of them being rejected.
What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting a career in tech?
Take time to learn new skills in both tech skills and soft skills like communication, which is really important in tech.
What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women?
I think the gender pay gap is a big issue. We already know that there is a difference in how men and women negotiate their pay. It’s important that employers and recruiters are aware of these and change the way they work. It’s also important for men and women to start supporting each other and sharing how much they earn, often women just don’t realise that they are being paid less than their peers for doing the same job.
Can you tell me about a female role model who has inspired you over your career?
My QA Line Manager at MOO, Alex Fisher, had a very approachable style of leading. She provided support and encouragement in my career ambitions that gave me confidence. I remember thinking to myself when and if ever I’m a manager I want to lead like her!
How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?
There is an abundance of roles for every woman, not just one. Women need to help each other out to achieve more balance in the workplace. To me that means women providing their peers and juniors with the advice and support when they ask for it and being the well wisher of women on their way up even if that means becoming more senior to you. With more women in leadership roles we’re more likely to achieve balance in the workplace.
Connect. Belong. Succeed.
Unibuddy helps students thrive through sharing their experiences, effortless technology and the smart application of data.
Together, the platform and student ambassadors provide an outlet for an institution’s authentic voice, a ready stream of content, and a deeper insight into the market’s motivations.
We’re working with 100 institutions across the world, and our partners have seen the platform optimise conversion throughout the student application cycle, from lead generation all the way through to enrolment. www.unibuddy.com