“If She Can See It, She Can Be It.”
Role models are crucial when it comes to engaging women in tech. The book “IT Girls. Wie Frauen die digitale Welt prägen” shows diverse female tech careers.
Women shaping the digital world
A tech career still doesn’t seem attractive or feasible for many young women. That doesn’t have to be the case, states Christiane Noll, Managing Director of Avanade Austria. She spoke with 18 outstanding women in tech, from academia to start-ups and industry leaders. Their stories are presented in the book “IT Girls. Wie Frauen die digitale Welt prägen” (IT Girls. How Women Shape the Digital World), published by Molden Verlag. Martina Lindorfer and Ina Wagner from TU Wien Informatics are part of it.
At the book’s launch event on April 28, 2022, Margarete Schramböck, Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs, emphasized the importance of role models for the next generation to embrace the IT sector. Noll’s book does not depict these role models as superwomen but reveals their struggles, detours, and success: “I want to show young women that you don’t need to be a prodigy, or choose the “right” career from the start. Inspiring women in tech are diverse, and lead everyday lives not so different from theirs.”
“To see what holds the world together –”
Not only Goethes Faust was on a quest to get to the core of things. Since her childhood, Martina Lindorfer has been interested in how things work, “tech surrounds us every day, and I wanted to get to its roots.” Lindorfer is now Assistant Professor at the Security and Privacy Research Unit at TU Wien Informatics, Hedy-Lamarr Price awardee, mentor, and advocate for women in IT.
When she first got in touch with informatics at school, her teacher stated that informatics was “not for her”. But Lindorfer would not let herself be deterred, studying Computer and Media Security at the University of Applied Science Upper Austria and earning her Ph.D. in Internet Computing at TU Wien Informatics. After working at the Computer Security Lab at the University of California, she returned to TU Wien Informatics as an Assistant Professor. Lindorfer is convinced that role models and networks are essential for women in computer science. “Having a female dean of the faculty in Gerti Kappel makes a difference,” she states.
Be stubborn and carry on regardless
Perseverance is a personality trait shared by many successful women in tech. Ina Wagner, renowned female pioneer at TU Wien Informatics, fought many times over, not just for herself but also for the next generation of women in STEM. The now-retired professor of the Research Unit for Artifact-based Computing and User Research is the first female professor at TU Wien to be appointed from outside the university.
Her path to informatics was not straightforward: Wagner earned her doctorate in nuclear physics and became involved with didactics and the advancement of girls in STEM fields early on. “I didn’t fit in, “ Wagner says, “and it took me a long time to find what I truly wanted to do. My advice to young people: Not knowing where you will end up from the start is completely fine.”
Read more about Ina Wagner, Martina Lindorfer, and many other inspiring women in “IT Girls. Wie Frauen die digitale Welt prägen”, published in German.