International Women's Day: Leading women at RingGo
Today, 8th March 2021, marks International Women’s Day and the theme for 2021 is 'Choose to Challenge', so we sought to speak to some of the inspiring women that work within RingGo to discuss the challenges they have chosen to overcome.
We have delved into the stigmas they have tackled, the support networks that have helped them along the way and what they think needs to be done to help support women moving forward, specifically in the technology space.
Revathy Jeevanantham, Technology Manager at RingGo, explained the cultural barriers she has had to overcome to be where she is today, not forgetting the support of the strong women in her family who have helped her along the way: “I grew up in a big family surrounded by strong women, but their strength was displayed in lots of different ways. Whether that was determination after a tragedy or being the glue that holds the family together, these women shaped me.
"That is not to say I always made choices that they agreed with. I wanted more and pushed the boundaries of what was expected as a woman. This is something that drove me to move to the UK, and despite the challenges I was faced with, I was able to start a successful career in an entirely new country. I had to persevere, and something that spoke to that drive was a phrase in my native Tamizh that loosely translates to ‘believe you can achieve, and you can achieve’.
"Leaning on others has also helped me succeed - finding women who can be your sounding boards and who make you feel like we are all in it together; whether that is home schooling or pushing through a work project, are so important. It’s a wonderful feeling to be inspired by the women around you and to feel solidarity with them.
"As a woman in tech, I think the biggest barrier to the industry is actually instilled in us as children. We need to make careers in technology appealing to little girls, to show them how exciting and accessible they can be. Once you hit university or first jobs, it is often too late to encourage a career in technology. It has to happen at a young age and women like me, in technology roles, need to step up to make this happen.”
Another woman who has taken strength from the women in her family is Lara Navetta, Head of B2B Sales at RingGo, who’s aunt taught her that it’s key to separate emotions from business decisions, whilst still remaining human, in order to ensure success: “I have always admired women who haven’t shied away from a challenge, but instead shown real determination to overcome.
"My aunt gave me a piece of advice at the beginning of my career that has guided many of my decisions - in order to be successful you have to separate emotions from the business decisions you make, but you still have to remain human. That can often be a tricky balance, and being a straight talking South African definitely helps, but the key for me is to make decisions and then move on - dwelling on things is a waste of time and energy.”
“Another balance that can often be hard to maintain, particularly as a working mother, is ensuring your time is split fairly between home and work. For me, that is all about setting boundaries and most importantly planning - which most would say has been even harder this year. Obviously life doesn’t always follow the plans you have put in place, but I have found that sticking to a routine is what enables me to give both 100% to work, and 100% to family.”
“I am a very goal-oriented person and have been since I was a little girl, I have my father to thank for that. Throughout my career I have often found that everyone knows where they want to go, but a lot of people don’t necessarily know how to get there. For any women who are setting themselves big challenges at the moment, I would encourage you to figure out the small steps you need to get there and who can support you along the way. This is what International Women’s Day is about, women coming together and supporting one another.”
Similar to Lara, Lisane Harris, Senior Product Manager at RingGo, puts a lot of emphasis on emotions being the key to success - women are often told to shy away from showing they care but it should be viewed as a strength, not a weakness: “Growing up I wanted to be the first female Formula 1 driver... how my path changed! From completing a law degree to beginning my journey in product management, it’s fair to say my career has been a varied one. My drive has always been fuelled by my admiration for my mum, she managed what can sometimes feel like the impossible: balancing being a high-flying career driven woman in the corporate world with consistently making time for the family and being present.”
“The best lesson I learnt from my mum was that having empathy and expressing emotion in the workplace is a strength, not a weakness. I feel as though remembering to care can be forgotten in the tech industry, simply because of the nature of our work. We approach things from a very practical point of view, and that sometimes spills over into relationships in the office. For me, having passion about our products and people is of the utmost importance.”
“That empathy for others is a message I think really aligns with this year’s 'choose to challenge' theme for International Women’s Day. We need to be willing to stand beside people who are going to challenge the status quo, and I think one of the biggest steps within the tech industry specifically is for men to combat the stereotypes around women in tech. Progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go.”