Breaking Barriers: Empowering Women in Tech from Transitional Economies

In the vibrant yet challenging landscape of the technology sector, a striking contrast is evident: rapid innovation and growth juxtaposed with a significant gender gap in leadership roles. This disparity is particularly pronounced in transitional economies, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, where systemic obstacles create a unique set of challenges for women in technology. These hurdles are compounded by a tendency for women in these regions to focus predominantly on the underdeveloped local community, often overlooking the potential benefits of engaging with international associations due to feelings of exclusion from the global tech conversation.

In my Information Technology journey, deeply embedded in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s distinctive challenges, I’ve navigated a path that many find familiar. As a mother of three and an instructor in graphic programming languages, in constant touch with the youth I teach, I’ve faced a dual responsibility: moral and professional. In a community with limited support and resources, it became imperative for me to be a role model – someone who is bold, courageous, and capable of showing the younger generation that high aspirations are attainable, and that seeking and receiving support is possible. This drive to seek international support initially stemmed more from necessity, due to the lack of backing in my local community and the prevalent stereotypes I encountered. However, this journey transformed into a powerful testament of empowerment and international ambition. Serving as an ambassador for both Women TechMakers and WomenTech Network, I’ve broadened not just my own professional outlook but also underscored the immense potential of women from transitional economies in breaking global barriers and redefining what leadership means in the tech industry.

A Journey of Self-Discovery and Empowerment

Being selected for the Women Developer Academy Europe was a transformative moment. This experience, juxtaposed with my skepticism, underscored a pivotal realization: we often underestimate our potential due to the limitations imposed by our environments. My journey was further empowered by my roles as an ambassador for Women TechMakers and WomenTech Network. These positions have been instrumental in strengthening my resolve and providing the much-needed support as a woman from a less developed part of Europe. They have given me the momentum to set an example and prove that women like me can aspire to and achieve international success.

A Path of Influence and Inclusivity

My role as CEO of KIBERone Banja Luka, where I teach children programming languages, has been a crucial part of my narrative, not only as a professional but also as a mentor and a leader. In this capacity, I’ve been keenly aware of the impact I could have on the younger generation, aspiring to leave a lasting impression on them. My journey, encompassing both successes and challenges, has been an open book to these young minds. I made it a point to share with them the process of applying for various programs, including my application to the Women Developer Academy Europe and my ambassador roles in Women TechMakers and WomenTech Network.

This transparency was more than just sharing; it was about inclusivity and inspiration. As I navigated through these applications, the curiosity and enthusiasm of my students were palpable. They were not just bystanders but active participants in my journey, eagerly anticipating the outcomes of these applications. This approach was intentional – to show them that the path to success, especially in fields like technology, is a blend of effort, persistence, and the courage to reach for opportunities, irrespective of the outcome.

Incorporating my students into this journey was about demonstrating real-life lessons in aspiration and resilience. By openly discussing my experiences, both the triumphs and the setbacks, I aimed to instill in them a sense of possibility and the understanding that their backgrounds do not define their futures. My role at KIBERone has thus transcended the boundaries of teaching programming skills; it has become a platform for nurturing the next generation of tech enthusiasts and innovators.

Redefining Resilience: A Unique Perspective from Transitional Economies

In the IT landscape of transitional economies, the concept of resilience is enriched and deepened by the unique experiences and perspectives of women from these regions. Their journey is more than a narrative of determination and innovation; it embodies a distinctive approach to problem-solving and a mindset shaped by diverse socio-economic and societal challenges. These women carry within them an intrinsic ability to navigate and surmount obstacles, a skill honed by their unique experiences.

This specific approach, I believe, offers an invaluable asset to the global technology sector. The varied challenges faced by women in these regions – encompassing socio-economic hurdles and complex societal dynamics – have imbued them with a unique advantage in addressing and solving diverse problems. Their perspectives, born from overcoming these distinct challenges, bring a depth and richness to the process of innovation and problem-solving in technology.

Their potential in contributing to the international tech scene is immense yet underutilized. The infusion of their unique insights and approaches could significantly enhance the value of global tech initiatives. As we move forward, recognizing and integrating the distinctive strengths and perspectives of women from transitional economies is not just beneficial but essential for the broader development and evolution of the technology sector. This integration has the potential to enrich the industry with innovative solutions and approaches, reflecting a more diverse and inclusive global technological landscape.

Education and Empowerment: Cultivating a Sense of Belonging

The role of global networks and educational initiatives in bolstering the participation of women in IT is pivotal, particularly for those from transitional societies where a sense of belonging on the international stage often feels elusive. My engagements with platforms such as the Women Developer Academy Europe, Women TechMakers, and WomenTech Network have been transformative, transcending the bounds of traditional learning. These initiatives have served as powerful catalysts for personal and professional growth, nurturing not only skills and knowledge but also fostering a crucial sense of identity and confidence.

In regions undergoing transition, where societal norms and structures may not always support or recognize the aspirations of women in technology, the subjective feeling of not truly belonging, or of being out of place on the international scene, can be a significant barrier. The lack of visible examples of successful women from such backgrounds can perpetuate a narrative of exclusion and limitation. This is where the role of global networks becomes indispensable. They provide a platform where women can see and learn from others who have navigated similar paths, offering a vital source of inspiration and motivation for younger generations.

Moreover, these networks create an environment of acceptance and belonging, which is fundamental for women from transitional economies. The feeling of being part of a larger, global community that values and recognizes their potential is immensely empowering. It helps dismantle the internalized barriers of doubt and isolation, replacing them with a sense of solidarity and possibility.

A Pioneering Spirit: Inspiring International Ambitions

Embracing ambassadorial roles in these international networks has been a journey of self-affirmation. These roles have not only empowered me but have also allowed me to be a beacon for other women from similar backgrounds. They have reinforced the idea that women from transitional economies possess the ingenuity and skills to contribute significantly to the global tech landscape.

Driving Innovation Through Diversity

The inclusion of women from transitional economies in the IT workforce is a strategic move towards fostering innovation. The diverse perspectives that we bring are indispensable in a field that thrives on novel ideas and solutions.

Conclusion

In my IT journey, every step, from initial doubts to global roles, has been a powerful affirmation of the unique strengths we, as women from transitional economies, bring to the tech world. We’re not just crossing boundaries; we’re redefining them, crafting a future in technology that’s as diverse and inclusive as our stories. We are the architects of change, actively sculpting a new digital era where diversity isn’t just welcomed, it’s the cornerstone of innovation and global progress.

Dragana Babic

CEO at KIBERone Banja Luka

I am the CEO of ‘KIBERone Banja Luka’, The First International CyberSchool of the Future for the New IT Generation in Banja Luka. I lead an innovative international project in Banja Luka, which is focused on providing advanced IT education for children and youth.

Looking
for Remote Talent?

Popular

No posts found