International Women's Day 2023: The Obstacles That Women Face

International Women's Day 2023: The Obstacles That Women Face

International Women's Day 2023: The Obstacles That Women Face

At CodiKoat we are proud of our diversity and the even gender split at the company. We also recognise that there is a lot more to do to promote equality, notably in STEM industries where they have often been male dominated.

Here, some of the women at the heart of CodiKoat discuss the obstacles that they have faced, or that women still face in the workplace.

“I don’t think that women have made their way in science by being quiet”

CodiKoat Microbiologist Dr. Robyn Jerdan believes that women still have to work harder to be heard in scientific industries:

“Women still have to be very vocal to make their way in science and I guess that some males don't particularly like that. Some might find that intimidating, some may label it as being too emotive, but at the end of the day I don't think that women have made their way in science by being quiet. So definitely having that vocalisation and being listened to, is an obstacle. 

We've done the same training, we've taken the same courses, we've done the same experiments that males do, so why should a male saying something have more of an impact than a female saying something?”

“Smart women have always tried to be involved in running the world”

Dr. Melissa Rodriguez Garcia, Material Scientist at CodiKoat, also believes that women are typically being held back in businesses where their voices aren’t heard:

“Strong, independent and smart women have always been around us and have always tried to be involved in the running of the world. The main obstacle, particularly in science, comes when women aren’t listened to by male leaders in the work environment, and that’s mostly what stops them from getting further and faster.

Sadly there’s also still a bit of social pressure towards motherhood, which can push women to abandon work as they need to focus on their families. Lots of women find the perfect balance between family and work, but there is still the social pressure - and I believe this is still seen as a bit of a drawback for employers to hire women and face maternity leave and family pressures.

At CodiKoat we have a great gender mix and everyone’s voice is heard, all employees are treated with the respect they deserve - I hope more companies do the same.”

Overcoming male-dominated industries

Dr. Zeynep Aytac, R&D Chemist at CodiKoat, has experienced the male-dominated fields of science and engineering in academia, as well as industry. 

“I have not experienced it in science as much, but I know that in engineering there are still a lot of issues. The working environment is still very male dominated, particularly in factories and production, it’s very obvious that there is disparity. 

In the science roles that I've been working in so far, I think it's clear that sometimes our male colleagues are not aware of the problems that women might face because they don't experience it themselves. I think we need to communicate more to define the problems, with male and female colleagues, so that we can get to a point where we can understand and then move past them.” 

Balancing home and work pressures is an obstacle

For Senior Microbiologist Dr. Cigdem Williams, the pressures of balancing family life with work continue to be an obstacle felt acutely by female colleagues.

“The first [obstacle] that comes to mind is that once a woman becomes pregnant, she may encounter maternity leave issues. When a woman leaves for maternity leave for 6 months to a year, they often feel guilty for not keeping up with the work. Even if they try to keep up, then they feel guilty at home because they're not spending their time with their family. 

Cigdem continued: “Then another [related obstacle] is not being able to spend enough time, especially if you want to, to get to as high a level as possible within academia or within the industry. The balance sees you spend a lot more time at work than at home and that’s not always the best situation for the family or for the individual as well.”

A lack of opportunities is holding women back

For Maryam Arjangfar, Project Manager at CodiKoat, one of the core obstacles is ensuring young women have the same opportunities as men.

“It’s important that we make it clear to young girls that they have no boundaries and that they can do whatever they want, whereas in the past some roles were exclusively performed by men. Even now in some countries women aren't allowed to be judges, or to be a captain. It still bothers me the idea that if some young girls I wanted to grow up to be a judge in those countries then they still can't do that. Women should be able to work alongside men in any role that they choose to - they need to have the same opportunities to succeed”.

This blog is part of a series of articles published by CodiKoat in celebration of International Women’s Day 2023. View our other published content here:

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