Roosh’s Sergey Tokarev explains how to increase the number of women in the IT sector in Ukraine.

Currently, women make up about 25% of all Ukrainian information technology specialists. Among the leaders of IT companies, the number of women represents around a third. However, this is not enough. There is a need to increase the number of women in the Ukrainian IT sector. As IT entrepreneur, founding partner of Roosh and investor of Reface, Sergey Tokarev says in his column on UP.Zhyttia, this can be achieved by developing educational initiatives.

According to Sergey Tokarev, many girls are afraid to start their careers in the IT sector, because they constantly face stereotypes that it is a supposedly “masculine” industry. For example, women are often told that they choose IT only to find a husband or that they can only become testers in human resources or quality assurance.

Many young girls are frightened by these comments. As a result, the industry is losing valuable future employees. At the same time, the IT sector currently suffers from a shortage of specialists: in particular, in the areas of data science, AI, ML and cybersecurity.

“To solve this problem, it is necessary to create thematic clubs and communities.” said Sergey Tokarev. “This way, every girl interested in computer science can find a role model in this profession and can turn to like-minded people for advice or support.”

So, for example, to encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM, the NGO STEM is FEM launched the SHE is SCIENCE initiative. As part of this project, participants were able to discover the careers of 12 Ukrainian scientists. The faces of the project were, among others, also female IT specialists: Olga Perevozchikova, a scientist who participated in the creation of state programming standards in Ukraine, and Kateryna Yushchenko, a programmer who created a formal language for addressable computer programming.

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Additionally, STEM is FEM allows girls to immerse themselves in computer science. This year, in partnership with the Swiss organization Empowerment Lab and with the support of Oracle, the initiative launched free computer classes for girls aged 12 to 16. Participants can take courses on data-driven web applications, application prototyping, and machine learning. The teachers are women working in IT.

Once a schoolgirl has chosen the IT field that interests her most, that’s where higher education should come into play, believes Sergey Tokarev.

“This summer, SET University, which specializes exclusively in technology, organized a cybersecurity course for adolescents. The courses were aimed at both girls and boys, but girls made up 30% of the total number of participants. There is indeed a demand for computer science among girls. They need to be supported and motivated. This is why the university plans to open scholarship programs for girls in the future. “

It is also necessary to support girls when building a career. One tool is to create professional communities, like AI HOUSE. This initiative brings together Ukrainian and foreign AI and ML specialists and organizes training for them. Currently, women make up about 25% of the community, but organizers hope more professionals will join them soon.

So, by expanding educational opportunities for girls and women, their percentage in the industry can increase significantly. “After all, every schoolgirl who is interested in programming but receives no support contributes to gender inequality, shortage of qualified personnel and loss of profits for your business and the country’s economy at the same time. ‘future”. summarizes Sergey Tokarev.