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International Women’s Day 2021 – Sam’s Perspective

At Datalynx, we know that our most important resources are our highly-skilled consultants. We are an equal opportunities employer – what matters to us is ability, not sex, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability. We pride ourselves on an inclusive work environment. Here, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, data migration consultant Sam Islam, who has now worked for Datalynx for two years, reflects on how this isn’t always the case in the IT industry, or indeed elsewhere, and on her own response to this. We know Sam’s abilities, and we’re proud and delighted that she’s part of our team.

As a first-generation British Bangladeshi woman, I was brought up with ambition and drive instilled in me by my parents, who saw their dreams through their daughters (in contrast to certain racial stereotypes). It never occurred to me (maybe through naivety) that my unique characteristics would challenge me in the world of work, so I strived to achieve without the pressures of boundaries and labels. I went to an all-girls Secondary school in one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK, led by a powerful woman who celebrated female successes by inviting numerous role models, including Michelle Obama, to help empower students. However, this failed to prepare me for the experiences faced by women in the real world.

The first time this was challenged was when I first joined the IT industry after gaining an unrelated University degree in Chemistry. I realised quite quickly that there were many adversities to overcome as a young ethnic woman with very little experience entering a white, male dominated arena. I have been in environments where clients would naturally address my male colleagues when discussing MY work because a woman couldn’t possibly understand Data Science concepts!

I chose to challenge these barriers by working harder to enable my talents and aspirations to reflect in the quality of my work. I became more vocal and learned to own my contributions in order to gain the respect of colleagues, irrespective of gender, race, class etc.

Although it is unfortunate that women need to work harder to level with our male counterparts, recent statistics show that things are changing for the better with more representation of women in the IT industry since the start of the century.

Now I lead in large scale Data Migration projects with high profile clients where my contributions are recognized among my peers regardless of my differences.

#choosetochallenge

Sam Islam

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