By Patricia Saint Cilien, Graduate of The WIT Network Computer Program in Haiti
One of my greatest dreams three years ago, before graduating with a law degree, was to be a leader in child advocacy for the purpose of speaking out for them and protecting the rights and interests of the ones who need it, for building and reinforcing their potential and creating a protective environment for them. As time passed by, I also discovered there are so many other interesting fields, and that led me to explore and cherish other dreams, and to seek out more different experiences.
Misconceptions – Can Women Work in Tech?
I had never been interested in studying Computer Science, because I thought I was not brilliant enough and that this career was created only for men. I grew up in an environment where women were more likely to be nurses, doctors or teachers, not computer scientists or anything in that field. The stereotype that made me think that technology was a career for males only was nothing more than discrimination against females. I was content to learn only the basics.
Seizing Opportunities – The WIT Network
Then when it was announced that I was going to get a scholarship to study technology tools online through The WIT Network, I realized how amazing this opportunity was and I wouldn’t let it pass me by. I was determined to make a success of it, because I realized that the only person who could actually stop me was ME. I refused to be limited by any gender-based stereotype, and I knew I was smart enough to succeed.
In January, at the WIT conference, I had the privilege to meet inspiring people, women in the field who became my role models. Their passion for technology was so contagious that I thought, if they could to do it, I can do it as well. That was my starting point to motivating myself to begin online courses in computer science. One of the most important things that I’ve learned is that, as a young woman, I have to be bold, and dare to do things that are important to me, and to stop doubting myself because of stereotype barriers. I have to focus on my strengths, while I am working on my weaknesses.
Honestly, it was very challenging at the time. I was about to commit to something that I had many misconceptions about. I was not disappointed by the content of this course – it was more than worthwhile. I have been introduced to much more than I expected. I discovered that technology was not just social media but also coding, programming, social marketing, working and studying online. That broke the boundaries that I created for myself, and I finally understood that technology is a field for both men and women.
Finding a New Path
Now I am aware that women can make a huge contribution to the economy of their communities. But the most important thing is that I am more confident as a woman. I have been introduced to what coding, social marketing, and cyber security are, and I have been able to deepen my knowledge of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Publisher. With all those boxes checked, I am now more competitive in the job market.
Technology has become a big part of life on the planet – it is hard to conceive of living without it. It is unfortunate, though, that so many women still view technology as “a man’s domain”, allowing themselves to be intimidated by this old mindset. Union School remains one of the most positive learning environments I have had the opportunity to be in. There, I was able to improve myself and acquired a lot of lifelong key values such as leadership, community service, professionalism, empathy and so on.
Besides wanting to be a child advocate, I am also looking forward to earning my master’s degree in the Law of New Technologies, Information and Communication, and I am still taking online courses to improve my knowledge on these subjects. Thanks to this program launched by the WIT network, I am proud to say that I love the Information Technology (IT) field, and I am looking forward to using it to change people’s lives.
Patricia Saint Cilien