AND She Can: Encouraging women in tech

08 maart 2024 • 6 min read

Volha & Eniko

At AND Digital, we aim to lead the change by encouraging more women to join tech, making sure women's voices are heard and giving them the opportunity to excel. On International Women's Day, we would like to focus on our initiative AND She Can, where we inspire girls and women to consider a career in technology, by providing real insights into tech careers, guidance and inspiration from women role models.


In this context, we speak to two of our own ANDis; Volha Malinouskaya, Hub Lead, and Enikő Kosztolányi, Club Lead of AND She Can in Amsterdam. Their paths into the tech world weren't straight or easy, but they show how much you can achieve with the right support. This International Women's Day, with their inspiring stories, we aim to motivate other women to follow their tech dreams, with a supportive community behind them.


There are many ways that lead to Rome. Or to tech.


Volha never envisioned herself working at a digital company or being remotely connected to IT. She studied linguistics at university and was going to be a teacher and a translator. However, she already somehow never envisioned herself doing this forever. She recalls: “The transition to IT happened gradually. As a part-time job, I was teaching English to employees of a digital company: engineers, QA specialists, designers, and analysts. And I cannot be grateful enough to all those people I met; thanks to them, I opened a whole new world of opportunities for myself! I learned a lot about their jobs, and right after my graduation, I decided to embark on a new adventure by applying for a Business Analysis course. It was super scary as I didn't have any technical background or knowledge, which I thought were crucial for me to even start, but I made it work.”


Enikő’s path started similarly, but in a very different context: “I've always been fascinated by software development, but growing up in a patriarchal, rather conservative Eastern European country, it somehow didn't seem like a viable career path for me. Instead, I followed a more traditional route, studying linguistics and literature, much like Volha did. I admired women who worked in IT, but I was never confident in my maths skills (which I thought was a must!) and was influenced by the traditional belief that women should pursue careers in fields like communication, writing, or childcare. My tech journey began after moving to Amsterdam, where I landed a job as a QA tester. This experience opened my eyes to the diverse roles within the tech industry. Despite dreaming of becoming a developer and addressing the bugs I encountered daily, I hesitated to take the leap. But everything changed with COVID-19. Suddenly, I found myself with plenty of free time and a strong desire to learn something new. I was determined and disciplined enough to self-study for nearly a whole year.”



Truly experiencing inclusion and diversity at AND Digital NL


Both Volha and Enikő started working at AND in 2021, when AND Amsterdam had opened its first international clubhouse, Club Aletta. Enikő applied and became one of their initial hires. And she has not regretted it for a single moment. “Since then, I've been involved in exciting projects and have worked with incredible clients, earning several promotions along the way. Entering the tech field was one the best decisions of my life!” Volha found her first job as a BA quickly after she finished her course. She relocated to the Netherlands in 2021, started looking for a new company and ended up at AND as well. “What first caught my attention was the amount of female representation at the company's leadership level. When I joined the company in 2021, I immediately received support and mentorship from them. They always share their experiences, stories about struggles and successes, and that is truly inspiring!”


The culture of inclusion and diversity that is fostered by AND Digital is also one of the elements of the company valued by Enikő: “AND Digital really works hard to make sure everyone feels welcome and included. They do this by having lots of workshops and training about understanding each other better and being respectful of different cultures. There are also groups led by employees that focus on various diversity issues, giving everyone a chance to share their views and experiences. This effort to include everyone isn't just talk; it's something you can really see and feel every day at work. It makes the company a place where everyone feels important and part of the team.”




Our aim: To close the gender skills gap


The mission and vision of AND She Can is to inspire women into careers in technology, aiming to close the gender skills gap. Our vision for the upcoming years is to become a global initiative driving female representation and equity both within AND Digital and beyond. Volha explains: “As a community, we contribute significantly to this cause by participating in and organising various events to raise awareness about opportunities in tech. Additionally, we provide the knowledge and support necessary to give an initial idea of what to expect from specific roles in IT. Here in the Netherlands, although we are a new initiative, we are determined to get our name and vision out there!” Enikő agrees and expresses the larger ambition:Our vision is big: we want to be known worldwide for boosting female representation and fairness, not just within AND Digital but across the whole tech sector. Even though we're quite new in the Netherlands, we're working hard on spreading our message and vision. We organise and join in on various events to shine a light on the opportunities available in tech. Plus, we offer the support and information needed to help women get a clear picture of what different roles in IT involve. It's an exciting time as we start to make our mark and share our goals with others!”



Women in tech leadership roles: go for it!


Obviously, Volha and Enikő are full-on cheerleaders to other women with the ambition to take on a leadership role in the tech industry. Volha says: “Nowadays, you have access to a variety of courses and resources to gain the necessary knowledge required to enter the tech industry. With the right mindset and determination, everything is possible. Go for it!” Enikő gives some valuable advice on how to get there: “Believe in yourself and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The tech industry needs diverse perspectives, and yours is valuable. Start by setting small, achievable goals to build your confidence and skills. Seek out mentors and networks of supportive people who can guide and encourage you. Remember, every expert started as a beginner, and your unique journey adds to your strength as a leader. Keep learning, stay curious, and never underestimate the power of persistence. Your contributions can make a big difference, not just in your career, but in shaping the future of technology.”


The stories of Volha and Enikő are great examples of women who champion other women’s success. As they pave the way for other women through initiatives like AND She Can and in their daily work, their commitment to empowering women and the broader tech community is inspiring. When asked how they empower other women in their teams, Volha explains that she supports them as much as she can and whenever she can, whether within an internal team or with the client. This includes highlighting their successes and achievements, showcasing their work, providing them with opportunities to practise new skills, and helping them overcome challenges. Enikő focuses on listening and promoting the women in her team, making sure their contributions are recognized. She also creates specific opportunities for them to showcase their skills and tackle new challenges, supporting their growth in our team and the wider tech community.


By supporting each other, and stimulating an environment of respect and recognition, women can not only elevate individual careers but also contribute to closing the gender skills gap in technology. As we celebrate International Women's Day 2024 and reflect on the progress made, let us remember the importance of lifting each other and creating a more inclusive and equitable future for all in tech.

We need thinkers, tinkerers, passionate digital change leaders and inspiring technologists to help us on our mission to close the world’s digital skills gap. See all our open roles here. 





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