#ShowToGrow: I wish women would advertise themselves more!
Anja Hendel is Managing Director at diconium, a technology and digital agency within the Volkswagen Group. Like the rationale behind CARIAD’s A. Lovelace Traineeship, she believes that "The more women make their successes visible to others, the more equal the world will become.”
It was already clear to me in school that my future profession would be to do with technology. By choosing to study business informatics, I saw to it that all my interests were well represented. I was well aware that I was entering a rather male-dominated field. Nevertheless, I didn't see any difficulties or challenges for me as a woman. After all, I was only interested in pursuing my passion.
So, from the moment I chose to study, I was used to being more of a minority in a professional context. I gradually learned to openly share my female point of view – and also to sometimes clash with it. I was driven by conviction, courage and curiosity. And over the years, I’ve built up a thick skin that’s also helped me to go my own way.
Fortunately, more and more women are now being drawn into the technology industry. In 2019, a good third of students in STEM subjects were women, according to a study by the organization FrauenLoop. So, there's no shortage of tech-savvy women.
I know – from my own experience and from my environment – that women often have to put a lot of effort into being seen and heard in male domains. That's why I'm involved in various initiatives, such as Women in Mobility, to help women support each other – whether it's with job searches, speaker requests, or a simple discussion. I also experienced an incredibly appreciative community at Working Out Loud #frauenstärken, where women share their knowledge with each other and everyone enjoys learning. Surrounding myself with people who have strengthened me in what I do and encouraged me in my further development has also helped to shape me in my career. I’m incredibly grateful that I can give this back in different ways today.
Share who inspires you!
In this context, I created a new format on LinkedIn, beginning on International Women's Day on 8 March. It's called #ShowToGrow. Every week, I present a woman who inspires me – and not only from the tech industry. Bettine Schmitz, for example. She founded an investment company with two other women and now invests as a business angel primarily in start-ups by women. Or Sophia Rödiger, who, as CEO of bloXmove, is working on software that bundles different mobility offers worldwide within one shop so that customers don't have to switch back and forth between different apps.
I was equally impressed by Josefine Lissner, who created a rocket engine for her master's thesis using AI-based design that can be manufactured using a 3D printer. Like a lot of women, Josefine is not a fan of self-promotion. It can feel uncomfortable to be the center of attention or even brag about accomplishments. I can understand that. But everywhere that Josefine’s career has taken her, she has, as a woman, represented the minority of engineers. That’s why we need change.
Only if more and more women show their face in the mobility industry and in the tech sector in general will girls continue to be more interested in STEM subjects and professions in the future. My wish is therefore that women promote themselves and support each other. That they bask in their successes and that they spread their knowledge in all directions – and preferably all the way to the top. Because how else is the (tech) world going to find out about all these brilliant women if they don't have the courage to present themselves to it? My appeal to you is therefore to show yourselves and to be courageous. The world needs you and your visions!
Anja Hendel is just one of many inspiring women who are enriching the tech industry with their passion for change. Since the beginning of 2020, Hendel supports diconium as management director. One of her key tasks is to expand the direct collaboration with Volkswagen AG and advise the company on its digitalization ambitions.
At CARIAD, we share this pioneering spirit and are committed to ensuring that more women gain access to this tech world with its great potential for change. We strongly believe that more diversity, pluralism and inclusion within our teams is a key to build true products for everyone, by everyone.