November 20, 2018
I was born in Germany, grew up in Denmark and studied in Great Britain. After studying psychology for four years, I did research as a psychologist at a hospital in Copenhagen and quickly realised that it was nothing for me: the work had no impact and was too ‘slow’ for me. That’s when I got in touch with the tech world: I joined the London/Munich Tech Start Up KOMPAS as Community Lead to get a feel for the startup world. I started my current master programm in Copenhagen in 2017: Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The course is about how to be innovative and we learn the processes necessary to be innovative.
Before the Blockchain Hype I attended a conference in 2017. It occurred to me that there should be an organization for women, because such innovations and their conferences are usually male-dominated. That’s why I founded, together with other women, a women’s movement: within a few months we were already 400 members. Through CryptoWomen CPH we want to make Crypto and Blockchain tangible for women. The movement should function globally, so that everyone can build it in their own city. That’s why we all made our material freely available.
Nowadays I live in Munich and do an internship at the Innovation Centre Denmark, an initiative of the Danish Foreign Ministry. There I advise small and medium-sized Danish companies who want to set foot in Germany. The internship is part of my master’s degree, so I will be working in Munich until February.
My way to IT
I first discovered my interest in tech and IT during my bachelor studies. At the university there was an innovation center where you could go if you had a start-up idea - that was the first time I played with such an idea. Once I was also a guest at a Google weekend event offered by this innovation center. There I worked with programmers and developed an app with them. In the event different people from different areas came together. They all had so much energy and drive that I was very motivated.
I first came into “virtual” contact with moinworld when Anja (CEO of moinworld) contacted me via LinkedIn. After a short coffee it was clear that I wanted to participate. I really like the fact that moinworld is very practical. Through the coding workshops and Meetups the participating women are taught important skills. So it’s not just about motivation and team building, it’s a combination of both. In addition, moinworld uses the city’s resources. We don’t invite ‘any’ women to the trainings, a lot of our work is done with the coders in the respective cities of Hamburg and Munich. This allows for the development of much stronger networks and relationships.
Denmark & Digitalisation
I have spent a large part of my life in Denmark, where tech and digitisation are as male-dominated as in Germany. It is therefore difficult as a woman who is interested in it to find a place - especially in IT. But these women do exist and they need to be encouraged.
I want to be able to tell a different history about IT in the future
I’ve been very involved with the history of IT. Computers have always been sold to men, marketing has always been geared towards men. So women’s interest in computers was lost in the 80s. This is a development that is generally visible in Western countries, although programming languages are simply languages that you can learn like any other and these languages were developed by women. It is only because of marketing and the big companies that sell to men that this has changed. I want to tell this story, and I also want to change it. Through teaching programming to women, I want to be able to tell another new story about IT in the future.
What we need is therefore as many initiatives as possible. We need to talk to each other, get involved in conversations, go to conferences - and especially to those that don’t quite suit you. One should not be afraid to go to conferences, for example, because one knows that otherwise there will only be men there.
IT is the area that will be most important in the future. It is a train that women have not jumped on, so it is high time that this happened. Digitalisation is everywhere and the best job offers are concentrated in this area. Looking back, I would also have studied IT.
I don’t know what the future holds for me, because every year a lot has changed in my life. I definitely want to become more political, in Denmark I have already interfered a little in this area. We must turn the resources we have in the right direction. IT regulation, for example, is an issue I want to deal with.
Stupid Comments and how do we get rid of them?
It seems that men forget that women exist in IT. That’s a bad feeling. You seem transparent and unimportant as a woman and for further development. Once I personally experienced how a lecture was despised because it was about a female topic. The founder of Clue, an app that documents the menstrual cycle, gave an important talk on women’s health. The men in the audience laughed because it was unimportant, boring and stupid for them. And this despite the fact that it is a technology like all the others. Clue is an app that works well and helps women discover problems. But the male way of thinking was that technology has to be used for something ‘serious’.
However, it’s not enough to talk all the time about how hard it is for women in IT. The solution is to present role models and be present and active. You have a greater responsibility as a woman to be active. It is bad when women who have achieved a lot are not asked about their work, but just how difficult it is in this area. That’s why I want moinworld to make role models available!
I can recommend the following women as role models:
- Laura Shin: she is a journalist at Forbes and definitely one of the best female journalists in the field. She writes a great IT column and publishes a podcast on Blockchain, one of the best journalists in the field. She shows that you can get into IT without a background, talks to the right people and asks the right questions. She gets down to business and talks critically about it.
- Claire Evans: she has published a book on the feminist history of the Internet which is very well written and interesting.
Bis bald bei einem unserer nächsten Meetups in München!