Ctrl + Alt + Empower: Celebrating Ukrainian Women in IT
March 8, 2023

Ctrl + Alt + Empower: Celebrating Ukrainian Women in IT

<Hello, world!> This phrase became an iconic way to introduce people to programming, often being the very first output displayed on their screen. Although the “Hello, world” program might seem simple, it represents the beginning of a journey for many aspiring programmers. In this article, we will explore the journey of Ukrainian women in IT, the challenges and opportunities they face, and showcase some of the inspiring initiatives bringing together women in this dynamic and fast-growing industry. 

<begin> Navigating through the IT landscape, largely dominated by men, one may notice a growing trend in the share of women in the field, which has tripled over the past decade. A recent survey conducted by DOU.ua, the leading IT community in Ukraine, suggests that 23% of women made a contribution to the Ukrainian IT sector in 2022. This represents a significant increase from just 7% in 2012, showing that progress is being made in terms of gender diversity in the industry.

Preceding a professional journey, education plays a significant role in the career development of women in the Ukrainian IT industry. The 2020 DOU survey results show that a higher percentage of women working in IT hold higher education degrees, including two or more degrees, compared to men. Women in IT also seem to have better English language skills, as they declare more advanced knowledge of English compared to men. Regarding self-education, women also tend to be more intensive in self-learning compared to men opting for online courses and training programmes (attended by 66% of women versus 56% of men) and IT events (attended by 33% of women versus 23% of men).

Belgium, Brussels, 2022/05.Visit of Young European Ambassadors to Brussels with East and South region

<list challenges> Despite such seemingly good indicators, there is still much work to be done to achieve gender balance in the IT industry, both in terms of representation and treatment of women employees. Many people still view IT as a male-dominated industry, and this perception often leads to women being treated unfairly or overlooked for job opportunities, promotions, or pay raises. In one of the initiatives aiming at debunking the stereotypes, “The Ukrainians” refutes deeply-rooted myths about the role of women. Besides demystifying, school education should play a prominent role in showing girls their possibilities of growth, not only in the IT sector but in STEM in general.

The lack of female role models and mentors in the IT industry is another challenge that women in Ukraine face. Women may struggle to find mentors or role models who can guide them through the challenges of industry, which can limit their opportunities for growth and advancement. Such initiatives as Top 20 most active women in IT, profiling experiences of talented women in IT industry, or Civic Tech Sisters, a mentoring programme for women leaders in the civic tech and digital democracy sector, are among the few examples countering this challenge. 

The gender pay gap continues to be a challenge in the IT industry. If we compare median salaries across the entire IT sector, men earn 75% more than women. This significant difference can be explained by factors such as the aforementioned pay gap in specific positions, women’s lower work experience in IT compared to men, and a significant proportion of women working in non-technical positions and QA, where salaries are generally lower than in other IT industry sectors.

The European Forum of Young Leaders, a three-day conference organized in Katowice, Poland from 25-27 April.

<for each challenge find opportunity> Nevertheless, there are many initiatives and support networks that are working to address these issues and empower women in the IT industry. One example of such a network is Women in Tech, which is a community of women in Ukraine building careers and businesses in technical fields. The project started in 2018 with the goal of attracting more women to the IT industry, promoting conscious career choices, facilitating job search and business opening, and fighting stereotypes that hinder successful careers in the IT industry.

The initiative creates a community where female founders of start-ups, managers in technology companies, as well as technical specialists, share their experience, motivation, and support with participants who want to start a career in IT, are looking for a new job, or want to change their field of work. In 2022, the Women in Tech initiative provided lectures on career guidance and mentoring, created an English Speaking Club, and encouraged companies to become more inclusive to build the Ukrainian economy and attract girls and women to the IT industry.

Having different branches across the country, Women Techmakers Ukraine brings together a community that supports and empowers women in technology, offering mentorship, networking opportunities, and skill-building programmes. Women Who Code Kyiv is a local chapter of the international organisation that provides support and resources for women in tech. Additionally, many universities and educational institutions have started programmes and initiatives aimed at encouraging more women to pursue careers in tech.

<Hello, brave new world!> The world of technology is evolving at an incredible pace, and with each passing day, we are seeing new breakthroughs and innovations that are changing the way we live, work, and interact with each other. In this exciting and dynamic world, Ukrainian women are making their mark, pushing boundaries, and breaking stereotypes, be it in the IT sector or any other.

The Ukrainian IT industry has come a long way in terms of gender diversity, but there is still much work to be done. Let us continue to support and empower women in technology, celebrate their achievements, and work towards breaking down the barriers that hold them back. To the brave new world, where everyone has the opportunity to pursue their passions and realise their full potential, regardless of gender or background.

On International Women’s Day, 2022, the Delegation of the European Union in Baku, Azerbaijan, sent a message from the spouses of Ambassadors of the EU and EU Member States to express support to Madame Olena Zelenska and to all women of Ukraine.

Interested in the latest news and opportunities?

This website is managed by the EU-funded Regional Communication Programme for the Eastern Neighbourhood ('EU NEIGHBOURS east’), which complements and supports the communication of the Delegations of the European Union in the Eastern partner countries, and works under the guidance of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, and the European External Action Service. EU NEIGHBOURS east is implemented by a GOPA PACE-led consortium. It is part of the larger Neighbourhood Communication Programme (2020-2024) for the EU's Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood, which also includes 'EU NEIGHBOURS south’ project that runs the EU Neighbours portal.

The information on this site is subject to a Disclaimer and Protection of personal data. © European Union,