By Holly Fleck, MA Journalism student at Ulster University

Many women in Northern Ireland are now striving to try and rid industries of gender-based inequality.

Claire Ozanne is a software developer for a law firm. She graduated with a degree in French and Russian from the University of Bristol in 2017.

Claire told of the decision to move from her previous role to software development, “First of all, I could see there was a huge demand in the market for software developers and second of all, the stability that you had this hard skill that was transferable.”

Claire Ozanne

Adding that her background in foreign languages had offered transferable skills such as “mastering a process and not really ever fully feeling one hundred percent like I know everything but despite this not giving up.”

Georgina McCullough has recently retired from the position of office manager at RGM Construction after 48 years of service. However, she continues to advise the directors at the family-run business.

Speaking of what led her into the construction industry, Georgina said “I married a man who was starting out in the industry and together we worked through it.”

Georgina McCullough

Georgina said that her determination has played a role in her success, stressing that her knowledge of the financial side of the business has contributed hugely to the company.

Claire speaks of the feeling of “imposter syndrome” when she began working in tech, explaining that “to feel like I’ve achieved success I really had to get over that fast and a way round it was me separating my personal identify from my work identity.”

As a former office manager, Georgina added: “I think the time is coming where women will start driving diggers. I think it is very much going that way.”

Claire said: “It’s very rare for women to want to announce their achievements. They get worried that they are going to be seen as bragging but a way you can frame it differently is to present it as information.”

Looking to the future, Claire hopes that through representation we will see an increase of women in male-dominated industries. She said: “We are seeing more women in these roles and that is just so important when you see a woman doing it. You think why can I not do that too”.

With reference to her granddaughter taking an interest in the industry, Georgina said “I would tell her that she is as good as any man. For any young women that is interested in work, as long as they’re working and interested, that’s all that matters.”

These women in business are honouring the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day. Their internal drive to tackle gender-based inequality in male-dominated industries is reflected through their success.

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