International Women’s Day: a talk with Elena Frontiñán, UX/UI & Interaction Designer
International Women’s Day has been celebrated around the world since 1910 and, as every March 8th, from Cloud Worldwide Services we want to celebrate it. Therefore, we have spoken with one of the women who work for Cloud Worldwide Services, Elena Frontiñán, our UX/UI & Interaction Designer.
Below, we show you everything Elena has told us about her professional career and her opinion about women’s access to certain sectors or positions.
How did you end up in the world of UX design? Did you have it clear at the beginning of your studies?
No, when I finished high school, I ended up studying a double degree in Architecture/Integrated Design and Image Management and from there I finished specializing in UX/UI design. What I had clear from the beginning was that I wanted to create things, in this case, digital products, and generate emotions in people who interact with them. That’s why, while I was discovering things about this discipline, I was getting more and more enthusiastic, combining what I liked the most: to contribute something, to create something, and to do it always thinking about the user first.
The change towards a more digital approach to my career was imposed by the increasingly technological environment in which we move and live.
How do you think women are being pushed towards more technological careers?
I wouldn’t say that women are being pushed, nor men either. It is true that, until now, the technology sector was a male-dominated sector, but that has happened with many technical careers. The situation is changing and every day there are more women in all sectors, and I think that towards the technology sector we are being driven by advancement, not so much by pushing more men or women.
It is important to have, and we all have people or references that inspire us, who were yours to follow the path of user experience design?
I would love to tell you some female references, but the truth is that nowadays they are almost all men. In the UX/UI sector, the Nielsen & Norman group, that is, Jacob Nielsen and Don Norman, are especially referential. But, in the world of object design, which is the first to consider this world of user experience, I have great references such as Dieter Rams (who worked for Braun) or Jony Ive (former designer for Apple).
Everyone knows that sometimes there are archetypes or gender stereotypes, do you think that UX design can collaborate in the inclusion of gender and the elimination of these stereotypes?
I wish UX/UI design had such power (laughs). But well, I think that from the design of objects and, in this case, digital product design, we can collaborate using inclusive language and, above all, from my point of view as a user and woman, making distinctions inexistent except in specific products. We all use digital applications and services and I do not conceive that there is a distinction between women and men, we all have hands and brains, don’t we?
The archetypes we use every day for UX/UI design are in fact genderless archetypes, they speak of tastes and feelings, not gender.
At the time of hiring, do you consider that there is equality in the male/female ratio?
It depends on which professions, but in general, unfortunately, I don’t think so yet. There are still many sectors where you see few women and more in the world of technology. How many female developers do you know? Fortunately, within Cloud Worldwide Services this inclusion is increasing and, although the ratio is not equal in some departments, they are betting on more inclusive teams every day.
Why do you think there is such a difference between men and women in management positions?
Is there? Just kidding, of course, there is. Well, I think there are several reasons. One of them is that, until now, it was women who sacrificed part of their working day to take care of the family and, although the work-life balance is increasing, to be in a management position you must be able to sacrifice both personal and family time. Let’s face it, there are not too many leadership positions that work strictly 8 hours in an 8 to 5 schedule.
On the other hand, I think that today, there is still a bit of a problem regarding women and leadership, and more importantly, how some men, and even women, feel about having a woman over them. Do we intimidate? Maybe, and I suppose there will be times when the race for the top position is truncated by external factors and often, we ourselves as women believe that we are not worthy.
Do you think that the male/female ratio in management positions will naturally become more balanced or do you think that companies still have to make efforts to achieve this balance?
This is a very good question and I wouldn’t really know what to tell you. I think that if we want this to happen, efforts must be made on all sides that can interfere, including companies. Companies will have to value women for management positions and, in certain circumstances, perhaps intervene and mediate in the face of certain attitudes. But, above all, and most importantly, I believe that we as women have to make the effort not only to prove our worth as workers (or as women), which we do every day at work but not to let ourselves be intimidated, to raise our heads and when we find ourselves in difficult situations (which unfortunately there will always be) continue to fight and work as if we were not questioned for being women.
You still have a long professional career ahead of you, how do you think the situation will evolve in terms of the growth of the presence of women in the sector and how would you like it to evolve?
I hope that how it evolves and how I would like it to evolve go a little bit hand in hand. The presence of women, as I have already said, is growing every day. I am not a big fan of talking about a particular sector because I think there should be no difference between sectors.
Every day women are eliminating social boundaries in all areas of our lives. We are no longer little encapsulated jewels we are rough diamonds that can do whatever we want, and I believe that we are fighting more and more every day for this to be so. Day by day, woman to woman and, also, man to man.
I would like that the presence of people in the sectors depends on their worth, not their gender, and that is changing little by little. What we all have to do is to recognize people’s work and not their gender and, from person to person, this will be achieved (I hope).
I hope you enjoyed this interview and Happy International Women’s Day!
See you soon!