The fifth lecture in Trinity’s Women and Technology series was held on Monday and featured Erin Pettigrew, who works as the vice president for business development at Gawker Media. Pettigrew’s lecture focused on optimism for the future of women in technology.
Pettigrew, a political science major, talked about the wide availability of opportunities for women in careers in technology, even if they do not have a computer science degree.
“There is so much opportunity and so much public excitement for women pursuing careers in technology right now,” Pettigrew said. “There are opportunities for all kinds of other people (besides computer science majors), like journalism, marketing, business majors and more.”
Rather than focusing on the problems that women in technology fields face, Pettigrew briefly addressed these topics, then focused on reasons for optimism. She gave examples of female CEOs of major technology-related companies such as Facebook and Pinterest.
“Women are making it. Women are pushing forward,” Pettigrew said. “There has never been a better time to talk about women in technology or women in the workplace. People are taking notice.”
Confidence in one’s abilities was also a point of discussion. Pettigrew says that more young women need to gain confidence.
“I see women everyday who say ‘I can’t’ or ‘I shouldn’t be doing this.’ I say you absolutely can and you should,” Pettigrew said.
Students in attendance responded to the lecture with appreciation for Pettigrew’s presentation.
“It seemed more optimistic,” said Noemi Rengel, a senior. “I like how she outlined the issues. She talked a lot about confidence, which I hadn’t really thought about. It was refreshing.”
Junior Chris Garagiola appreciated that Pettigrew provided potential solutions to the problems that are often discussed in relation to women and technology.
“I thought it was very informative about the issue,” Garagiola said. “She had the right idea about the struggles and pointed out solutions and things I hadn’t thought of before.”
Pettigrew closed with her perspective on the future for women in technology and the workplace.
“There is so much research on challenges that women face,” Pettigrew said. “I hope the discourse changes to ‘how do we move forward’ rather than ‘how did we get here?’”
The final lecture in the series will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 3, in the Fiesta Room. Amy McDonald Sandjideh, a program manager at Google, will be speaking.