Tamar Oniani, 25 years old, Nagomari, Guria
”When choosing a profession for girls, often school and family influence them a great deal. They are often advised to choose a profession that is close to other women’s experience and doesn’t compete with men. Such attitudes kill women’s motivation to try their abilities for a more lucrative profession and pursue personal interests and desires.
The exact same thing happened to me. Even though I always wanted to study information and communication technologies, due to the insistence of my family, I chose the faculty of foreign languages, with a perspective of future employment as a teacher. I don’t want to belittle the teacher’s profession as an option, in the opposite, the only thing is that my interest was completely different from the offered option from my family. However, later, my first dream came true with my master’s degree – I got a degree in communications at GIPA.
After finishing my studies, I was certain in my decision to return to my region. Although it’s easier to find your place in a big city, I wanted to continue my professional development in Guria. Finding a job was very difficult – in such a small space everything depends on your relatives. Therefore, after a few interviews, either I got rejected, or more often than not, no one called me back. However, my efforts paid back and I joined the ‘’Young Teacher Union’’ in Ozurgeti, where I work today.
A year after I was hired, I learned that UN Women, together with partners, announced admission to an IT training course for girls living in western Georgia. I was always interested in technologies but never had enough free time or enough funds. Therefore, I thought it would be an opportunity for my development.
In the 21st century, our life is intertwined with technology, but the role of women in this profession was lost. So, I not only applied for this training but advised all girls living in Guria to do the same.
The learning process was very interesting – I learned a lot about many new platforms and techniques that would help me in my professional growth. I have to mention that in this process, women didn’t compete with each other, but strengthened each other – we shared new findings and resources with each other.
After the training, the UN Women announced a competition for graduates to attend the Lisbon Web Summit. The selection process coincided with a tragedy in my family – I lost my father and I felt so bad that I don’t even remember what I said at the interview. Later, I was called and informed that I was going to Lisbon. I was so happy because I knew it would be an opportunity for me to have a closer look at modern technological advances.
At the web summit, I met with digital representatives of Facebook, Google, Samsung, and other large companies, most of whom were women. I saw how these women shared their achievements with each other and tried to strengthen each other and raise their self-beliefs. At one of the Summit forums – ‘’I Am Important’’, a Google representative asked us to remind ourselves about our achievements. I mentioned that I had the opportunity to work with young people, including girls, and give out professional consultations. I’ve been influenced by gender stereotypes when choosing a profession, the same path other girls have to go through. I’m glad that I get the chance to have motivational conversations with these young people, to tell them not to be afraid of stereotypes and choose a profession that interests them and helps their financial situation. It’s my achievement that I have changed many girls’ minds and strengthened their interests in the technology field.
Mastering a new profession and knowledge gave me more self-confidence. In the Covid-19 era information technology became even more important. First of all, this allows you to work remotely, also, it gives you the chance to choose the employer and have several jobs at the same time, which directly affects the financial improvement. This knowledge supports me and I know I can always find an interesting job.
I think education is valuable only when you share it. I have a desire to create such a network through which I’ll share my knowledge about technology with women in the regions completely for free, to make them feel more confident and no longer depend on family members.
I already do this voluntarily. I already planned many projects and social media strategies for many start-ups. Women need motivation and support and also, many role models. Therefore, I consider it my personal responsibility to help and encourage them to take independent steps in the future.
I’d like to advise girls to make their own decisions when choosing a profession. You may listen to others, but you can’t be happy with someone else’s decision. They shouldn’t be afraid to take different steps, they should overcome fear and make decisions independently. In addition, women in the technology field have been already able to cross the line and it will be easier for others to walk this path now.’’
Author: Maiko Chitaia
Photo: Rezo Kvachadze / Geda Darchia
Translation: Mariam Kajrishvili
‘’Tamar Oniani was one of the 124 participants in the women’s web development and social media marketing training program in 2019. The training program was part of the UN Women project “A Joint Action for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Georgia” funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. The views expressed in the story are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of UN Women, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, United Nations or any of its affiliated organizations.”