We celebrate the International Women's day on the 8th March (International women's rights day, in few countries) but it's also important to remind that women are equal of men and it's essential to protect and respect their rights every days of the year but nowadays, women make up just 24% of the tech workforce, thus more and more women are encouraged to pursue careers in the tech industry. Initiatives such as Girls who Code and conferences such as European Women in Technology support this movement passionately.
And at Joomla, the trend is not much different. Because there is no fatality, we must do things in others ways and be more inclusive. In our community, some women are really amazing and I've decided to introduce you some of them. These women are so inspiring and so motivating. Really. Read their stories, their advices, their thoughts and you'll be convinced.
Because we need really each others, I do hope that these portraits will inspire others women to embrace a career in tech sector and/or to join the Joomla Community.
Women's portrait at Joomla: Viviana Menzel
What’s your name and your role at Joomla?Hi, my name is Viviana Menzel. I'm an active member of the German Joomla Community. With Toni Gerns, we created the J!-Over website to have a place for Joomla overrides. In 2015 we won the J.O.S.C.A.R in the category Innovation of the Year. Since two years I organize the JoomlaDay Germany. I'm also part of the GSoC team and was involved in the Layout Builder project. Currently I'm lead (together with Christiane Maier-Stadtherr) of the Cassiopeia team, where we are working on improvements of the Joomla 4 frontend template.
What excites you about your daily work?I like the challenge, a good problem to be solved with Joomla. I love to write my own templates and find creatives ways to use Joomla core.
What did you study?I studied Biology in Córdoba, Argentina and came 1998 to Germany with a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to make my PhD. I worked four years on a lab in Giessen (near Frankfurt) and finished my PhD on 2002. Afterwards I was four years post-doc researcher at the same lab.
When did you start to think about pursuing a career in tech?
I was always the "computer expert" at the lab, so my boss sent me to a course "Create websites with Dreamweaver" and was then responsible for the websites of our group and also of a special graduate program, where I gave some lessons to the PhD students that had to create a website with the results of their research.
2006 my first child was born and I decided not to renew my contract at the University. In the time after birth I wrote several scientific papers and I had my first contact with Joomla, because a friend of us was looking for a good system to manage his website.
2008 my second child was born and I started to think about a job that I can manage with small kids at home. At the end of 2008 I registered my company and started with small Joomla projects.
What challenges are you facing as a woman working in tech?
I never had a negative experience because I'm a woman. Nothing like "you are a woman, you can't do that". But it is always annoying when someones phones in and aks for the "boss" of the company and is expecting to talk to a man. It has also something to do with my "Dr.". Once I showed my brand new business cards to a group of moms and one of them asked me if my husband was the owner of the company...
My first Joomla event was the J and Beyond 2014 and I was warmly welcomed. I see that the number of womens visiting a JAB or a JoomlaDay is increasing, but not so many of them are giving talks. That is something I would like to change.
As a woman it is always a challenge to manage work and family.
What would your advice to women considering pursuing a career in tech be?
Do it! Do what you like, don't be afraid of what other persons could say or think about your choice.
Are there any specific Book/Blogs/Apps you enjoy & recommend ?I like CSS tricks https://css-tricks.com/ and I follow a lot of developers on Twitter, not only Joomla people, but also PHP, HTML and CSS experts.
Who or what inspires you?That is a difficult question... A nice design, new possibilities with CSS... when I see a new snippet, I automatically start to think how can I use it on a Joomla website.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?I enjoy my garden, a walk in the forest, to cheer my youngest son on a football (soccer) match.
I also like to sew and other creative works.
3 tips you would give your younger self?
Don't think so much!
Don't give a f..k to comments about your body
It is ok to be an introvert