Why did you choose to work in the technology sector?
"I was always someone who wanted to find solutions to problems. In school I loved mathematics and problem-solving."
You currently work as a Quality Assurance Analyst for emovis, which delivers toll technology and solutions for highway providers around the world. Why did you decide to join emovis?
"I joined because I have an interest in intelligent communications and in developing smart mobility solutions. It seemed like there was the possibility to apply my skills there and to make a difference. It's a big job and it can be hard and challenging. But with time you get to know the product and the issues that come, and you get to know how to deal with them."
You grew up in Rwanda in the mid-1990 during a time of civil war. How has that experience affected you?
"It had a huge impact on me: I learned that we need to love each other, that we need to live in love and peace. It affects the way I interact with others: I try to understand their opinions and views and not to judge. I saw things destroyed after the genocide – the infrastructure was gone. That made us realize that we needed to work hard for the development of our communities, and our parents and our government encouraged us to study hard to help others."
You're a woman working in a male-dominated industry. Has that been difficult for you?
"I work hand in hand with others who are good managers and good co-workers. Fortunately I don't have many challenges: emovis is a supportive company; they have the culture of supporting each other and communicating with each other to understand the issues. It hasn't been hard at emovis at all. In other companies I've observed women who were facing issues and difficulties getting themselves respected: it would be hard for them to get their decisions respected; they were challenged."
How can the tech sector tackle gender inequality?
"One of the main challenges is that we don't have many role models as women. We are not well exposed or put forward as examples, and we need the examples of women who have excelled to be visible. We need those women to share their experiences and inspire others.
"Women are trying to stay in the industry. We need to make sure that women stay in those companies – one reason they leave is because they don't have the opportunities to progress and reach higher positions. Women aren't supported enough in companies."
What practical measures can companies take to solve these challenges?
"Companies need to develop actions such as sponsorship, mentorship and training and you need to start at entry-level, where women are looking for jobs. Women need proper professional development so that they have the opportunity to reach higher positions. There also needs to be information in schools about the industry that breaks the perception that it's male-dominated. We need to help girls understand that it's an area where women can excel."
This is an extract of an interview with Nicaise Ishimwe for The Review, our award-winning magazine. For the full interview, download the latest issue of our magazine here.
For more information about emovis, visit emovis.com
Follow Nicaise Ishimwe on Twitter @Nicaisel