Women in Tech Should 'Be Prepared for the Long Game': Speaker Q&A with Gail Orenstein

Gail Orenstein, a pioneer in the field of photojournalism, has returned to the Women in Tech World Series after joining us at last year's Women of Silicon Roundabout. Gail will be speaking at European Women in Tech, which will take place on 26-27 November in Amsterdam.

drone flying in sunset

As a woman in tech, what are you most excited about in the technology world?​

I love that fact is that with drones I can now, on my own budget, see the world I have lived in all my life from an entirely different angle. I now see the world from the view of a bird. Technology is giving me an entirely new way of seeing the world and filming and photographing it.

Are you working on any exciting projects you’re able to tell us about?

I am working with animators to make augmented reality movies, that will include both arial drone video and animation. The project involves artists in the US and India, so it is fun to be working on global project even though we are a small team. The things we are making 20 years ago could only be made by major studios.

Why have you decided to get involved with European Women in Tech?

I am very concerned about the way women are often mistreated or under used in technology. I am especially concerned that people seem to assume the can ask women in technology to work for free. I am very concerned that the economic model seems to be becoming men get paid and women work in crowd sourcing, and I want to show people how women add value and need payment for the work we do.

What will you be speaking about at European Women in Tech and why have you chosen this topic?

I will be covering my journey from being a traditional photojournalist to a using drone technology to innovate a new kind of journalism. I will stress why I think it is important for women to be involved in this.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I love to see the world from the air, I love to fly. I lost my mother a few years back and when I started flying I felt right away that I was one with her spirit, that I could see the world with her from her perspective and angles. 

What would you say is the most challenging aspect of working in the tech industry?

Overcoming the institutional bias in technology against women. It very hard to get the attention and overcome the widespread sexism. And even when you get a foot in the door, you still are in a man's world. Often I am the only women involved in a project.

What advice would you give to women who want to pursue a career in tech?

Be prepared for the long game. Technology is moving very fast but still in the terms of a career it may take years for a new industry to take off. If you are committed be prepared to take years to develop your skills and to establish yourself. Therefore it is also important to find alternative means of support, you are not likely to achieve everything in the first year. You may have to work another job for years as you work on your project. But don't lose faith, remember there is more to life than just money.

drone2-compressor

To find out more about Gail, you can take a look at her website, or follow her on Twitter and Instagram

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