Finding the right work-life balance is a matter of perspective
For Nanna Ravn Rasmussen, balancing motherhood and career is not an either-or question. Instead, she insists that the discourse about measuring ambition needs to change – and she believes the IT industry has the potential to spearhead this movement.
As a quantum physicist in IT, Nanna Ravn Rasmussen seems like the perfect pattern breaker for gender diversity. Her entry into natural sciences was though almost to be expected. Both her parents are biologists, and Nanna’s interest in science was encouraged and shared throughout her childhood.
After university, Nanna worked at an energy company and a business intelligence consultancy before joining Systematic in 2021 as a Senior Business Intelligence Consultant. Here, she has balanced her ambitions at work and her responsibilities at home in a better way.
“I don’t think it’s correct to expect women to be either career or family focused. You can certainly be both. The notion that you must put in many extra hours every week to show your ambition is outdated and wrong. Instead, we should focus on efficiency and what you accomplish within normal working hours. Talented young people can certainly shine working 37 hours a week without burning their candles at both ends. It’s silly to think you must lower your ambitions at work because you are a parent. I insist on having a job that allows me to be my best both here and at home.”
A cultural shift is coming
For many years, the IT business has struggled with gender diversity, and to Nanna, this is partly due to the homogonous culture in place in many IT companies. One that is slowly fading but continues to cast a tall shadow.
“IT has traditionally been a boys’ club, which still exists everywhere — the same people with the same background and largely the same interests. Now though, we are facing a generational and cultural shift that is opening the industry to people who don’t necessarily fit the traditional mould. The IT industry offers a lot of flexibility and a ton of opportunities for women. Especially because it’s difficult to find IT talent – let alone female talent,” Nanna says.
“Some young people might be discouraged by the stereotypes. However, I think the IT business can be really attractive to women who want both a family and an ambitious career. It comes down to perception, though. We need to show that we take diversity seriously. I hope the women’s network in Systematic will help do that.”
The benefits of mentoring
When she joined Systematic, Nanna was offered mentorship by a female member of group management. The mentorship has helped provide a valuable perspective on balancing work and motherhood, seizing opportunities, and understanding the unwritten workplace rules.
“Having a mentor is such an advantage. You get insights and access to expert advice on things that would otherwise take up a lot of your personal bandwidth. It has helped me understand how our organisation works and appreciate the discourse on themes such as gender diversity. It might not be for everyone, but I definitely recommend it. In many cases, sharing different perspectives is the first step to change. I hope our women’s network will help showcase how others design their work-life and how they make it work for them – no matter what kind of balance they strive for. The IT industry certainly offers the flexibility to accommodate alternative setups.”