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International Women's Day 2022 – Emma Halmekoski

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To celebrate Women’s Day this year, we gathered up 4 women amongst our amazing Siilis and asked them to tell their career story, in their own words, as well as some thoughts about what it is to be a woman in the field of IT.

We will publish one story every day during the rest of the week.
Let us introduce, Anna, Heli, Taru and Emma.

Emma Halmekoski, Business Design Lead

"I started my career over 20 years ago at one of the first companies to offer website development, and I’ve stayed on that path. In between, I also worked in the gaming industry, on a TV channel, in a TV production company and in an advertising agency. I have also worked as a journalist and stylist, and I am a swimming teacher in training. The IT industry has always interested me because I feel that we are working for a better future.

During my career, I have worked with numerous charities and especially with children and young people (and that’s where the future lies). These things are particularly close to my heart, and I am glad that at Siili I have been able to do meaningful projects for that target group. At the moment, I am particularly interested in these kinds of meaningful projects where I can use my skills to make people's lives easier and take part in sustainable development. I have been allowed to do such work at Siili, which makes me happy.

Five years ago, I started as a Business Designer at Siili and found out I was pregnant a week before I started working. At first, I didn’t dare to tell anyone about my pregnancy, but finally I did it before the end of the probationary period. Eventually everything went well and Siili showed that pregnant employees are being treated fairly. I felt I wasn’t ‘’forgotten’’ during my leave: I received Christmas gifts and was invited to all Siili parties and evening events, which was nice.

However, my career at Siili started a little rocky, because my skills differed from the profile of a designer that people were used to. I have a strong content and marketing background. In the end, however, my skills have been put to very good use and I have managed to take advantage of the diversity of my skill profile. I have now been promoted to a Lead Designer, and I currently work as both a Service Designer and a Business Designer.

When it comes to being a woman in the field of IT, I mainly have good experiences, but also some bad ones. Perhaps surprisingly, I have been discriminated more by women compared to men, if that makes any difference. Since I started my career at a very young age, I guess at the beginning I also encountered some belittling and being called a “girl”.

Equality issues have been continuously taken better into account in working life. At Siili in particular, I think people are treated equally regardless of age, gender, race or sexuality. I am glad to see that Siili is participating publicly in discussions about equality.

Women's Day for me personally is an important reminder that the situation of women and girls is not as good everywhere as it’s here, and that there is still a long way to go to achieve equality. The world needs women, and they should be treated equally all over the world and all forms of subjugation should be eradicated: deprivation of freedom of expression, the threat of violence, and exploitation.

I have several female role models: Minna Canth, Mother Amma, Mother Teresa and Michelle Obama to name a few. I rejoice in all the female leaders and women who are working for equality and the advancement of women’s and girls’ issues around the world. It has been great to see younger women in Finland taking over the government. In addition, among Finnish women, I appreciate Katja Ståhl, with whom I have had the pleasure of working with myself. Her attitude rocks.

In the future, I would like to see women rise to the top of companies and corporations, to CEOs and board members. There is still work to be done on wages in the sector to achieve equality, so that women would earn the same pay as men for the same jobs. I would also like to see positive wage developments in female-dominated sectors, especially in early childhood education and care, where wages are far too low in relation to the demands and importance of the work.

Especially in the current world, it would be good to see even more women in the leading positions in their countries. No woman has ever started a war."

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