This August we have announced a partnership with UN Women and the UN Global Compact to implement the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). The goal of this initiative is to include as many women as possible in the IT sector of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is important to mention that Authority Partners is one of 5,352 worldwide companies that have signed this collaboration, including corporations such as Google and Microsoft.

According to the project of the UN agencies – IT Girls, this sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country. It creates 500 million KM annually and employs more than 5,400 people. IT itself is a broad concept, and as a profession, it provides many opportunities for progress, constant learning, and new challenges. In today’s world, being a woman in this sector is no different than being a man in it; however, the question is whether equal opportunities are for all?

That’s why we talked to Azra Topčić, Talent Management Specialist, Merima Hadžić, Program Architect and Software Developer, and Sajra Agić, QA Engineer at Authority Partners.

WEPs is a True Continuation of AP Practice

At the very beginning, Azra Topčić, a Talent Management Specialist, underlines that we at AP consider women’s empowerment to be a very important topic today. “In the first phase of the WEPs project, an international team of consultants evaluated our practices and concluded that we are the pioneers and a positive example of inclusion. For us this was confirmation that we are doing a good job. One of our key values are growth and development, so we believe that we can always do more and better, which for us this cooperation represents. Our experience tells us that women’s interest in IT careers is growing tremendously, and we are happy to be able to provide them with the opportunity for education and work in a global team where only the sky is the limit. Finally, women have played a key role in advancing information technology from the beginning”, Azra concludes, adding that the co-founder of the Authority Partners is a woman – Maja Karabeg – and that 40 percent of their management is comprised of women.

“In 2014, as a part of social responsibility, Authority Partners has launched the AP Lab – Center for Talent and Innovation. From that time, 28 sessions for 344 interns were held. Out of a total number of participants, 155 of them are employed by the company. An interesting fact is that out of the total number of participants in the last session, we had 65 percent women, who are now part of our team, while 51 percent of all employed practitioners are women”, Topčić says.

Results are Clients’ Priority 

Merima Hadžić, Program Architect and Software Developer, joined Authority Partners through AP Lab, which she attended after graduating from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. On this occasion, she pointed out two advantages of working in the IT industry. “The first is something I have noticed in the early stage, namely at the very beginning of my career in AP, where I worked a lot directly with the client. For them, it doesn’t matter if I am a woman or a man as long as I am able to do my job and deliver at the expected level. Another advantage is that working in the IT industry does not mean only one direction in which someone can improve and contribute. This industry covers many different jobs that are not just programming, so different profiles of women can find their place in IT companies and contribute to their growth and development “, Hadžić stated.

Sajra Agić, QA Engineer at AP, also a former participant of AP Lab, believes that the interest of women of Bosnia and Herzegovina in careers in the IT sector is growing every day. “I believe that the IT industry provides equal opportunities regardless of gender, and I am convinced in the exceptionally correct and professional approach to this issue within the AP. After graduating, AP Lab seemed like a unique and great opportunity to improve my skills and step into the IT world. The acquired practical knowledge and experience exceeded all my expectations. The real projects we worked on during the AP Lab program significantly provided me with security and self-confidence in my work”, Agić said.

For us in Authority Partners is important that we are a part of the WEPs project. Our goal is not only to empower the company’s practices but to be a part of a large global movement that aims to standardize a non-discriminatory work environment that provides equal opportunities for all.

“We strongly believe that all men and women are created equal, and as a woman and co-founder of an IT company, I would like to see more girls choosing IT-related career paths. The past didn’t always treat women and girls fairly and equally, but we came to the point where we have a chance to choose our path. A new world is approaching, where real and artificial are going to be interconnected. More than ever, we need to ensure that women are included, visible, and engaged in envisioning and building a better future for all, despite gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation any other discriminating factors.” Maja Karabeg, Co-Founder of Authority Partners, said on joining the WEPs.

At the end of the interview, Azra Topčić added that we in AP like to say that we grow together, so this unity with other companies in BiH and globally under the leadership of the UN is something we believe can make a significant impact. “Certainly, the IT industry is already a great example of being able to walk the path of success in a different way, namely, by putting people first!”, Topčić concludes.