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“Gender doesn’t define human capabilities”: Lala Mkrtchyan

For 17-year-old Lala Mkrtchyan, nothing is impossible, and difficulties are just opportunities leading to new achievements. Now Lala is going through a difficult path, the end of which is to become a demanded IT specialist.

Professional orientation & cooperation with the Women’s Fund Armenia

Lala Mkrtchyan has a wide range of interests, which makes it difficult to navigate the choice of profession: “My sister Sona advised me to work in this area. After that, I started to study this area, and then I went to the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies. I have taken various courses in the field of IT. To be honest, I was always tormented by the question why there are so few girls in this area, or why it is considered a “non-female profession,” says Lala.

Lala Mkrtchyan is one of the participants in the teenage girls’ grant program funded by the Women’s Fund Armenia. She has collected stories about women who have achieved great success in the IT field: “Within the framework of the program, I not only made these stories just to make them, but during that time I got acquainted with the stories of successful women – where they studied, what they did, how they broke stereotypes, etc. In other words, this program helped me a lot to orient myself, to understand what I want from life. My work within that project helped me a lot: while working on the project, I definitely decided that I would be involved in the IT sector,” she says.

Lala mentions that she shared her work with her peers, many of them are also interested in this area. “I not only gained knowledge, but also hope that other readers, acquaintances and strangers benefit from my work,” she says.

Speaking about cooperation with the Fund, Lala says. “I really like that program, because they [WFA] don’t care whether you are an adult or not, they just like your ideas, your thoughts. They see in you a desire to change something, to achieve something, and they give you such an opportunity to realize your ideas. Considering that you are a teenage girl, difficulties are even greater for you. They believe in you, you start to feel more secure and confident,” says Lala.

From small steps to big successes 

Before choosing a profession, Lala thought that she would most likely be involved in the humanitarian field. She participated in various regional and community programs, and worked in various fields.

Now Lala Mkrtchyan has a very busy life. She attends four institutions, including the school. “Now I am studying in different spheres in the IT field in order to decide which direction I want to pursue my narrow profession. I decided to become a data scientist,’’ she says.

Lala also participates in engineering classes. “I am studying in the “Engineering Specialization in High School” program, which is being implemented for the first time. This program further strengthened my entry into the IT sector. Here we learn how to weld small boards, which is not considered “a girly job”. There are few girls here. In education, as in all other areas, it does not matter at all whether you are a girl or a boy. If you are confident in yourself, then you will achieve what you want. It is true that at first many people are skeptical about you, but then you prove the opposite, that gender doesn’t define your capabilities,” she says.

Difficulties from a philosophical point of view

Lala considers her very vivid imagination to be one of her strengths. This helps her both in work and in everyday life. “I am very optimistic, I am sure that if I want something, I will definitely achieve it,” she says.

Lala approaches difficulties philosophically. “When I face difficulties, I start to think that this is in order to overcome. After going through difficulties, you always become stronger and more aware. I do not accept difficulties as a fact that they were created to hinder me. After going through all of this, you simply deserve the goals already set and achieved. And if, for example, I get upset, I remember that I do this not only for myself, I do it for many other people, that is, I approach the issue more responsibly, ”she says.

Despite the technical and everyday difficulties, Lala finds ways to realize her dreams and goals. “It’s difficult when you’re from a village, there is no normal infrastructure and so on. But if a person wants to develop, learn new things, have achievements, nothing and no one will interfere with that: difficulties no longer matter if there are strong desires,” mentions Lala.

Lala’s vision

Lala Mkrtchyan imagines her future in Armenia. “I would like to work as a data scientist in the military or healthcare sector. To be honest, I have been very disappointed with the situation in Armenia lately, but we do not have time to give up: I imagine myself in Armenia, especially since this field is very developing, and our country needs it a lot,” she says.

According to the teenage programmer, although you can become a good professional, the main thing is to be kind. “At the moment I do not have very serious goals, I do not know what will happen next, but one thing is clear: I want to do good things. Our world needs good, kind people,” she concludes smiling. 

Interview by Yelena Sargsyan