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International Women’s Day 2022: Engaging and Encouraging Women in Tech

This year’s International Women’s Day theme, #BreakTheBias, reminds us that women are regularly stereotyped and discriminated against. This is particularly prominent in the technology industry whereby women make up just 19% of the UK workforce. “Every time I think about women in this world, whether we’re talking about advancing women in STEM, global human rights, or battling deeply embedded cultural biases, five words come to mind: So Much More To Do,” says Katie Kulikoski, Chief People Officer at Progress

Nicola Kinsella, VP of global marketing at Fluent Commerce agrees that, “while it’s easy to gravitate towards the familiar and consume information that only affirms our beliefs, it’s important to give weight to the data and facts. There are still issues with gender discrimination, pay gaps, and unequal distribution of household labour that ripple through society.”

It is certain that there is still a long way to go to achieve true equality, but International Women’s Day provides us with the opportunity to raise awareness and pledge to make a difference. Education Technology spoke to a range of industry experts to gather tips and advice on how to easily make workplaces inclusive and equal. 


Squashing the stereotypes

An important first step in creating an inclusive environment is to remove stereotypes – too often women are considered incapable or unsuitable for certain jobs, purely because of their gender. As Jen Lawrence, Chief People Officer at Tax Systems, explains: “Recent research found that only 19% of FinTech company executives are women and the majority are in roles such as Head of HR or Chief Marketing Officer. Less than 4% hold the roles of Chief Innovation Officer, or Chief Technology Officer… The industry needs more immediate changes. It needs the women of today, not just the women of tomorrow, to be considering a role in the tech sector.”

Donna Cooper, Director of Global Marketing at WhereScape, an IDERA Software company, reassures that “with time and attention the issue of gender bias and inequality can be addressed with us all removing stereotypes from our language, being an advocate and ally to all women, having a flexible attitude toward those responsible for childcare, embracing diversity and – above all – being considerate toward the needs and feelings of our fellow human beings.”


Visibility is key 

Whilst things are changing for the better, women in technology roles and senior positions need to be more visible, in order to keep up that momentum and prove to young girls looking to enter the industry that a successful career is possible. 

“Businesses need to work to lift up women’s voices to continue to encourage women into the sector,” explains Nitzan Yaakov, Data Security Analyst at Aqua Security. “Creating female-led industry events and training programs will go a long way towards reducing the male-dominated appearance of the sector – something which can be very off-putting for young women.”

“Within our team, we encourage female participation in leadership programmes and empower women to spearhead innovation,” adds Samantha Thorne, Head of People at Node4. “These trailblazing women serve as role models to young girls to prove that women can be successful within male-dominated industries. To continue inspiring the next generation and actively engage young girls in STEM subjects, we also work closely with GCSE and Computer Science students at local schools and colleges to provide work experience opportunities and show what a fun and exciting industry it is to work in.”

Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft, discusses the value of mentorships in supporting young women entering the industry: “Mentoring schemes and networking opportunities can supplement professional development opportunities by offering employees the opportunity to connect with other women as they move along their career journey – making progress in such a male-dominated industry much less daunting.”


Bring it to the boardroom

Of course, none of this is possible without support from the people at the top of these businesses. Ensuring diversity is a boardroom discussion is essential for moving closer to an equal and inclusive workforce. 

“I am very fortunate to be part of a company run by a CEO who embraces diversity,” says Anne Tiedemann, SVP People & Investor Relations at Glasswall. “Since 2016, the number of women at Glasswall has grown by 700%. And this continues to increase – we are seeing much more diverse talent pools. When candidates are equal on every technical measure, we make conscious recommendations to balance the team. After all, we have experienced firsthand that a diverse workforce benefits from better collaboration and improved communication.”

Kathryn Barnes, Employment Counsel EMEA at Globalization Partners agrees that “momentum is behind the wheels of change, and I’m inspired to work with Nicole Sahin, a CEO who is paving the way for women in the workplace, and within a company that values diversity and inclusion. This International Women’s Day, more organisations should reflect on how they can create a strong foundation for women to succeed – it will have duplicitous advantages for employees and business alike.”

This International Women’s Day, organisations and individuals should promote and strive for a more equal world. After all, an equal world is an enabled world. 

Branka Subotic, Principal Data Consultant at Ascent, concludes: “Real diversity is much wider than gender alone. We need to work with all young people as they are our future leaders and recruiters. Therefore, the earlier we instil the right values in terms of diversity, the earlier we will start to tackle the problems we see today. Let’s create together a different world, full of opportunities for the next generation.”