From gender pay gaps to the lack of female representation on executive boards in the UK, real equality has not been achieved.
This gender gap is particularly prominent within the male-dominated technology industry. Only 31 per cent of the UK tech workforce are female and as little as five per cent of leadership roles within the technology sector are held by women. With this in mind, for Women’s Equality Day WeAreTheCity spoke to five technology experts about the hurdles faced by women in the industry and what businesses can do to remove these obstacles for their current and future female employees.
Despite the great strides that have been made over the past few decades, gender inequality is still prevalent today. Women’s Equality Day provides the opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made and evaluate how far we have yet to go.
“Women’s Equality Day makes me think about the paths that have been laid, the ones we’re fighting for, and the battles that we won’t be able to finish. The right to vote, the CEO position, equal pay, body autonomy, the presidency – there are a million and one fights we’ve had, and have to have on the long, splintered road to equality. Each battle won is another brick laid down for future generations to walk further, so that humanity can evolve,” explains Kate Bachman, Director of Partner Communications at ConnectWise.
“I worry that we are not advancing that road fast enough. I know brilliant, talented and wonderful women who have pushed throughout their careers and I see them consistently held to higher standards, only to be paid less. Being expected to perform better and more consistently, yet not have the title. To be shamed for showing up as a whole person and not this ‘ideal employee’ made in the image of a 1950s white collar, middle class male. Yes, this day is about celebrating how far we have come, but it should also be a day that we remember with fury that there are more battles to win so that those who we mentor, those who we raise don’t have to have the same fights we have today.”
Hugh Scantlebury, Founder and CEO at Aqilla adds, “National Women’s Equality Day celebrates the day American women won the right to vote. With the world’s eyes on Afghanistan and the troubling questions about the extent to which women’s rights will be protected, the day takes on a whole new level of significance. Here in the UK, we can all play our part in helping to further enshrine equality in our society — and call out any instances of discrimination that we see.”
Women’s Equality Day gives business leaders the chance to reflect on what they could be doing better to encourage gender equality within the technology industry and how they can provide support and opportunities for their female employees.
Simple changes, like encouraging women to become mentors, can make a huge difference in supporting women to integrate and flourish in male-dominated industries, as Diane Albano, Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer at Globalization Partners, explains: “The short and long term challenges of professional life are almost always easier to address when women have a mentor to turn to. Similarly, women that can become mentors are vital to help offer invaluable guidance to others as their careers develop. The IT industry needs many more of them.”
“Secondly, women should be encouraged to choose a career path that suits their skillset, interests, and passions. In many cases, this can mean pursuing roles that are still male dominated, but breaking traditional barriers needs female trailblazers to follow their ambitions with an assertive, confident, and vocal attitude.”
Liz Cook, Chief People Officer at Six Degrees agrees, “at Six Degrees, we have established a Women in Tech (WIT) group led by one of our senior female leaders, to provide our women with a forum to connect, share experiences and support each other as we progress through our careers. We want to change the language and challenge the barriers faced by women in tech. I believe all businesses should consider creating a WIT group to drive success by providing women with the support they may need to progress their careers and ensure we can retain women in careers within IT.”
“Opportunities are not one-size-fits-all, nor should they be. As you navigate throughout life, do not let others dissuade you from your passions or ideas. Women did not get where we are today by following the status-quo. We took the reins and created our own path, and will continue to do so until equality is truly achieved,” concludes Nicola Kinsella, VP Global Marketing, Fluent Commerce.
“Remember to be champions for each other. Be the change you want to see. It is up to us to empower the next generation of women in all industries to pursue their dreams and demand equality. Today, on Women’s Equality Day—and everyday—I encourage all women to speak their minds, continue to seek new experiences, learning opportunities and adventures, and advocate for other women in your lives—both professionally and personally.”
Today (26 August) marks Women’s Equality Day in the US. On 26th August 1920 women in the USA celebrated as the country officially saw the nineteenth amendment to the constitution adopted, so that no woman would ever be denied the right to vote based on gender.
In the spirit of this historical milestone towards gender equality, and to honour the spirit of the day, WeAreTheCity have rounded up inspiring women pushing for equality, thought pieces and news from the day.