Driving Gender Diversity Within The Workplace
As organisations we all talk about valuing diversity & inclusion, however, looking at the bigger picture, what are we actually doing to influence & impact? Are we setting measurable goals & allocating resources? Practising what we preach?
“Only one per cent of all technical development managers for start-ups in the Nordic countries are women” …This is the harsh reality we currently face.
Diversity plays a key element in progressing and innovating business’s development & creativity. On my ever-evolving quest to drive diversity & inspire within the tech space, I’ve been having some really great conversations (with men & women) on ideas we can all embrace to help make a difference.
First things first…Start from the top:
Collaboration & empowerment are all things we value, encourage in our own teams, so let’s take the same approach with diversity & inclusion. This has to be a team effort!
Empathetic leadership is key, management should be supporting, backing & openly speaking about this topic. There is no quick fix & unfortunately, a click of our fingers won’t automate this. Checklists at the ready…you will need a plan of action, committed team, passion for the topic & of course budgeting for resources…it’s time to round up the troops!
What can companies do? Time for some ideas…
Internal Inclusion Network
Did you know Fifty-six percent of women in tech are leaving their employers mid-career? Establishing a gender inclusion network is a great starting point to nurturing the diversity you already have.
Organising monthly networking events, having influential leaders in the business make presentations on their career journeys & perception of diversity, Q&A sessions, book clubs, with a female lead approach (yet being inclusive to all genders and backgrounds in the business) can really make a difference. Knowing you have a support system is key!
I’ve got the first-hand experience of being the only female employee in my first ever job. I remember thinking, if I want to start a family, does it all end here? How do I manage the long working hours while balancing family life? All while striving to be a person of influence. It felt like there was no one to turn to & share ideas/experience for these types of situations that we as women, go through.
Approach to job advertisements
You are probably very familiar with the quote “Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them”
Moving forward it’s important to be mindful in our approach to recruitment & job advertisements. Using certain words can reflect social stereotypes…without us even realising!
An incredible Scandinavian based business, Develop Diverse, have created a platform that focuses on removing stereotypes in recruitment and communication content to make all the language inclusive. Companies have seen an increase by up to 20% of women applicants, pretty cool!?!
Check out their CEO’s awesome Tedx Talks on gender bias: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-px4IXm8JQ
Elementary/High school partnerships
At a young age, we look for role models we can relate to. Educating the younger generation & giving visibly of more females succeeding in tech careers, can empower and help inspire to model themselves after those successful women.
Let’s encourage women representatives of our organisations (leaders, data scientists, developers, designers, you name it!) to make presentations to elementary/high schools on their education & career journey, sharing real-life examples on how their work is making an impact to the organisation or even society! The world’s first computer programmer was Ada Lovelace, let’s be educating & celebrating this more.
As organisations, offering female-focused ‘Work experience programmes’ to high schools can be a fantastic way to inspire girls about a future in tech. This should be paired with women representatives of the companies acting as mentor/buddies throughout the scheme, again providing relatable role models.
It’s all about motivation! Let’s give the younger generation an insight into how incredible & fun the tech space really is, breaking the ‘stereotypes.’
The truth is, we still have a long way to go, but let’s get there together!
These are only a few of the initiatives I’ve been exploring as of recent. My own personal mission to increase the level of women I’m representing, as it’s a topic very close to my heart. Would love to hear your ideas on initiatives that we as individuals or companies can embrace to help drive diversity & inclusion.
By Ellie King - Principal Talent Partner - Data / AI - Nordics