‘Better the balance, better the world’ is the mantra for International Women’s Day 2019 that takes place this Friday 8th March. Since our passion is changing the world one job at a time, the Pontoon team is celebrating IWD with a short series of blogs on the topic of bettering the balance.
We’ve chosen the tech industry as our focus this year since representation of females in the sector is just 17%. In the second of our series of stories, we interview Anne Reddaway, a senior project manager about her career, leading by example and getting beyond techno-speak:
How do you feel we can inspire women into the workplace?
I think there is a role for those of us already here to lead by example, both as individuals and as part of our organisations – and to share those success stories. I’ve also found networking events to be valuable in terms of meeting other women who hold similar roles or roles to which I aspire.
There is a role for business leaders too; if businesses want to increase the number of women in senior positions in technology companies, they need to take steps to ensure they have the right talent management programmes in place to support a diverse talent base.
With only 17% of the technology workforce identifying as female, have there been any particular challenges that you have had to overcome?
I find ‘techno-speak’ difficult to get to grips with. People often talk in acronyms to ‘prove’ they understand the latest technologies. I don’t feel it is necessary to always speak in terms that are difficult to understand. Speaking in more layman’s terms may encourage more women to involve themselves in technological careers. It is possible to makes sure your voice is heard and your opinions considered as valid as others without resorting to jargon.
Do you feel you have been subject to bias (unconscious or direct) and do you feel that attitudes are changing?
There have been a number of occasions in previous employment where I felt my voice wasn’t heard or my opinions were considered less important than those of male colleagues. I like to think attitudes are changing but there are still some people who are difficult to convince that women can play a vital role in technology.
Why is it important for people who identify as women to be part of technology?
In the traditionally male dominated world of technology, we need to increase the number of women currently in the sector so that we can inspire and encourage more, younger women to be part of it in the future.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be afraid of technology. Get involved at school or college and don’t believe it is a ‘men only’ world.
The business case for gender diversity is clear. Research by McKinsey & Company shows that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.
At Pontoon, we believe that fostering a culture where everyone can reach their full potential is the key to business success. We know that an inclusive work environment has an impact on the bottom line and we’re proud to support the goals of IWD by showcasing role models in a sector where women are underrepresented.
We hope Anne’s thought-provoking insight and advice offers up some food for thought on how you approach gender diversity in your organisation, and we’ll be continuing this series in our third and final #balanceforbetter post later this week.
To keep up to date with how we’re supporting IWD, and changing the world of work, one job at a time, follow us @PontoonSolution.