womxnintech, IWD2021, skull mountain...
How can we proactively make a change to achieve equality and inclusion in tech? It's International Women's Day in March and Orbis are dedicating the entire month to celebrating the womxn of Tech and Design. If we want more womxn in tech, we have to do more than want. Our team felt we needed to share stories from the industry, told by voices with first-hand experience. All of the exposure International Women's Day kicks up is critical, not just for our own education as a business, but also to support the exposure of gender equality and inclusion in tech. These stories are not told by a company or PR, or any other bias perspective. These are the real womxn of tech shaking up the industry.
Sophie, what was your personal career journey into the tech industry?
Since graduating from University in 2019, I dove straight into my Marketing career as a Marketing Assistant at a local online retail company. I gained so much valuable experience in this job and coming straight from University with a degree in Anthropology and African Studies, I had a LOT to learn. A year and a half later, I relocated mid-pandemic to Sunny Suffolk and was looking for a new role that would help broaden my expertise. This is where I found Rokker and The Rokker Network, who offered me a job as their Marketing Manager. A daunting step up, but a hell of an exciting one.
What do you think leaders could do to help support gender equality within their teams?
I think one of the main things leaders can do is to remove the taboo. Gender equality is no longer a hushed topic and acting as though it is, means that people will continue to walk on eggshells around it. In The Rokker Network, discussions on equality and diversity are widely encouraged and individuals’ successes are praised, regardless of their gender. If your leaders are scared of the conversation, they are scared of facing it. The Rokker Network’s membership with the Global Equality Collective (GEC) allows us to have a regular say in how each of the companies are treating their employees and evaluate the access that the employees have to the resources they need to feel safe.
Widening that point, what could businesses do to accommodate women in tech and retain female talent?
The next step from conversations about gender and diversity in the workplace, is seeing actual progressive change. In turn, this shows that the employees are being listened to. For example, following one of the surveys from the GEC, The Rokker Network was able to highlight some grey areas in the company policies, such as where to find them and who to go to if such problem occurs. The diversity and inclusion team were able to update and modernise these policies, including adding a female representative for reporting Sexual Harassment in the workplace. It is one thing to say that your workplace is inclusive, but another thing to actively encourage bringing your business into the 21st century - that’s what I love about my company! Ask yourself, could your company tell you what they’ve done to accommodate gender equality in the workplace in the last year?
What are your top 3 tips for women looking to break into tech or progress from their current position into a tech role?
1. Don’t let the stereotypes put you off. I came from a small office of 8 women in my last role and was intimidated by the idea of leaving this safety blanket when coming to Rokker. In my mind, the tech and gaming industry was dominated by men and I had pictured strict offices of men in suits and women falling short of the top roles. Nevertheless, this was obviously not the case and have met so many incredibly talented people along the way.
2. Love what you do. You should never be in a job just because it pays the bills. Enjoy what you do and come away from a day at working feeling accomplished and satisfied. Yes, it’s okay to have bad days (that’s very normal – especially in a pandemic!) but that underlying passion for the job should really be a driving force.
3. Say yes more often to opportunities. Build your skillset by saying yes to more things that come your way. The pandemic has especially widened accessibility to online webinars, assessments, and tools to strengthen your CV.
In tribute to IWD’s 2021 campaign, what do you choose to challenge?
I choose to challenge peoples stereotypes of the tech and gaming industries. Ideally, stereotypes in general. Stereotypes are not progressive and can deter people from fulfilling their career in fear of not fitting the role. Be confident in what you’re capable of and prove it!
Fancy joining the discussion?
Orbis Connect are hosting various events dedicated to IWD and womxn in tech across March 2021.
Please join us.
Sign up here