INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY - WHAT IT MEANS TO ME AS A WOMAN WORKING IN TECH
With #InternationalWomensDay this Sunday, I have spent some time reflecting on what the day means to me and how that impacts not just the company I work for but the industry as a whole. I think it can mean many things to different people depending on your background and where you work but as a female working in a male-dominated industry, it has a very personal meaning for me.
To begin with, we really need to understand why we are celebrating women, or should I say why we feel the need to have a day to celebrate women in the first place.
Well, it’s simple really, throughout time, women have had to battle their way to an equal life. We have never battled for more rights than men, more jobs or more money. It has always been about equality. The right to vote, the right to enter into legal contracts, the right to be free from sexual violence, the right to work, the right for equal pay, to name but a few. Still today, there are so many stories of women being treated unequally to men, and as a consequence, stories of the people who are standing up and fighting against such inequality.
What I want to do here, is focus on the celebration of women in technology. Well, more importantly, the celebration of all, as equals.
Over the past few months, I have been extremely honoured to be nominated and go on to win two prestigious women in technology awards.
I was named the Women in IT Awards ‘Advocate of the Year 2020’ and one of the TechWomen100 2019. I have been to many award ceremonies throughout my career but attending these ceremonies felt different, in a good way. There was a strong feeling of unity and support for each other. We were celebrating, with genuine happiness for each other’s accomplishments. As women in tech, we all shared similar back stories, similar battles that we have faced, and there we were on a stage being recognised for the hard work and accomplishments we have made. It was a great feeling.
I have to be honest, I have been to other non-technology awards ceremonies and felt out of place and unwelcome. I have been in positions where I have felt judged by both men and women.
I was presented with these awards for the work I do in celebrating women and being an advocate for encouraging women and girls to consider careers in technology. I am so passionate about this because technology is such an amazing industry to be a part of, with so many job opportunities and many companies offering schemes to help mothers get back into work with flexible remote working. More often than not, these women just don’t realise that a career in technology is even an option for them.
This year the International Women’s Day campaign theme is #EachforEqual
An equal world is an enabled world. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world. Let's all be #EachforEqual.’
I applaud this statement. It is spot on. It is completely and solely about being equal. For all of the women out there standing up for equality, there are so many men standing right next to them or on their behalf. Change is certainly heading in the right direction, even though we still have a way to go.
I have worked at Vualto for 7.5 years, the longest time I have ever spent with a company. I feel as a company one of the things we really get right is looking out for each other. We all support each other and want each other to succeed and we have zero tolerance for mistreatment. It feels like a real inclusive team and everyone is on the same side. We are all equal; age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, and political perspectives have no impact on how you are treated and every person’s job is as important as the next. We are all cogs of the same machine, working towards the same goal. It may sound a bit corny but it is exactly how and why we work so well together.
One thing that I feel really passionate about is celebrating each other and recognising when someone is doing a really good job. Day to day life can get so busy that sometimes we can forget to just say well done, you did a great job. I do actively try and do this to recognise when one of my team has worked really hard or produced a really good piece of work, but sometimes life just gets in the way and you get consumed by your own tasks and timelines. It is so important to pay it forward and take the time to recognise other people's accomplishments. Empower each other!
So, winning these awards and being recognised for the hard work that I do is not just a reflection on me, but a reflection of the company I work for and the team around me. Having a supportive employer allows me to have the freedom to express my passion for encouraging women and girls into technology. Having a great team around me means that I don’t need to worry about work whilst focussing on my passion.
So to conclude, for me, International Women’s Day is a day to remember and celebrate all of the amazing women who have fought and all of the amazing women who continue to fight for equality. Ultimately it is about us all coming together and celebrating each other’s achievements. So, pay it forward, celebrate each other, regardless of gender. As the VUALTO value says… We Are People - #EachforEqual #IWD2020