International Women’s Day is a fantastic opportunity to pause and reflect on the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the globe. Since the early 1990’s, March 8 has been a day of celebration and a call for gender equality.
I recently attended a diversity Meetup and was listening to a group of very impressive leaders from various corporates talk about the different diversity strategies that organisations have - how they will increase the number of women in the workforce, the tactics to get more women in senior leadership roles, the maturity of metrics and targets used, and the pats on the back for a job well done in shifting their gender balance upward of about 2%.
Have we really moved the needle?
But we found ourselves questioning - have we really moved the needle? The reality is, most of these practices have not made a huge difference to our gender aspirations over the last 10 years. Yes, we talk about it a lot, and it’s a strategic focus for leadership teams, but the data is pretty clear - for all of our efforts, we haven’t yet cracked the nut.
Maybe we need to provide more opportunity. Maybe we need to tighten our recruitment practice. Maybe we need to invest in childcare facilities. Or maybe we need to think of it differently. Diversity planning in the workforce has traditionally been about the minority groups as a point of difference. But if women make up 51% of the population, surely it’s not an issue of minority (we have the numbers!) and it instead becomes an issue of equality.
It’s all about mindset and bias
So, how can we challenge our mindset and own bias? It’s not just management teams, and it’s not just the workplace - we all individually play a part; in our mindset, our beliefs and our bias. It’s reframing in the littlest ways that can set us up for success in the next generation.
When my daughter asks me why I have to go to work instead of staying home and playing, I no longer respond with a cheeky “so I can make money and buy you lots of pretty dresses” - harmless, right? Nope. I need to consciously respond in a way that teaches her about chasing passion and drive, learning and growing, doing meaningful work, and creating self worth and value.
Diverse teams create better outcomes
We know what the research says - diverse teams create better work and produce better business outcomes. In my field, gender diversity is one of the top priorities. In every role in my career and at every organisation I have worked for, we have been pushing for change. And I was pleased as punch when I discovered DiUS isn’t any different.
We are committed to helping grow our talent pools and support more women entering the tech industry. We are committed to hiring more women. We are committed to ensuring women have the same opportunities as men to learn, grow and progress their careers. We embrace the diversity of all our people and strive for equality - everyone has a voice and everyone deserves to be heard.
In my short time at DiUS, I’ve been working my way through the business, getting to know our consultants and getting an understanding about what we do and how we do it, as well as what makes our consultants so proud to work here. I’ve discovered the passion that exists in doing our part to help solve this issue in the tech industry. From the facilitation of gender diversity panels, to hosting open innovation events to presenting at external events - we are focused on supporting women to succeed in the workforce and move from technical training and education into the corporate world.
We are committed, but we can always do more
The initiatives we have in supporting women to establish a career in our industry really impresses me. Plugging into education is so critical, and I have loved hearing about all the different ways we do this - hack day projects to get younger people into STEM-based courses, Flying Robot School, Code like a Girl, Rails Girls - just to name a few! It is so amazing that our consultants all value and rate this work, and I am jazzed that as a HR professional, I don’t need to convince them - they already know! Culture plays a big role in hindering or helping this issue, and I believe we not only have a really mature and sophisticated diversity mindset, but we are actively working within ourselves and our community to make a difference.
Could we do more? Sure, there always room for more, and part of our culture is to continually strive for improvement.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day this week, lets acknowledge our hard work - there is a lot to be proud of and we have come along way in our dialogue. We do amazing work at DiUS and have a team of people who are open and willing to make a difference, and advocate the importance of diversity. Let’s also continue to challenge ourselves and strive for the better - what difference are you going to make?
#BeBoldForChange this International Women’s day.