Happy International Women’s Day, from Babel PR
Why International Women’s Day?
Today – Tuesday 8th March 2022 – marks the 111th global International Women’s Day and it remains as relevant as it did a century ago. ‘Why?’ – you might ask. It can sometimes be easy to miss or overlook the gender inequality that still exists today, especially when we have grown up in a seemingly progressive society.
The last couple of years have demonstrated that our work is far from over. Reports show that the pandemic has set women’s progress back decades. Meanwhile, women’s rights are under threat across the globe, and the multitude of humanitarian crises occurring worldwide disproportionately impact women. International Women’s Day was created in 1911 with the intention to commemorate the achievements of women and voice the urgent need to accelerate gender parity. These intentions remain equally as poignant today.
Women in tech
One of the missions of International Women’s Day this year is to ‘improve equality for women in tech’ – to elevate and advance gender parity in technology and celebrate the women forging innovation. According to PWC’s UK research report on women in tech, only 5% of leadership positions in the technology sector are held by women. Similarly, PWC also reported that only 27% of female respondents said they would consider a career in technology, compared to 62% of males. These statistics illustrate the gender gap within this sector.
I witnessed this gender gap just last week when I had the privilege of attending the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona – the biggest telecoms trade show of the year. The event was extraordinary, but I couldn’t help but notice that my female colleagues and I were in the minority by a large margin. As I made my way through the bustling halls teeming with industry executives and the latest telecoms technology, it was glaringly obvious that men dominated this industry and women could be found amongst the crowds few and far between.
Not discouraged or intimidated, this only ignited the ambition in me to be an outspoken advocate for women in tech, and encourage others to do the same. But it is not surprising that many women are deterred from this industry by the notable lack of female peers, leading them to consider a different career path and further exacerbating the cycle of gender disparity. This experience both inspired me and served as a glaring reminder to me that we still have a long way to go…
…which leads me to my next point: You can’t be what you can’t see. The shortage of female role models within tech (and almost all industries) is a major barrier to women entering these fields of work. Representation matters. Seeing yourself represented, particularly in areas of leadership, is one of the fundamental steps to encouraging women into the workforce and in striving for those positions at the top.
This is what I love about working at Babel. Women make up a strong proportion of our leadership positions: our co-founder and COO, managing director, and two out of our three directors are all females. Seeing this representation is one of the key reasons I chose to apply for a role at Babel. Still new to the tech / PR industry, and to the world of work in general, it is a blessing to have so many positive role models around me that I can look up to and seek guidance from. This has given me the courage to believe that I too, can achieve.
I count myself lucky to be surrounded by women who inspire me every day. But the reality is, representation shouldn’t be a privilege that you are ‘lucky’ to have – it should be the reality everywhere. To encourage more women into the tech sector, we need to give them greater access to role models and mentors at every level. We must amplify the voices of existing role models around us and promote more women to leading positions.
Women at work
Not only is representation important to improve gender quality, but accommodation is also equally so. To bring more women on board, the technology sector must be an attractive and inclusive working environment. At Babel, accommodating our employee’s individual needs and commitments is especially important to us. We offer flexible working arrangements (including remote working, extended lunch hours, and the option to work on flexi-time), as well as wellbeing leave. We also provide support to any team members who wish to work from home on a more ad hoc basis. These perks are beneficial to all of our team members, but particularly those with familial commitments outside work.
Policies such as these are accommodating to different circumstances, and are the solutions that will help women reach their full potential within their careers.
As was reported in 2020, we are 100 years away from achieving gender equality. While this statistic is scary, see this as a call to action: a call to admire and celebrate the incredible women around you that inspire you, whilst calling out bias and inequality where it exists.
The more we encourage one other, and challenge stigma and discrimination, the more we can #BreakThe Bias and foster a more inclusive world. This is what International Women’s Day is for.