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Break the bias

Break the bias

International Women's Day 2022

According to the Australian Computer Society report 2021, women make less than one third of employees in the tech sector despite women holding more than half of the jobs in Australia. More than half of non-tech workers (55%) have moved into the sector since the pandemic, but only 3% of girls and women say a career in technology is their first choice.

This International Women’s Day, we want to #BreakTheBias, remove barriers, and celebrate the intelligent and strong women in our industry, starting with those in our team. Meet Mia and Hayley. We’ve conducted a short interview with them to learn what they have to say about being a #womanintech:

 

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In my experience, I felt like it was more of a perception of inequality or social discomfort from being a minority.  I’m constantly surprised that there aren’t more women in IT because none of the historical stereotypes of other male-dominated industries are in play here (Eg ‘heavy’ or ‘dirty’ work).  If you’re a woman considering it… come join us!

– Mia, Project Manager

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As I progress in my career in IT as a technician/engineer, I find the biggest challenge for me is the assumption that I have little tech knowledge or I am admin or the receptionist, because I am a female.

– Hayley, Customer Success / Service Desk Support

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Hayley: In a way, yes it has exacerbated gender inequality issues, noticeably as a mother. In isolation, if children can’t attend daycare/school, women are still expected to parent like they don’t work and work like they aren’t a parent. If the father is also home, too often the balance isn’t the same for them. In saying that, it has also been beneficial. Flexible work arrangements have been easier on families and their busy schedules.

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Mia: I haven’t felt that Covid-19 has made any negative impact to gender issues in our industry.  On the contrary, the IT industry has particularly benefited by its suitability to the working-from-home culture that has and is still being adopted as a new world-wide norm.  It’s helped us all to realise that there are  ways to work productively with flexi hours and varied locations.  These can solve a variety of challenges that allows women and mothers to maintain work-life and family commitments.

 

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Mia: Empowering people in general is a beautiful culture to encourage, in the workplace, at home or anywhere.  It’s additionally welcome to foster connections in the workplace between women who identify with each other, and the shared challenges they face, either in home life, at work, or the space between.  Years ago, in a remote and almost 100% male-dominated industry, it was a female colleague that empowered me to redirect from generic admin and operations management toward a project management and IT focus.  She was younger than me, but strong, vibrant and super-switched on mentor that nurtured my skills and interests and encouraged me to follow a new path she could see suited my personality. That kind of empowerment makes the world of difference, and each of us can offer that to our colleagues.

Hayley: Professional women can empower each other by having a voice – celebrating each other’s achievements, recommending each other within our male dominated industries and being vocal about how women are integral to a cohesive workforce. We need to overcome the archaic mentality of it being a “man’s world” and continue to show time and time again that we are just as worthy of any role or position a man would be considered for.

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Mia: Tech companies can make a difference to who and how women are placed in the industry.  Worry less about global statistics, and just ensure it’s happening where you can make a difference, right now.  It’s critical to take a look at your workplace dynamics and employee stats.  Are you living by stereotypes?  Do you have a high percentage of men in management, and women in admin?  Are there age stereotypes occurring that are not necessary?  Do you have a work-life balance that addresses parenthood and career progression?  There’s plenty of strong candidates out there to choose from, so just make sure you’re considering cultural balance when considering the strengths each candidate can bring to your team.

Hayley: While the International Women’s Day creates an opportunity to send a message to everyone about what they can to build a more gender equal world, it needs to be a commitment all day, every day. Employing women without prejudice and providing equal opportunities, all of these will help to remove the “glass ceiling” and allow females to be successful in their own terms.