International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the successes we have seen to date, but also an opportunity to highlight how important it is that we must all continue to press for progress.
Bringing more women on board
Although women represent 47 per cent of the whole UK workforce, they only make up 17 per cent when you look at the technology workforce. That’s shocking – not least when you consider that the UK currently has as a large and growing digital skills gap.
Further to this, developing more diverse work cultures isn’t just ‘the right thing to do’. Diversity breeds creativity. By encouraging women to enter and thrive in the tech industry at all levels, we can become more robust, more competitive, more innovative and, of course, more inclusive.
Many businesses have initiatives to address gender parity, but they often work in silos. We’ve got to work together to shift the balance and look at every stage of the pipeline – attracting children into tech, retaining them and supporting the progression of women throughout their tech careers as well as bringing men into that conversation.
Women must feel they can progress through a business. The Tech Talent Charter asks organisations to commit to a set of undertakings that aim to deliver greater diversity in the UK tech workforce, better reflecting the make-up of the population. A vital tenet of the Charter is that companies must commit to measuring the diversity across their own business so that we can measure success and make more impactful, measurable changes as an industry for the future.
Returning to work
Finally, I’d also like to highlight returners. Estimates suggest that almost two million women in the UK are currently economically inactive due to caring commitments, and 76 per cent of professional women on career breaks want to return to work.
There are many initiatives helping women who want to return to work, but they may not be reaching the right audiences. The techUK Returners Hub brings tools from different companies together, so returners can be empowered to step back into the tech sector.
We must continue to #PressforProgress so that women are not left behind as technology, and the skills needed to thrive in this sector, develop at speed. By continuing to grow, support and develop initiatives already in place within the tech sector, we can make a real difference and make our society, and our workplaces, more fair and equal. We can win the race for equality together.