For International Women’s Day, we rallied together some of the wonderful women at Onalytica, to learn about their experiences of being a woman in tech, and their views on what changes need to happen to #EmbraceEquity.
Making real change happen is so much bigger than a blog, some quotes and a dedicated day, but we can make a start by raising awareness and discussing the faults in the system that are still with us to this day. Together, we can make change happen – so let’s get talking!
“Surely, in the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try. For one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, ‘It can’t be done.'” Eleanor Roosevelt
What kind of advancements have you seen in the workplace over the last 10 years?
“I haven’t been working in the industry long, but looking back at my mum’s career in particular, a stand out change has been maternity leave. The advancements have been huge and it’s a great step in encouraging women in the work place, and not assuming that they will leave work once they’ve had children.” Mairead Smith, Demand Generation Manager
“I’ve only been working for four years, but I think we have seen more openness of discussions around salary, pushing women for high ranking positions, and the establishment of focussed charities and businesses that target areas with large gaps in male & female employees (like tech).” Charlotte Elsy, Influencer Relations Manager & CSR Lead
“Movement towards equal pay for women – we are not there yet but we are moving in the right direction! Additionally, understanding of child care responsibilities (both for women and men).” Aalisha Chand, VP of Customer Success
“I have seen more women in leadership roles as well as becoming valued members or teams within each company I’ve worked for.” Dreux Thibeault, Customer Success Manager
“More opportunities, women speaking up more, as well as an increased number of female managers and CEOs.” Elly Horsey, Human Resources Manager
What more needs to happen?
“More in the maternity leave subject, a step that needs to happen is more policies around Paternity leave. The gap between rights for men and women here is huge and doesn’t reflect well on women’s opportunities as it leaves them being the primary care giver and men have no option but to continue working. Companies that consider this and implement equal policies become much more attractive to work for.” Mairead Smith, Demand Generation Manager
“More mentoring/mentorship schemes for females across all different areas across the business. I think Onalytica do very well in this aspect, having a regular forum for feedback or praise. This is not so enforced in other companies, especially larger ones.” Rebecca Ward, Insights Manager
“Continued change from the top of businesses down – more female board members, C-Suites, VPs, to help create a different dynamic for those not in Senior Management positions. Continued removal of inappropriate behaviour towards women that isn’t requited which almost everyone I know has had to deal with in a workplace.” Charlotte Elsy, Influencer Relations Manager & CSR Lead
“Focus on efficiency as opposed to glorifying overwork. More flexibility to work from home. At least 6 months’ maternity leave across the board – unfortunately some countries do not provide any support in this regard. More networking opportunities for women. More open discussion on challenges women face in the workplace and how to overcome them.” Aalisha Chand, VP of Customer Success
“More of the above and more women in tech roles – it’s still very much a male dominated industry – I would love to see more female developers and CTOs. I jump for joy when I see a female developer’s CV come through as it’s still rare.” Elly Horsey, Human Resources Manager
What does Embrace Equity mean to you?
“Not just embracing but acknowledging it. Those who acknowledge the past hardships that women face and embrace change make the most noise and feel most genuine.” Mairead Smith, Demand Generation Manager
“I guess it is not just believing in ‘equality’ but doing more than that – it’s pioneering it, speaking up and enforcing it wherever it needs it, behaving in a way that demonstrates this belief every day.” Rebecca Ward, Insights Manager
“Create an environment where you don’t have to look at people by their gender, everyone is simply equal within the relevant teams and bands of employees. An example would be a difference in salary based on experience, rather than men receiving more (because they are generally more likely to push for more). Creating an environment where women feel seen and heard by and amongst male employees and SMT will help to push equity further throughout businesses.” Charlotte Elsy, Influencer Relations Manager & CSR Lead
“Equal pay for all. Equal opportunity to network. More inclusive discussions at work – especially when you see a member of the opposite sex or a different background/ethnicity/country. Not holding people to different standards. When a woman is very direct, to the point and candid she is often viewed as being aggressive, cold, harsh, while men are viewed as being strong and assertive – this perception needs to change!” Aalisha Chand, VP of Customer Success
“To me, embrace equity means that each person is deserving of being given the tools and opportunities that they specifically need to succeed. Previous barriers that have excluded certain groups from succeeding need to be removed. “Equality is the goal and Equity is the means to get there.” Dreux Thibeault, Customer Success Manager
“Fairness in all areas of life with equal opportunity.” Elly Horsey, Human Resources Manager
What advice would you give to your younger self?
“Use your voice, don’t shy away from difficult conversations and be confident in what you do!” Mairead Smith, Demand Generation Manager
“Push yourself to be out of your comfort zone frequently as this builds confidence in your abilities. Being vulnerable and communicating how you feel honestly is not a weakness but a strength. Practise how you would like to deliver conversations! I used to go into meetings/appraisals having not prepared at all or practised what it is you want to get across – this is so important and so useful for effective communication but also confidence. The best way to learn is by making mistakes. Pushing boundaries/pushing back is important. Back yourself – if you don’t, no one else will!” Rebecca Ward, Insights Manager
“Don’t let employers treat you in a way that’s different to how you know they treat male employees – stand up for yourself more and call them out on their behaviour.” Charlotte Elsy, Influencer Relations Manager & CSR Lead
“Be more confident in terms of what you would like to achieve and ask for it.” Aalisha Chand, VP of Customer Success
“I would tell my younger self to stay driven and committed to whatever I want to accomplish. Whether its it my career, or in my personal life, I can accomplish whatever I put my mind to if I stick to it!” Dreux Thibeault, Customer Success Manager
“Be kinder to yourself, take more risks. It’s ok to fail – you learn so much from your mistakes.” Elly Horsey, Human Resources Manager
What is it like being a Woman in Tech or what advice do you have for women wanting to get into STEM/Tech?
“Go for it! Just because it isn’t always encouraged at a younger age doesn’t mean it isn’t for you.” Mairead Smith, Demand Generation Manager
“Can feel quite daunting and overwhelming in a male-dominated industry, but this is why it is so important to support & praise your female colleagues, also going back to my point on mentoring. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the encouragement from a senior woman in the business who pushed me to go for promotion, so this is hugely important in my eyes and by doing so it benefits the business too.” Rebecca Ward, Insights Manager
“Find a mentor or charity that will help you get into Tech and provide guidance on the type of subjects/degrees/jobs you can find within tech that might not lie within what you think of as tech – there are thousands of roles that people aren’t aware of as we aren’t taught it in schools, so research and talking to relevant people will help to improve knowledge on this.” Charlotte Elsy, Influencer Relations Manager & CSR Lead
“Challenging in a largely male dominated environment. In the past I was fortunate to have the support of my manager who was a lady and who helped me get visibility with the Leadership in my previous company which initially was hard. Sometimes men feel they can cut you off or talk over you in a meeting. You sometimes feel you have to overdeliver and work harder in order to be taken as seriously as your male peers. And for advice – do not try to conform to male standards, be confident in yourself as a woman. Embrace your femininity! Support and encourage other women in your team and across your team wherever possible. ” Aalisha Chand, VP of Customer Success
“I love being a woman in tech! The number of women in the industry continues to rise each year and I don’t think that will slow down! For women wanting to get into STEM, my advice would be to know your worth. Don’t hesitate to bring new ideas to the table. Every woman deserves to have a seat at the table!” Dreux Thibeault, Customer Success Manager
“My advice would be if that’s what you want to do GO FOR IT! Don’t accept the word No. There is so much more opportunity, be confident and have faith in your abilities, keep learning and networking!” Elly Horsey, Human Resources Manager