IWD and why gender equality matters.

Inspiretec proudly support International Women's Day 2020.

By Helen Baldwin6th March 2020

#EachforEqual.

Yesterday, the UN published  a new report, the Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) which analysed data from 75 countries that are home to over 80% of the global population. Whilst gender equality is not a new concern, it’s clear that society has a long way to go with the report highlighting that 90% of men and even 86% of women hold at least some sort of bias against women.

Equality and diversity matter at Inspiretec – it’s a core ethos for us, and we’re proud to nurture, empower and recognise the unique skills, experience and qualities that our female employees bring.  We support International Women’s Day as it raises awareness of the ingrained and often ignored bias in our economic, political and cultural society.

This Sunday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day - a global day celebrating the achievements of women. Clara Setkin, leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, proposed an idea of an International Women’s Day way back in 1910.

Subsequently the movement has gained significant momentum and in 1977 the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.

Women in tech.

When you think of famous people in the tech industry the first names that are most common are men; Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook and Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft. You don’t often think of Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM and Susan Wojcicki, CEO of Youtube.

According to a report by The World Data Bank women represent about 40% of the global workforce, yet in tech there is a clear male bias with typically less than a third of tech employees being female. Women also leave the tech industry at a 45% higher rate than men, the reasons for this include limited advancement in roles, the culture and lack of female role models. 

The good news is that there is a long history of women changing technology for the better. During the cold war, pioneers like Katherine Johnson contributed to NASA’s space human computer programme  “the computer wore a skirt” was a phrase coined during the time, a gender bias statement if there ever was one!

Katherine was able to overcome the obstacles of gender and race, and become a figurehead of change at NASA by being one of the first women invited into male dominated meetings where she delivered key calculations for the space programme.

In her retirement Katherine was an advocate for young people taking up STEM subjects and encouraged them in their chosen field. Katherine Johnson sadly passed away on February 24th at the age of 101. Her life is a rich tapestry of accolades, awards and her legacy will be one of inspiration for many generations of women who break down stereotypes in the workplace.

Inspiretec women.

According to research undertaken by PWC, 15% of people working in STEM roles in the UK are female and only 5% of leadership positions in the technology sector are held by women. 

Furthermore in a report by Tech Nation the average percentage of female board members in UK tech companies was just 22%. Whilst we have a long way to go, and gender balance statistics are only the tip of the iceberg, we’re pleased with our own progress to make general equality changes in our own business. As of today, 33% of the Inspiretec team are female – the majority in technical roles, so well above the average for the tech industry and 40% of our Executive board members are female.

Some final thoughts.

There is still a lot to be done. We encourage other tech businesses to adopt a policy of marginal gains – looking for the little improvements first, and discount the inevitable bias thinking around gender.

We’ve also recently engaged with a local high school to try and address some of the main misconceptions around tech as a career – especially in the school classroom, with a focus on encouraging female pupils to consider tech as an option.

We’re really proud of IWD, delighted to be part of it and look forward to seeing it continue to break down barriers, change opinions and achieve gender equality in society. #EachforEqual