Celebrating International Women’s Day this year was bittersweet. It’s wonderful to be part of an event that’s so widely adopted. It’s an occasion to talk up all the wonderful women we know and work with—and goodness me there are many—to raise awareness of how far we still have to go in workforce gender equality, and talk about how to get there. But it’s also a reminder that it’s 2020 and we still live in a world without equality, not just in gender.
We know that having different experiences and different backgrounds helps us think about situations and problems in a unique way, which ultimately means better outcomes. So this year, in your conversations about gender inequality, consider equality and inclusion from all aspects, for example gender and race and sexual orientation.
And when looking at what’s behind gender diversity and some of the solutions to moving the needle, there are lessons for inclusivity more broadly. Inclusion is an issue that’s multi-layered, complex and compounding, regardless of the group being talked about. Exclusion or stereotypes that drive groupings and inequality in our society start young, at school age, and perpetuate into the workplace.
At DiUS, we recognise our responsibility to create a future-fit workforce, a diverse workforce that’s equipped with the tech skills needed to drive a bright future for Australia. We sponsor social enterprises like Code like a Girl to have an impact on encouraging more women to enter the tech industry. We also support our people with time to volunteer at initiatives like Code Club and Flying Robot School to encourage more school-aged children to consider a career in tech.
We also need to turn our attention to what’s happening inside DiUS. We have a pretty engaged workforce, a very strong culture, and a diversity of racial backgrounds. We’re really passionate at DiUS about having an environment where everyone can feel accepted as an individual and valued for the contribution they make.
But, like many others, we have to admit that there’s more effort needed in driving equality in our business, particularly around gender diversity. We are sure that a lot of us feel this way, that we could be doing more. DiUS is committed to working through a new, more focused and collaborative diversity plan this year to help drive some change. We need more awareness. More attention. More strategies.
We decided a great way to start would be through driving awareness with IWD-focused events in Sydney and Melbourne.
Ally Watson, CEO and Founder of Code like a Girl came and spoke to some of our Sydney team and clients about her experiences of being the only girl in her tech teams and what drove her to start Code like a Girl, followed by a special screening of the documentary ‘Losing Lena’. It was an inspiring event that made us all think about how deeply gender inequality is baked into the technology ecosystem.
In Melbourne we had a panel discussion on gender diversity to generate some conversation around the underlying issues. We posed three questions:
- Why is gender equality important?
- Why is it an issue for men as well as women?
- What’s an example of gender inequality that you’ve witnessed?
We reflected after the event and realised that our awareness of the problem is high and we understand the importance of solving it. However, while a lot of our people can easily recognise situations where inequality presents itself, some didn’t feel confident about what to do or say. What is the best way to draw attention to what was happening and call it out, with the aim of preventing it from happening again.
So our next step is have some conversations with our people about diversity, understand further what we can do to help our team feel confident to provide feedback, and dive deep into where we need to focus our attention to do more. This will help provide the basis of our new diversity plan. We look forward to driving change in this area.