“Diversity in all its forms is, in my eyes, the silver bullet of success”

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This International Women’s Day, it’s important to recognise the contributions of women across all industries, but especially in the fields of technology and transformation where gender parity remains stunted. While progress is being made, there is still a long way to go. Women continue to face obstacles and challenges in male-dominated industries and so the theme of IWD this year is #EmbraceEquity.

It reminds us that we need to work together to create a world that is free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world where everyone is given the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. By embracing equity, we can celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about discrimination, and take action to drive gender parity.

In celebration of diversity and inclusion, we had the privilege of interviewing some of our inspiring female associates who work in various disciplines in the technology and transformation field. We asked them a series of questions to gain insights into their experiences and challenges, and any advice for other women who aspire to pursue a career in the industry. We hope that these interviews will inspire you to embrace equity in your own life and take action towards a more inclusive workplace.

First up, here’s Louise Ashton, EA to the CEO & COO discussing her views on equal pay, imposter syndrome and why the West Wing is great viewiing for female empowerment…

1. How have you overcome any obstacles or challenges in your career as a woman in a male-dominated industry?

The majority of my career has been within the operational side of businesses, historically dominated by women. Early on, whether it be as a PA or within HR, my roles often became diluted with menial tasks that others (mostly men) didn’t ‘fancy doing’ irrespective of my job description or who I reported to. Over the years I’ve learned to challenge such requests, emphasise my experience and highlight my worth.

2. During your career, have you ever felt that you were treated differently because of your gender?

As a general rule, no. Equality in the workplace had significantly improved by the time I entered the workforce. Less obvious ‘gender demeaning’ commentary was however rife and whilst this has improved, we still have a way to go.

3. What advice would you give to other women wanting to start a career in tech?

Know your worth, imposter syndrome is still prevalent amongst women, remind yourself daily what you bring to the table. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t feel you’re being treated fairly or are being overlooked – often women feel they are being ‘difficult’ if they raise issues. As long as you’re professional and constructive with your feedback you have nothing to worry about. Remember, the vast majority of the time, a male counterpart wouldn’t hesitate to speak up if they felt they were experiencing the same treatment.

4. How do you think the technology sector can become more inclusive?

Talent attraction is key, but whilst many businesses go out of their way to wax lyrical about inclusion, they often overlook some of the fundamentals like how this information is communicated. I’d encourage organisations to review job descriptions, website content, etc. and ask themselves if the language feels neutral or is it perhaps more weighted towards a masculine tone, as is often the case.

5. How have you benefited from working with colleagues from diverse backgrounds, and what can we do to encourage greater diversity in our workplace?

Diversity in all its forms is, in my eyes, the silver bullet of success – fruitful businesses have an eclectic mix of people/skills, whilst those organisations where the struggle is more prominent is often made up of employees with similar backgrounds and similar outlooks. Hold ourselves to account, keep asking ‘can we do more?’

6. What initiatives or policies do you believe organisations can implement to support and promote gender equity in the workplace?

I believe all businesses should have transparent renumeration policies as a standard, showing clear financial banding for all roles within an organisation.

7. Finally, who are some women that you admire and look up to, either within the industry or beyond?

This is a bit of a cheat but I still think it applies! I’m a devout fan of a show called the West Wing (a TV drama based on the day-to-day goings on in the West Wing of the White House – blame my Politics and International Relations degree!) and though fictitious I definitely try and model myself on C.J Cregg, the press secretary. Allison Janney (actress) wonderfully depicts a successful, strong, capable and charming woman living in a very male world who holds her own and isn’t afraid to speak up when something isn’t right!

Written by
Sullivan & Stanley