Re-defining the male-dominated tech sector this International Women’s Day

By Kombo Magara, Senior People Partner EMEA at SafetyCulture.

Historically, the tech sector has been a male-dominated field and with only 27% of female students saying they would consider a career in technology, compared to 61% of males, this is no surprise.1 We’re passionate about changing these shocking statistics and contributing to an industry that is built on strong foundations for championing women in the workplace.

All too often, however, the focus is on recruitment and not enough on championing, supporting and celebrating the women in your business. There are a few key steps that businesses can adopt to ensure the male/female split equalises – and that your female staff stick around for the long-term, building a more equal workplace for good.

Implement meaningful policies

With greater roadblocks in the way of success, businesses should start thinking about implementing policies that matter to female employees, and which enact real change. A menopause policy or a family leave policy, which can empower senior females to continue working in the industry, are just some examples. At SafetyCulture, we have also implemented a miscarriage leave policy in the UK, to recognise the struggles women can face while working and starting a family – this leave policy has introduced ten days of fully paid miscarriage leave per year for all female employees.

We launched the global miscarriage leave policy in line with Kin Fertility’s #WeNeedMoreLeave campaign. Kin Fertility, Australian telehealth start-up, is leading the movement to encourage businesses to raise the bar when it comes to creating supportive and safe environments for women in the workplace. Since starting the #WeNeedMoreLeave campaign, Kin has welcomed companies including the likes of Canva, Blackbird, Gritty Pretty, LinkTree, Milkdrop and Simply Wall St to the initiative, providing more than 10 days of miscarriage leave.

When developing policies such as these for your business, it’s worth researching key campaigns or movements that could align with the policy and have driven positive attention and change. Your business can then be represented as part of the wider change that’s needed to influence the industry.

Host female-led events and take part in initiatives

By hosting events that are female-led, businesses will attract female talent and give their female employees a platform to share experiences. Relatable role models are invaluable, and businesses should ensure they’re showcasing the talent they have, while attracting new talent and even new clients at the same time. Outside your own four walls, there are numerous female-led initiatives to empower and champion women in your workplace. We’ve been nominated for the Northern Power Women Awards for several years now, which aims to accelerate gender equality and social mobility from the North of England – and it has become a cornerstone of our approach.

We have also committed to building a more equitable ecosystem in our local tech community by hosting Women in Tech events. Women in Tech is a nationwide group supporting women to break into the tech industry. We work specifically with their Northwest chapter to host events, with most recent attracting over 70 attendees. We’re aiming to change the under-representation of women in tech, where only one in ten IT workers in the IT industry are women and that women are paid 16%

less than their male counterparts doing the same job. By partnering with these communities and initiatives – whose sole purpose is to better represent women in tech in the North West – we can enact real change.

Address underrepresentation head on

In the last year we’ve also worked with Prince’s Trust to support young women from underrepresented backgrounds to see a route into a tech career – we facilitated an advisory course in our Manchester SafetyCulture office with a representative of Prince’s Trust to showcase how to start a careers in technology – including public speaking coaching and the opportunity to shadow SafetyCulture staff. We’ve also worked with Smart Works, who support unemployed women in Greater Manchester to access interview skills and garments. We’re proud to partner with both these charities, especially after achieving a 50:50 gender split in 2022 as well as a strong representation of LGBTQ and women of colour in Manchester office.

As a result of implementing welcoming policies, improving workplace culture and championing women in your business, staff will likely feel motivated and empowered to bring their best ideas to work or raise issues that are hindering them. Some of the best workplace policies come from employees who push for change and voice their concerns – technology can make lines of communication streamlined, quick and accessible, in turn providing employees with a voice to speak about what matters the most: workplace culture.

By Urszula Sankowska, Founder of MIM Solutions and Co-CEO of MIM Fertility, , Member of SoDA.
By Richard Cooke, UK business lead, Keepler Data Tech.
How hybrid tech will accelerate the blending of our digital and physical worlds in 2023 By Dave Prezzano, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, HP Inc. With insights from Luke Thomas, Chief of Staff & Futurist, HP Inc.
The 8th March marked International Women’s Day, which presents an annual opportunity to celebrate women's accomplishments, but also serves as a reminder that there is still much to be done to eliminate gender inequality.
Jill Brennan, Vice President at PagerDuty, EMEA, picked the technology career path at an exciting time of change, prior to the emergence of the powerhouse that would become Silicon Valley.