When I sat down to write this blog, I got a little bit stuck.
Thinking of a topic for International Women’s Day (IWD) proved… challenging.
The theme of 2023’s IWD is: DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.
Of course, we could tell you what that means, but we think it’s best to let the UNWomen speak for themselves.
We would talk about how women and girls across the world can be empowered and propelled by greater access to digital technologies, but the Poverty Action Lab has that one covered, too.
Then let’s stay closer to home.
Why don’t we talk about how ‘online learning provides an invaluable opportunity to level the playing field for women by connecting them to better opportunities and prospects?’
We could… but I took that quote directly from The World Economic Forum’s article on how we can use online learning to narrow the digital gender gap.
Okay, so, what can we add to the conversation that isn’t already out there?
You know what we haven’t mentioned?
As a majority-female workplace working within the technology industry, we have a wide variety of personal experiences that can bring value and grounding to the conversation.
At SiyonaTech, we work hard to make our culture fit our people, so I went back to the team and asked the women (and female-presenting) members of the team about what challenges they’ve faced in the workplace.
This is what they had to say:
Sam: being a working mum is complicated. The mental load can be overwhelming. The constant guilt can be overpowering: should I be spending more time with my kids? Am I dedicating enough time to work? Do others perceive me as not working as hard as them?
Nikki: in my early working years, many of the conversations I had were about women in the workplace, rather than about the job I was actually hired to do. They weren’t having these conversations with my male colleagues.
Jasmin: as a woman with ADHD, there’s always a fear I’ll be perceived as ‘ditsy’ or ‘distracted’ or even ‘overbearing’ in certain situations. In the past, I’ve struggled to be taken seriously and I’ve even lost out on work because of it.
Some of the other challenges mentioned cited a lack of motivation due to gender pay disparities, feeling the need to ‘be one of the guys’ to fit in with male-dominated offices, being devalued due to age.
As women, there’s so much to overcome in the world of work and while there’s definite progress being made – Spain has just passed a bill on menstrual leave, allowing women 3 days of paid leave for debilitating period pain – there’s still a long road ahead of us.
But talking to the women who make up the front line of the technology industry can cast a light on what issues need to be addressed and how we can make workplaces work for everyone.
The most important thing I’ve learned from having these conversations with my team, is that, while our diversity is not limited to our gender and that being a woman is not necessarily the defining factor when it comes to our needs and desires at work…
It is the lens through which most of us feel we are often viewed.
I went on to ask my team how SiyonaTech helped them to overcome these challenges.
Camy: in SiyonaTech, over 60% of employees are female with no gender pay gap. It encourages my creativity to work in a company rich in diversity and inclusivity. Thank you everyone who makes this happen.
Sam: the forward-thinking approach to flexibility that I’ve found here alleviates a huge amount of stress, and empowers me to give my best to both my family and career.
Laura: I’ve been a part of the SiyonaTech family for over a decade now, starting as an intern during university. I’ve grown alongside the company and am proud to be part of a team that values inclusivity, growth, and collaboration. It’s been an amazing journey, and I’m grateful for the opportunities and support that have helped me thrive.
Nikki: One of the best things about working at SiyonaTech is how being a woman is not particularly interesting. Here and now, my colleagues are having conversations about [learning and development]. My knowledge, experience and ideas become far more interesting than my biology!
Anita: as an older woman, my experience is valued. As a designer and storyteller my skills and perspective are appreciated. Always learning!
Jasmin: my team don’t view my ADHD as a weakness. I feel like the work I do has value that’s worth the accommodations I need to get it done. Trust is not something that’s easy to come by when you’re so often typecast as ‘forgetful’ or ‘lazy’, but the trust I receive here gives me the confidence to do the best work I can. I don’t know where else I’d get the same compassion.
Talking to my team reminds me that we’re lucky to work for a company that understands that being female is just one similarity we share, but it’s the recognition and celebration of our wide range of diversities and differences that makes us such a good team.
Honestly, I don’t think there’s an answer that can neatly summarise these findings, because there is not a one-size fits all answer that can attend to each of our individual needs.
But I think the takeaway here is that it’s only by speaking to those on the ground-floor, to the individuals that make up the collective, that we can start to find solutions.
A post by Jasmin Ford, Instructional Writer at Siyona Tech.