Today, the 8th March, marks International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. A day that drives a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. The campaign for this year is #BreakTheBias, with a mission to forge a gender equal world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimintation.
In the tech industry today, only 35% of company employees are women, whilst the US sees this figure drop to 24%. It’s really quite shocking to see that in over 12 years this figure has grown by just 2%. At this rate, it would take another 156 years to achieve an equal ratio of men and women in the tech industry. Astounding.
And yet the statistics tell another story as to the benefits of a gender diverse workforce. Stating how gender diverse teams are better at making business decisions 73% of the time, whilst they also outperform companies with low diversity by as much as 48%.
At Platypus, we’re proud to be an organization that’s striving towards diversity and equity. With 48% of our workforce being women, holding key positions across tech, product and marketing. For us it’s essential that our whole team are offered the same opportunities, respect and flexibility regardless of gender, age or any other factors that differentiate them. It's so important that we step up and foster a culture of trust and inclusion where different thoughts and values are embraced.
With this in mind we wanted to celebrate the incredible women here at Platypus, giving voice on what it means to be a woman in the tech space and how they are breaking the bias.
I have had an amazing journey as a woman in tech. I have been given time and understanding for my situation all the way through. The harshest critic has always been myself. I have been trying to live up to some standards that I have been taught from society, but they do not apply to the tech world. It took me a while to unlearn those norms. A lot of the bias that I hear about, I have never experienced - on the contrary: I meet a lot of support from my colleagues. Sometimes I suspect that some of the stories we carry around are just that - stories. "I heard about". I am not denying that there used to be a lot of bias, and that it still exists, but I am hard pressed to find examples of it in my own journey. The most common bias that I have met most often is that women are good project managers.
I don't dream of becoming a project manager, and I dread every part of it, but almost every company I have worked for has recommended me to become one, to advance further up the ladder.
No thanks, I'll forge my own path then, thank you very much. Failing is part of growing - you never develop yourself or your skills, if you do not take chances and fail. Perfection is never expected (often discouraged), and perfection is the killer of growth. Speak up and don't be afraid of being wrong.
My experience as a woman at a tech company has been really great! It’s not something you can take for granted, so I’m really lucky that I haven’t had any experience with bias and stereotypes. Working at a diverse and inclusive company definitely plays a huge part in me having such a great experience, and it’s something I’m really thankful for.
My professional path has been quite adventurous, I went from being an entrepreneur to student and now I'm working in Tech. I tell this to myself and to my fellow peers regardless of gender, to never be scared to venture out and try, all you have to do is don't let the doubts of others influence your decisions.
I've been lucky to have been surrounded by strong, inspiring figures throughout my personal and professional life so far, who've empowered me to be fearless and aim for the sky. Platypus is no exception. Every day I’m shown that there’s no barriers or limitations, especially when it comes to gender.
I also think there’s something to be said for the power of a supportive and inclusive workplace culture that offers the same respect, flexibility and opportunities to all. Having experienced diverse and equitable work environments, it’s definitely pushed me to challenge any stereotypes and biases that I have come across in other aspects of my life. But one thing is that I wish I could tell a younger version of myself to be confident in my ability and not let the voice inside my head hold me back.
Having recently joined the SaaS tech industry I am incredibly fortunate to have landed in a company that practices what it preaches. Tech is naturally exclusive to those that have not grown up with it, been educated in it or celebrated its many achievements. And yet I find myself excited as to how tech can open doors to so many across the world, I just hope that it can benefit all regardless of gender, age, race or culture. As women we need to keep pushing the boundaries imposed upon us and push back against the bias that exists.
Collectively we can break the bias, not just on International Women’s Day but beyond it.