It’s widely known that the tech sector is male-dominated – and that action needs to be taken to introduce better gender equality. Shockingly, only 27% of female students said they would consider a career in technology, compared to 61% of males. Tech businesses can change these stats, and leaders need to actively accept their responsibility in improving the sector.
Promisingly, many people are passionate about changing these shocking statistics and contributing to an equal future – for an industry built on strong foundations for championing women in the workplace – yet there is still a long way to go.
All too often, the focus is on recruitment and not enough on championing, supporting and celebrating the women in your business. Businesses can adopt a few key steps to ensure the man/woman split equalises – and that female staff stick around for the long-term, building an 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 enact real change. A menopause policy or a family leave policy, which can empower senior women 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, an Australian telehealth start-up, is leading the movement to encourage businesses to raise the bar to create supportive and safe environments for women in the workplace.
Since starting the #WeNeedMoreLeave campaign, Kin has welcomed companies, including Canva, Blackbird, Gritty Pretty, LinkTree, Milkdrop and Simply Wall St, to the initiative, providing more than ten days of miscarriage leave.
Developing policies such as these are worth researching key campaigns or movements that could align with the policy and have driven positive attention and change. Your business can be represented as part of the wider change needed to influence the industry.
Host women-led events and take part in initiatives
By hosting women-led events, businesses will attract female talent and give their female employees a platform to share experiences. Relatable role models are invaluable, and companies should ensure they’re showcasing the talent they have while attracting new talent and even new clients at the same time.
There are numerous women-led initiatives outside your own four walls to empower and champion women in your workplace. We’ve been nominated for the Northern Power Women Awards for several years, which aims to accelerate gender equality and social mobility from the North of England – and it has become a cornerstone of our approach.
We aim to change the underrepresentation of women in tech, where only one in ten IT workers in the IT industry are women and 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.
One such example is Women In Tech North. WIT North is a volunteer-led community, which over the past seven years has grown to 2,500 members – and is committed to building an inclusive community to better drive diversity in tech.
Co-Lead Kate Wood described the impact partnering with like-minded organisations, such as SafetyCulture, has had on the community: “It’s fitting that I am hosting a panel celebrating Allyship on IWD, as the team at Safety Culture have demonstrated the true meaning of the allyship over the past 18 months.
“Many of our members come to events alone which can be daunting if the location differs each month. As a volunteer-run community, knowing we have a regular venue with refreshments where our members feel comfortable and confident is invaluable to us. This allows us to focus on the imbalance of diversity in the sector and supporting, mentoring and promoting careers.”
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 career 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 these charities, especially after achieving a 50:50 gender split in 2022 and a strong representation of LGBTQ and women of colour in the 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 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, providing employees with a voice to speak about what matters the most: workplace culture.
Kombo Magara is a Senior People Partner at EMEA at SafetyCulture.