As part of pride month we look back at some of our favourite Women Rock interviews and share the thoughts and advice from the incredible the ED&I entrepreneurs, founders and advocates that we have had the pleasure of meeting in our journey so far.
Here’s what they have to say about what ED&I means to them, tips on how to build an inclusive workplace and why diversity is so important!
Turns out there are a whole lot of us non-binary folk and trans-gender folk in tech and we really need a platform to help cis-gendered people understand how to interact with us (hint: like you would any other person, with respect and kindness) just don’t ask us what genitals we have or who we’re attracted to and we’ll get along fine.
Blind CV’s and hiring people for diversity of thought and experience are the way forward.
Let’s remove the name, education & the origin and focus on the life experience, dedication and attitude that people can bring to the table!
Accountability: you need it. Someone or something has to be accountable for the goals, and there needs to be a clear and transparent plan for reaching them. We came up with some definitions for diversity and inclusion, made sure that everyone was onboard with the reasons it’s important and understood that D&I benefits everyone, and then we built the roadmap together.
We’re taking steps to cast our net more widely to attract talent from the widest possible pool. That means, for example, placing job ads in different media, wording them differently and being less prescriptive about the skills we’re looking for. Technical skills can always be taught to promising candidates who have aptitude and a range of other useful skills that transfer into this environment. Their different perspectives may well give us fresh ways of looking at problems.
Diversity is not about quotas, it is exciting. Gaining true representation creates more rounded, innovative, dynamic and impactful products, actions and solutions. That benefits everyone.
The most challenging part of any EDI work is patience. It’s not necessarily challenging to bring people round to understanding why more inclusive teams good business sense are, however it’s a continuous long term process and nothing happens overnight.
We need to fix the inherent structural reasons that make the landscape of opportunity disproportionately favourable or difficult to one gender or another. We need to fix decision making. We need to fix bias, conscious or otherwise, in systems and processes. And for me this comes down to better diversity right from the top down.
If companies understand that D&I has a positive impact on the bottom line rather than it just being a tick box exercise. Diverse teams come up with the best solutions.
Companies need to be aware of the diverse needs of all their employees and adapt their Company culture and work environment to ensure the longevity of the employee-employer relationship.
In an ideal world, a truly diverse and inclusive workplace should be a melting pot of cultures, ethnicity, socio-economic backgrounds, religion, language, gender, orientation, age. Everything that makes humans unique, under one accessible roof. So far in my career, I’ve never really worked anywhere truly like that, but some places have been better than others. There will always be work to do.
If we can get more people working in different industries to visit schools and tell them about what their days look like, school aged humans will be better equipped to decide amongst a wider range of jobs. The problem with STEM jobs is that it’s so hard for children to imagine what their future would be like, as opposed to doctors, teachers and other professions they’ve interacted with first hand.
Workplaces should make it clear that all of the ways people can be different are expected and accepted. They can do this by demonstrating quietly, but constantly, that people are accommodated for what they need without it being a big deal. Things like flexible working, and varied social groups can help, but there are lots of things (big and small) that can be done
I don’t think any of this is easy, it is extremely hard for anyone not to have some degree of unconscious bias, but this is where we need to be really honest with ourselves and ensure that we question ourselves when dealing with others.
Look at the pictures and language that you use on your website, jobs ads and social media. Would working for you be attractive to all candidates? If I am applying for a job at your organisation, I want to see diversity represented; different genders, race, sexualities, ages and disabilities. Avoid using masculine-oriented words like Ambitious, Dominant, Ninja and Rock Star.
We want a diverse team because that breeds good results, it’s about taking the best person for the job, but also realising that the best person isn’t always the one that looks, thinks, or behaves like you.
A voice for diversity in Tech & Engineering <3