International Women’s Day celebrates the pioneers of gender equality, while its ‘international’ prefix nods to the journey for women’s rights that still lies ahead in some countries.
At Helastel we recently appointed our first female CEO, Duniya Moore. Duniya has worked in the tech industry for over 12 years, and been at Helastel for four-and-a-half of those. Tech is a historically male-dominated industry, but Duniya has found her colleagues supportive of her position as CEO. “I’m very lucky to work in an environment where gender politics just doesn’t have a place. The team is great and I love working here. My male colleagues are always supportive and I feel fortunate to not face many of the issues other women still encounter today.”
The challenge of imbalance
That said, tech’s male-heavy predisposition is proving tough to shake. At Helastel we acknowledge that there are still fewer women in both our workforce and in senior management compared to men. It’s something we’re working on. Our Talent Acquisition Specialist Emma Walters comments: “Improving the gender balance is something that’s important to us, and we have a strategy we’re continually reviewing.
“One thing we do is ensure we use inclusive language within our adverts, and use a gender decoding app to allow us to ascertain whether our adverts will attract both male and female applicants. Additionally, we’ve reduced the number of requirements, as women are less likely to apply for a role if they don’t feel they meet the majority of criteria. And we’ve increased our advertising exposure to ensure we have a wider reach and can link to applicants from varying demographics.”
These recruitment measures all help encourage women to apply to tech roles. Once placed within companies, it’s management who need to be mindful of elevating female workers who show promise. “Businesses need to achieve more diversity in leadership roles,” says Duniya. “They should be keeping an eye out for women with potential and supporting them into leadership.” Managers can encourage women with leadership potential to speak out in meetings, put them forward for promotion, and invest in training to build their skills.
Working around motherhood
While sexism in the workplace is becoming less of an obstacle for women in the modern world, Duniya acknowledges the decision to have children can be a real handicap for career-minded women: “Choosing to start a family can be a difficult decision for women building their careers.” A mother of two herself, Duniya took three years out to focus on her children in their early life. “Taking a career break to focus on my family definitely made it more difficult to get back into the workforce, and on my return it took time to build my confidence back up.”
Duniya’s experience is far from unique. According to YouGov, 38% of mothers say having children has harmed their career, with 51% of mothers citing having to temporarily or permanently give up work as the central reason for this.
One way Helastel is looking to support women in the workplace is through our relationship with MotherBoard, an initiative that assists working mothers and supports their needs. We also offer flexitime as standard, which can help with drop off times for children, and hybrid working, which also enables additional flexibility for parents.
How diversity benefits companies
Diversity in the workplace is not just an HR check-box – a range of personalities and lived experiences promotes better problem solving, understanding and reach within organisations. This is particularly important for industry-agnostic software partners like Helastel, who work with every flavour of challenge, organisation and technology. While in a world of hashtag holidays International Women’s Day can be seen as a cynical press-grab, companies who genuinely use it as an opportunity to reflect upon and evaluate their working practices around gender will be rewarded with a robust and multi-faceted workforce.
If you’re looking for a job at Helastel, we’d love to hear from you. See our Jobs page for details of current vacancies.