Tackling gender bias in tech: International Women's Day 2022
04 March 2022 • 3 min read
To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, we have two very important events scheduled. On March 10, we’re holding Career Insights for Women in Tech, featuring a number of AND Digital team members and an extremely exciting keynote speech from Dame Stephanie Shirley, but before that - on IWD itself - we’re running a webinar on calling out gender bias in the workplace in line with this years universal break the bias theme.
One of the speakers is Product Analyst Reneé Blanchard, who helps run AND Digital’s AND She Can program, an initiative designed to improve access and support women in the technology industry. To Look ahead to the event - and International Women’s Day, we spoke to Renee who gave us her perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing women in tech.
Hey Reneé! Could you tell us what you do at AND? And why do you like working here?
I’m a product analyst and the thing I like most about AND is the culture in my club, Newton [clubs are what we call each AND Digital office!]. We are a very social club focused largely on well being and ensure our people are happy.
What does IWD mean to you? What - or who - are you celebrating?
IWD is not only a time to celebrate all the women who have broken the glass ceiling, but also to raise awareness and drive initiatives that will help other women realise that they have the power and strength to do the same.
Register for our Career Insights for Women in Tech event.
Gender bias in tech
How extensive is gender bias at work? How have you seen it manifest itself?
In previous jobs I have seen it a lot - in particular there's the assumption that because I am female, I lack technical skill.
Do you think the tech industry has a problem with women? Have things changed over time do you think?
Based on some research I've been doing recently, it seems like it isn’t just a work issue. We aren't promoting STEM subjects to girls in school enough but are then surprised when we see a drop off in careers. However, companies with diversity and inclusion at their core are starting to make an impact on the space - companies such as AND. While their focus on improving things for women is important, the problem is far from solved yet.
The AND She Can initiative
How does AND support women within the tech industry?
We have an initiative called AND She Can which is solely focused on bridging the digital skills gap for women. We aim to inspire women and girls into careers in technology through our own experiences, so I know first-hand that AND is trying to support women in the tech industry.
Do you think people do enough to call it out? How do you think people should approach the problem?
I think we need to ramp up initiatives tailored to inspiring women and girls and show them that they have so many options in life; there isn’t a thing that we can’t do. It's vital that we continue to share how important transferable skills are - that, for example, recruitment can be recruitment in any industry. We need to make options seem viable and valuable. We also need to demonstrate that tech is far more than just staring at black and white screens of code all day. All of us in tech can speak to the fact that there is creativity, collaboration and enjoyment in what we do - we need to communicate our experiences.
What more do you think the industry can do to create a more equitable place for women?
Give women the time they need to recover after giving birth and the money they deserve to support themselves and their new child and family. If we want women to stay in tech careers, we need to make it feasible for them to have a family and come back to work. That could be through part time work policies, paying women better while on maternity leave, or giving partners more time off to support and care for their children as well.
I think another key thing is ensuring we are hiring women into all roles and levels. We need to ensure our resourcing structures and job offers aren’t biased. Inspire - then hire!
Listen to Reneé and other inspirational women from AND Digital speak at our IWD 2022 event.