8 March 2021
81% of women represent the technology workforce in the UK*
*Did this title catch your eye due to your perception of this statistic being unrealistic? Would it have had the same impact if ‘women’ was substituted for ‘men’? Unfortunately, this title was only a ploy to highlight one of the many changes that needs to occur in the technology industry.
International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women around the globe. Change is happening, and within tech, we are edging closer and closer towards a gender-balanced representation within the industry; however, we all still need to commit to challenging stereotypes and creating an inclusive world.
In 1908, women campaigned against working conditions and for their right to vote. It was only on the 8th of March 1975, however, that International Women’s Day was first celebrated by the United Nations. Before then, the day had no recognised or fixed date internationally. The very first theme for International Women’s Day, “Celebrating the past, Planning for the Future”, was introduced in 1996, empowering women to act for social, economic, cultural, and political equality. This movement became a catalyst for future generations to unite in the battle against gender inequality and create a shift in societal attitudes.
For this year’s #ChooseToChallenge campaign theme, we are demonstrating our commitment to International Women’s Day by asking our female colleagues at MHR to share their professional experiences and consider what the day means to them.
‘Let's challenge the expectations and let's challenge ourselves’ - Jessica Mills, Chairman at MHR
Challenge is widely embraced at MHR. As an underlying foundation, the whole workforce is continuously encouraged to develop their skills, challenge their own abilities and their roles within the business. This is important for all companies to consider, particularly during these unprecedented times.
Paramount to this year’s #ChooseToChallenge campaign, recognising inequality in the industry we work in is vital; at the end of 2020, women represented just 19% of the UK IT sector.
At MHR we celebrate the efforts and successes of all employees, creating working environments where our people feel inspired to strive for equality in all areas and are encouraged to change and challenge the industry expectations.
‘Change is a slow process and it is really easy to become complacent... it is really important that we don’t let that happen’ – Maddy Gibney, Senior Field Marketing Manager
Leaders within the tech industry have been successful in their careers, not because of their gender, but because of their willingness to learn and commitment to their profession. At MHR, Stacey Hirons, Learning & Development Specialist notes that she is ‘surrounded by women that invest their time in [her] development and believe in [her]’. This highlights the importance of personal and professional growth. In support of this, MHR have many opportunities for all employees to be involved in, setting an example for helping you accumulate invaluable skills and knowledge that point them to success in their careers.
Within the technology industry, significant changes have been accomplished and progress has and is constantly being made to strive towards inclusion and gender equality.
‘Many generalise the technology industry as being for those who like coding or research, whereas there are a lot more opportunities such as in marketing, in sales, in consultancy… It’s an ever-changing industry, it’s fast paced and it’s a really exciting place to be’ – Beth Fear, Learning Technologies Consultant
As Beth Fear highlights, it is the generalisations and assumptions which need to be challenged in order to make a change, by increasing the number of women who choose the technology sector as their industry of choice.
This is further supported by MThree's Diversity In Tech 2021 Report which shows only 32% of 18-24 year-olds, who are not currently working in the tech industry, believe that there is a wide range of career opportunities in tech - and 12% of females would not feel welcome. This poor perception of diversity in the industry demonstrates the need to create awareness around the true potential the tech industry provides.
"There are friendly community tech groups out there, like Women in Tech Nottingham who we sponsor, if you are unsure of where to start. A supportive network really helps if you need encouragement or guidance, and a great place to discover opportunities." – Hannah Jeacock, Research Director
With this in mind, we need to continue to celebrate women across the globe and inspire everyone to continue to #ChooseToChallenge inequality both in the technology industry and around the world.
Although our annual celebratory breakfast could not go ahead this year, MHR continues to celebrate the success of women (and men) every day and are even more excited to get back together as soon as circumstances will allow.