Press for progress: women in tech

Julie Wynn CJ

The hardest thing about being a woman is deciding what to wear, right? Oh boy – do I wish that was true.

In 2017, the Australian Bureau of statistics reported that women make up 46.2% percent of all employees – yet in the tech space we only fill 28-31% of those roles.

But why? There’s surely not a shortage of us. In fact, we make up 51% of all Aussies, and 60% of all university graduates are women… so there’s lots of us and we are educated.

So why do we still make up such a minority of tech roles? Some point to the trends of tech giants like Google, where females only make up 16% of the engineer pool. I mean, if they can’t hire more women — then how can smaller organisations be expected to?

Margaret Manning, our CEO who has been smashing the patriarchy in the tech world for over 20 years, can remember comforting herself back in the 80’s, “at least when my kids grow up, gender inequality won’t be a thing anymore.”

CEO Margaret Manning, leading a discussing on our philosophy

“But it STILL is!”

The reality is, whilst men dominate the executive positions in companies – they are going to remain in those positions.

Why?

“People recruit in their own likeness,” Margaret said. “And the only way to address this is to know that you are doing it, and to consciously do something about it.”

A few years ago, if you’d have asked Margaret how Adelphi had combatted this – she would have told you that she hired the talent and let the rest figure it’s self out. These days, she sadly believes that quotas are the best way to ensure diversity in the workplace and overcome that unconscious bias.

And the way it’s been tackled around here is to diversify the staff involved in the recruitment process. 

“Being an international company in the tech space, we have a really diverse range of staff and now we are getting them all involved in various levels of the recruitment process,” she said.

“In my experience, if you don’t have a diverse range of individuals hiring then you’re not going to get a diverse range of staff employed,” she said.

Unfortunately, for women in the work place, this unconscious bias doesn’t end at the recruitment process. Retention is also a huge issue when looking at why women make up so few roles in the workplace.

A study in Canada found that women still do far more housework than men, which essentially means that we spend less time relaxing and more time working – and working FOR FREE ladies. Now throw in the unconscious bias and the attitudes towards women in our paid workplaces, and the logic behind this disparity really starts to become clear.

“Throughout my career I have seen that tough ladies are often rejected,” Margaret said. “What is considered assertive on a man is aggressive on a woman.”

Some of our women showing their power stances

Maternity leave and flexible working hours are also a huge boundary for women remaining in, or returning to the workforce.

“Some of my staff have been very open about wanting to have a family, and I have never let that sway my decision on promotion or recruitment,” Margaret said. “Balancing a family and a career should be something all people, no matter their gender, can achieve.”

And the only real way to overcome this is to acknowledge these constraints and work together as a workplace to ensure that true equality is reached. Which is why this year, as we do every year, we are celebrating International Women’s Day in our offices across the world.

“We want to make sure that we truly hire the best people without prejudice, and provide a place where everyone can come to work every day, feel secure, have fun and deliver their best work,” Margaret said.

“We are 100% on diversity across the board; gender, sexuality, ethnicity –  celebrating our differences and all having the same opportunity is something that is very important to us and I just cannot wait until it’s not a thing.”

“But it 2018, it still is and it’s SO important we all work towards inclusiveness.”

This year, IWD is asking you to #PressforProgress – think, act and be gender inclusive. Find out more here.

This year, our #pressforprogress is to share with each other what an equal workplace means to us!

Arisa Furumoto, Senior UX Developer: “To be honest, I’ve been fortunate enough that I have never had to experience gender discrimination in a workplace. Gender is just one aspect of who we are and doesn’t define what we can do. I think that understanding can make a workplace truly gender equal.”

Beau Zlatovic, Director of Managed Services: “More female backend Devs would be great, there are generally less female candidates for the roles, but it would be nice to see some more.”

Ben Zhang, BE Developer: “Men and women receiving the same pay for the same work.”

Cass Joyce, Event and Content Producer: “For me to be equal in my workplace, I need my partner to be equal in his. He needs to be able to pick up the kids when they are sick, or have a day off to wait for the repairman… if I am going to excel we both need to be equal in the home.”

Daniela Lopez, Project Consult and Digital Strategist: “I can openly talk about having lady pains and no one is cringing. I, in fact, get sympathy and get offered snacks and pain killers to help cope. #ThatsTheDream”

Emelie Jansson, Project Consultant: “Equal pay for equal work in the best place to start.”

Emma Sahody, UX Developer: “When everyone can partake in basic things, which usually goes unnoticed: eating together, drinking together, holding meetings, having a say, confide in each other, sharing views and opinions, being respected whilst showing respect.”

Grace Gao, Technical Developer: “Somewhere I can express my ideas and my opinions are treated equally by my teammates.”

Helen Waller-Malone, Project Consultant: “A place where all staff regardless or gender are equally treated, valued and rewarded for their efforts.”

Julia Horton, Studio Manager of our Melbourne Studio: “I feel equal in a workplace that doesn’t stereotype roles and creates balance across the board. “

Klarisse Rodriguez, Marketing Admin/ Coordinator: “When all can access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of gender and race.”

Luke Hancock, Recruitment Officer: “A workplace that provides equal opportunity regardless of identity.”

Madeleine Nazor, Designer: “Somewhere where I am instinctively equal and my opinions, options and actions are judged with the same scrutiny and sensitivity to my male counterparts.”

Michael Lai, FE Developer: “An equal amount of men and women working in C level positions.”

Vanessa Kelly, Project Consultant: “Everyone needs to have respect for each other, and empathy is really important in an equal workplace.”

Sheryl Yao, Project Consultant: “Understanding and respecting gender strengths but not putting people in stereotypes. Also, everyone does the dishes.”

Want to come and meet the team?