Yetty Adesalu

This Black woman can! Yetty Adesalu shares her journey with DWP Digital

This Black woman can! Meet Yetty Adesalu, Business Analyst for DWP Digital

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Break the Bias’, which promotes the imagining of a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. Yetty Adesalu, DWP Digital, Business Analyst shares how she’s been able to excel in her career and takes us through her journey.

Yetty Adesalu

In my personal life, I have a passion to help people.  For example, I was inspired to take part in the Great Manchester Run a few years back, to raise funds for a local food bank that I support.

In my career I’m a subject matter expert and business analyst with over 18 years’ experience working in the banking sector before I moved into the Civil Service.

Working at DWP Digital means that I can actively become involved in projects that help me to combine my passion for change with my passion for helping people.

My career in banking gave me a varied background in trade finance, project and change management, relationship management, product management, business development, research and development, accounting controls and reconciliations, correspondent banking, financial analysis and advisory services.

I currently work as a business analyst on a small but important agile team. We provide the products and services that make it easier for colleagues to do their job, especially with the advent of hybrid working from the office and home, enabling them to collaborate with each other and external parties. Although I joined at the start of covid during the first lockdown in March 2020, I had a very welcoming start from my team members who have made me feel included and valued.

Yetty AdesaluOne exciting recent project my team worked on is the Customer Computer Kiosks project which is nationwide throughout DWP Jobcentres. Customer Computers provide citizens with digital access to a defined set of applications, allowing the creation of CVs, the ability to search and apply for job vacancies, and the creation and maintenance of Universal Credit accounts.  My team were responsible for upgrading the devices to the equivalent Windows 10 product managed Microsoft Intune which delivers cloud capabilities for PC and mobile management, with a better user experience, functionality, and greater security. We worked with stakeholders across the DWP estate to ensure that upgrades over 7000 devices, happened seamlessly.

I love working with Microsoft 365 which offers a range of products and makes it easy to collaborate, explore and innovate. As an avid learner, I taught myself to use the power apps to make my job simpler and efficient. As someone who is really interested in everything data, any opportunity to work with data using any of the M365 apps elates me.

What fascinates and excites me most about working in the technology industry is that there are no limits to what is possible. Technology provides an opportunity to learn new skills and push myself to heights that I might previously not have considered.

My advice for women looking for their next tech role/career move is to sharpen your transferable skills. Being in tech requires innovation, determination and efficiency which is a skill that comes naturally to women. Use that to your advantage.

If you’re looking for somewhere you are encouraged to grow and thrive in your profession, whilst maintaining a healthy work-life balance then make sure you look at DWP Digital careers site.

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Looking for a somewhere to build your digital career while working for an organisation that celebrates and embraces diversity?

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How the technology industry needs to change for gender equality

Article by Bonu Hafizova, Director of Alif Academy

gender equality, gender balanceThe dynamic of gender-specific job sectors, roles, and positions might seem like an outdated concept, yet events like International Women’s Day highlight the divides in the workplace that still exist.

The lack of equal gender representation in the tech sector worldwide is particularly prevalent.

Take the UK for example. Women make up  49% of the nation’s workforce, yet when it comes to the technology sector,  81% are male. Whilst gender equality in the technology industry is not comprehensively documented in Central Asia like other regions, existing research shows that women that hold tech roles in Uzbekistan is even lower, at just 18%. As the Director of Alif Academy, a centre dedicated to providing female Tajikistani residents and Afghan refugees with free STEM courses, we have to question why such inequality exists.

In my view, it partly reflects a general and often unfounded stereotype about the tech industry. It is wrongly believed that tech jobs do not interest women or that women are not skilled or adept enough to pursue STEM careers. With males disproportionately dominating the sector and holding the majority of leadership positions, it is a difficult narrative to counter.

To evidence this, we need to examine the choices men and women make before they start their careers. Looking at the UK, we’d expect to see a positive representation of women on STEM courses. However,  university enrolment figures in 2021 show the majority of university enrollees are female, with a 56.6% share, yet the gender split for IT courses in 2021 details that, of 129,610 UCAS applications, only 22,710 – or 17.5% – were female. Any attempt to promote more women pursuing careers in tech has to take this into account. More women need to be encouraged early on to pursue training in the tech field or at least be encouraged to explore their interest in the industry.

Of course, the formulation of career choices among both men and women occurs long before university course selections are made, which is why Alif Academy gives specific focus to children in elementary school also.  By providing clearer guidance and examples to young children, we stand to take a proactive approach to tackle gender equality more widely. Age is a crucial factor when changing gender landscapes, particularly in developing countries where less accessible information encourages the ingraining of traditional, but incorrect stereotypes as to what roles women are suited to in society and the workplace.

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In order to formulate a system that accepts more women into technological industries, increased awareness is needed to change the longstanding, traditional stereotypes of who a tech worker is. There are several ways to do this, with prioritisation depending on the culture, country and prevalence of females already in tech positions.

Firstly, we need to champion the women currently working in the sector and provide them with an equal share of voice when it comes to discussing their experiences, expertise, and careers so far. It may prove particularly effective to champion women in leading tech positions, and promote case studies from a multitude of developed and developing countries that focus on the specific experiences women have had in their technological careers.

Whether it be increased marketing, female-led initiatives, scholarships, funds, or female-dedicated internship opportunities, the sector will not change unless a widespread and active invitation for women to learn more about the industry is achieved.

Second, education needs to be as inclusive as possible. At Alif Academy, we ensure that our female students have equal support and resources when compared to their male counterparts. Stereotypes are often generational, so we’ve seen that engaging with the parents or guardians of our female students and explaining the opportunities afforded within the IT sector has encouraged course completion, as well as supporting career drive and ambition. Importantly, through our experiences at Alif Academy, it is clear that it is never too late for women to pursue a career in tech. The biggest step for women is taking that first step.

Finally, the tech sector needs to be accessible for all women. Acceptance of pursuing a career in technology may be improving in advanced economies. However, we must also accept that this is a global issue. If we don’t have spokespeople raising awareness of the many possibilities women have in technological sectors in developed and developing countries the gender split will remain stark.

Alif Academy highlights how impactful these education opportunities, particularly when easily accessible, can be. We’ve started to make headway in Tajikistan, and I look forward to continuing this mission and seeing other countries do the same.


WeAreTechWomen Survey (800 x 600 px)

WeAreTechWomen are proud to release our recommendations from our Barriers for Women in Tech research

WeAreTechWomen Survey

Last year, WeAreTechWomen partnered with Ipsos MORI and the Tech Talent Charter to look at the barriers women face in the tech industry. We are proud to release our recommendations from this research, publicly for the first time.

Women in tech infographic W800pxThe research canvassed the views of 369 women across a multitude of sectors. The findings included in the infographic show that 1 in 5 women in tech are thinking of leaving their jobs. With just 21% of women working in the tech industry*, if they chose to leave this would have a significant impact in terms of female representation in the sector. The findings also highlighted that 58% of respondents said that visible role models are one of the things that attract them to organisations but noted the lack of female representation at the top of their organisations. The other key finding was that only a third felt that processes and systems were in place to prepare them for promotion.

Mentorship was highly attributed to aid career progression; however, sponsorship opportunities appear to be lacking, with only 1 in 5 stating they have access to sponsorship programmes. Of those who did have access to sponsorship, 55% of them said it has greatly benefitted their career.  With regard to male allies, over 75% of survey respondents stated that at least some men are not allies, two thirds of whom finding that men talk over them or don’t listen in meetings. Only 19% of those surveyed see all or most men as allies, with 85% citing the best way to demonstrate allyship is by giving credit for achievements. It is no surprise that 29% of our respondents also stated they have experienced sexism or gender bias in some form. It is also interesting to see that salary has now become the main driver in terms of women joining a tech organisation (84%), followed by supportive managers (83%) and an inclusive culture (76%).

*Source: 2019 ONS data

“The research data shows mixed results. There is good news that those tech women surveyed are attracted to organisations by higher salaries and supportive managers. And while one in five are considering leaving their current roles, this is broadly in line with other current data across sectors around the “Great Resignation” – and 80% actually intend to remain in a tech role or in the tech sector. That’s positive for organisations which are being proactive about their gender balance efforts, but it still has the potential to cause significant damage to the overall sector representation which is starting from such a low base. The report highlights that the tech women surveyed are flagging issues about a lack of clarity and transparency around career paths in their organisations. While mentoring appears to be of some benefit, it’s not enough – and only 49% are aware of what sponsorship relationships are. Depressingly in this day and age, more than half of respondents (52%) still feel that their gender limits them in their careers.”

VANESSA VALLELY OBE, CEO, WEARETECHWOMEN

While it is deeply frustrating to see the numbers of women in tech at a plateau, there is much in this report to be optimistic about, IF you are an employer who is willing to act on it. We can see that women can be attracted to tech, can love tech, can be very successful and will want to stay in tech IF we as employers get it right. It is great to see that salary is being called out as a key factor, emphasising the positive impact and ongoing need for gender pay reporting. It is also positive to see other things that employers with smaller budgets can do to get it right in terms of transparent promotion structures, mentoring and sponsorship as well as good management and culture. The talent gap continues to grow and women are key to filling it. There are great actionable insights here, but it requires leadership, commitment and action. Every company willing to do this will reap the benefits.

DEBBIE FORSTER MBE, CEO, TECH TALENT CHARTER

Debbie Forster

“Few disagree that better gender balance is better for the technology industry and those working in the myriad of tech functions within every business. As with all companies addressing similar challenges, there is no silver bullet which will bring overnight change. However, this research highlights the potential cost of doing nothing (1 in 5 women working in tech are thinking of leaving their current role). This is not about fixing women. This is more about fixing the environment and culture in which they work. Transparency of promotion opportunities, increased awareness of bias (conscious and unconscious) and policies that acknowledge the distinctive needs of working women could all have material impact on women’s likelihood to remain within an organisation. Ipsos has been proud to partner with WeAreTheCity to give leaders in tech some clear actions that will improve the gender balance in their organisations.”

SUE PHILLIPS, PRESIDENT, IPSOS GENDER BALANCE NETWORK

Sue Phillips

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We built the Level Up summit around the findings of this research, to highlight the issues women face and empower their careers.

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International Women’s Day: The importance of allyship in gender diversity

diversity and inclusion, National Inclusion Week, inspirational profilesArticle by Joanne Gilhooley, chief marketing officer at Adarma

This week marked International Women’s Day – a day dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women, raising awareness against bias and for championing action to drive meaningful change to create a fairer, more equal world. 

While there has been much progress in some respects, women are still vastly underrepresented in the technology industry, particularly among senior leadership teams. Women still only make up less than a quarter of the cybersecurity workforce.

Research also shows that women are still promoted at a far lower rate than their male counterparts; this may be why women are not attracted to the industry in the first place. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted. This could account for the lack of women in leadership roles.

So, where are organisations going wrong in addressing gender diversity? Well first, it’s important to not think of gender equality as a female issue, it’s a social, moral and economic issue. It’s also a major problem for an industry that is facing an ongoing digital skills crisis, which is making it increasingly difficult for employers to fill roles. In turn, this is leading to the overburdening of already strained teams. One study puts the global cybersecurity talent shortage at more than 4 million people.

A McKinsey Global Institute report found that $12 trillion (11%) could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. In a “full potential” scenario in which women play an identical role in labour markets to that of men, as much as $28 trillion (26%), could be added to global annual GDP by 2025.

Moreover, research shows that diverse teams perform better and are more innovative. Leaders across all industries recognise that a diverse workforce is good for business.

In short, there is an urgency to attract more women to the profession and, more importantly, an imperative to retain them. Women are unlikely to join or stay in a career that chronically undervalues them, or where they feel there are too few gender equality allies.

To do this will require a shift in how business leaders, organisation influencers, and we all think about the issue – it’s no longer a ‘nice to have’ or a topic siloed off to HR.

Encourage allyship through company culture

Although there are no quick fixes to these challenges of gender equality, there are steps companies can and should take.

Changing company culture is a good first step. Work culture deeply influences organisational leadership style, how people interact with their colleagues, how people feel overall in their role and their sentiment towards the company.

Women’s day-to-day experiences are heavily influenced by their interactions with managers and co-workers.

Crafting a company culture that fully leverages and promotes the benefits of diversity will go a long way to addressing the issue. Women, and all employees, should feel comfortable bringing their ideas, perspective, and experiences to the table.

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If both men and women have workplace psychological safety, they will be more likely to call out unfair practices, behaviour that diminishes women and be more supportive of their co-workers. This will benefit DEI and positively influence the experiences of women in the workplace.

If an employer can achieve this type of work environment, everyone will feel happier in their jobs and more connected to their co-workers and more likely to be a gender ally.

Allyship from more senior colleagues, both male and female, can make an enormous difference. Senior leaders within the business need to fully and publicly support gender equality and actively participate in training and events related to DEI. This will strongly signal the organisation’s commitment to doing more to boost DEI.

Doing this will help infuse this type of culture into the organisation much more quickly and encourage strong buy-in from employees who will see the benefits in modelling this behaviour.

Engage men in the gender inclusion programmes

Gender equality must be everyone’s responsibility. It cannot be driven by women alone. Men must be included and engaged in the dialogue so that they can play their role in the solution. Everyone needs to be empowered to be a gender diversity supporter.

Evidence shows that when men are deliberately engaged in gender inclusion programmes, 96% of organisations see progress. This is compared to only 30% of organisations where men are not engaged.

According to McKinsey & LeanIn’s latest Women in the Workplace Report, men account for 79% of the C-suite and 93% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. With such influence in senior roles, men are well positioned to become powerful gender allies, which would help speed up progress and make changes more sustainable.

Aside from making the workplace a fairer and positive environment, men also benefit when they champion gender equality on a personal level. One study found that men who were more likely to act as allies to women reported proportionately higher levels of personal growth and were more likely to say they acquired skills that made them better husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons.

At Adarma we are proactively working to build this type of inclusive culture where everyone feels empowered to speak-up, share their ideas, recognised for their work, and valued as an individual.

Although we have more work to do in terms of gender diversity, we are supporting and sponsoring initiatives, such as the ‘Empowering Women to Lead Cyber Security’ programme, to provide training to women wishing to progress in their career into senior leadership roles.

We have also reviewed our hiring language to ensure we are making careers into cybersecurity more accessible for everyone.

Our flexible working policy ensures that our people are empowered to manage their work life balance and are not excluded from being part of our team.

“Inclusion without diversity cannot exist. The balance of women in cybersecurity, especially in leadership positions, needs to change. Over the course of my career, I’ve seen first-hand that the best ideas and solutions come from more diverse teams; whether that’s in the boardroom or in day-to-day interactions with customers, partners and communities.

“It’s vital that we attract and retain more women into the cybersecurity industry, and, more importantly, we develop those that are already here. It’s critical that businesses sponsor initiatives that support women at work and provide training, but also take proactive steps to drive a company culture that removes bias and improves everyone’s daily work experiences.” – John Maynard, CEO at Adarma.

 Learn more about what we are doing to build a more balanced and representative workplace.

Joanne GilhooleyAbout the author

Before joining Adarma, I was most recently Director of Marketing for Microsoft in the UK, responsible for defining and supporting Microsoft’s commercial and consumer business’. With over 15 years cybersecurity experience and prior to my role at Microsoft, I led teams delivering sales training and enablement, global product marketing and CxO executive marketing at HP (HPE/DXC Technology). I was also Marketing Director at Vistorm, prior to it being acquired by HP. I am passionate about cybersecurity and helping to make the digital world safe and accessible for all. Outside of work I love the outdoor life and can often be seen trying to ride my horse ‘Buffy” around the Chiltern Hills!

Meet our 100 incredible leaders breaking the bias & calling for societal change this International Women’s Day

As part of our #WeAreBreakingTheBias campaign, we will be sharing the thoughts of over 100 leaders who are calling for societal change for women. We hope you will join us so we can amplify why we should all #BreakTheBias for gender equity.

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WeAreTechWomen are proud to announce the most exciting virtual women in tech conference for 2022

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ONE TECH WORLD | 01 APRIL 2022

WeAreTechWomen invite you to attend the most exciting virtual women in tech conference in 2022!

We have been hosting our women in tech conference for over six years. In fact, we have welcomed over 5,000 women through our doors since 2015.

We are not a large media company, we are an organisation that has been championing women in tech for the past 13 years. To us, its personal. 21 per cent of women in the industry is not just not enough, it needs to change.

Each year, we work with our community at WeAreTechWomen to identify what tech innovations and topics you would like us to cover as part of our annual conference. We build our agenda around that feedback – giving you what you want to not just accelerate your careers, but to understand about the wider world of tech, and how this will affect the future world of work.

This year, we are going to be bringing you the very best global virtual learning experience on a state-of-the-art conferencing platform. Our conference will provide ample opportunities to learn about emerging technologies and what is innovating and disrupting the industry. We are blessed to be given time from some of the world’s finest speakers who will be joining us to share their wisdom and knowledge. We will deliver innovative sessions on a variety of different areas of tech, with a side order of career development, fireside chats and ample networking opportunities, both on the day and through our global virtual networking world.

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Hear from some of the greatest names in tech

On our stages are some of the greatest names in tech such as Ortis Deley, TV Presenter, DJ & Actor; Briony Chappell, Head of Digital, KISS FM; Vicki Lau, Visual Effects (VFX) Artist/Generalist, Virtual Reality (VR) Developer, TEDx speaker, Entrepreneur & Educator; Debbie Forster MBE, CEO, Tech Talent Charter; Harriet Minter, Journalist, Speaker & Director, The HVM Group; Vanessa Sanyauke, Founder & CEO, Girls Talk London; Avye Couloute, Maker, Coder, Tech Advocate, Social Entrepreneur & Founder, Girls Into Coding; Ann Hiatt, Leadership Strategist & Author of Bet On Yourself, to name a few.

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Everything tech

We will be sharing insights and covering everything from Future World of Work, Technology Trends, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cyber Security, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, The Future of Data, What’s New For Wearables, Data Science, The Future of Drones, FinTech, The Rise of Robots, Cloud Technologies, Quantum Computing, Coding, Innovation in Health Tech, The Rise of Drones, Transformation & Change, Ethics in Tech, Green Tech/ Net Zero, DevOps, Agile, FemTech, Blockchain, CryptoAssets, Tokenisation, De-Si, Collaboration Tools, Cyber Crime, Space Tech, 5G and Beyond, Special Effects, UI Development, The Importance of UX.

Career based sessions

We have heaps of sessions and panels with inspirational tech leaders to help advance your careers, including Returning to a Tech Career, Dealing with Burnout, Transitioning into a Technology Role, Hybrid Working, Being the Best Remote Leader, Saying No and the Art of Assertiveness, Mentors, Sponsors, Balancing your Virtual and Physical World, Re-Inventing Yourself, How to be an Introverted Leader, How to Become a Speaking Sensation, How to Remain Visible when Working from Home, Dealing with Difficult People, Imposter Syndrome, Free Training Courses, Acing your First Leadership Role, Personal BrandTransition In To The Tech Industry, The Importance of Mentors and Sponsor, The Legal Journey for Female Founders, Start-Up Stories.

Inclusion & Diversity

Promoting and encouraging inclusion and diversity is at the heart of everything we do – and our conference is no different. We’re covering everything from Addressing the Gender Gap in Tech, Disability and Tech Innovation, Fostering Neurodiverse Talent, Is Menopause Draining the Tech Talent Pool, Wellbeing, TechSheCan – Supporting the Next Generation, Black Women in Tech, The Untapped Talent Pool, How to Eliminate Bias, Ageism in Tech, Building your own Women in Tech Network, The Importance of Male Allies.

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Thanks to the financial support of our amazing sponsors, we are able to offer you one incredible day of learning for our early bird price of just £70.00 plus VAT.

The early bird offer is valid until 31st January, when tickets will increase to just £115.00 plus VAT.

Given our extensive agenda, we know that some of you won’t be able to attend every session available on the day. Not to worry, as your ticket also includes a 30 Day platform content licence which will enable you to watch all of the sessions up until 01 May 2022.

By attending you will also be helping others. For every ticket bought, we will gift a ticket to an individual out of work, a returner to the industry or a youngster studying for a tech career.

If you are an individual in this position, please email us here (tickets are not guaranteed and offered on a first come, first served basis). We are actively encouraging corporate organisations to fund groups of tickets to continue to develop their teams during this time. To encourage organisations, we have special offers for corporates who wish to book 10 or more tickets. If you are interested in bulk bookings, contact us on [email protected].

So what are you waiting for?

If you are keen to learn, be inspired and expand your knowledge of tech, then join us, we promise you won’t be disappointed.

This invitation is open to all.

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3 ways to break the bias for women in tech

bias corporates, International Women's Day, #breakthebias

By Jody Robie, SVP of North America, Talent Works

Although there’s been a focus on attracting women to tech roles, according to our new research, the working environments in many organisations are toxic and women aren’t confident that enough is being done to support them.

Did you know that 77% of women have experienced a toxic work culture in the tech industry within the last five years? Our study, which surveyed women in technology on their experiences on recruitment and employment in the UK, found that 21% cited it to be a frequent experience in their career.

Tackling diversity issues should be top on the agenda for tech companies all year round, not just on International Women’s Day or during Women’s History Month. With this in mind, this article will look at three ways tech businesses can show their commitment to calling out bias, unravelling stereotypes and fixing inequality in the technology working landscape.

Fix the gender pay gap to make women feel more supported

According to the Office of National Statistics, in 2021, more women than men in the UK were furloughed with a loss of pay. Beyond this, the gender pay gap reported to the government by Britain’s biggest firms is widening, according to analysis by The Guardian.

Three years after a new law compelled companies to reveal the difference between male and female wages, data shows that eight out of 10 organisations with more than 250 staff still have a gender pay gap. The most recent set of government data shows women are being paid a median hourly rate 10.2% less than their male colleagues.

It’s not just mid to large enterprises with the problem. According to Sifted, in 2021, more than half of UK scaleups had a gender pay gap worse than the national average in 2020. Twelve out of 20 reporting companies fell below the average UK pay gap of 15.5% for full and part-time employees — meaning women are paid 84.5p for every £1 men earn — some significantly.

There are many starting points to solving the gender pay gap, and thankfully many of them are simple. Companies need to be transparent about salaries, and need to commit to paying women equally. Training and advancement opportunities also need to be made intentionally equal, and companies need to be looking to promote women actively at the same rate as men.

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Ensuring women are in tech leadership roles

It’s important to look at the gender pay gap critically however. In the UK, it is illegal to pay women less for the same job. The gender pay gap points to the amount of women (or lack thereof) in senior and higher-paid positions.

In our survey, seeing a positive and recognisable example of inclusion at a prospective company was important for 65% of respondents, while 73% said they would be more likely to join a tech firm that had female leadership.

Supporting women in technology needs to be an ongoing and intentional effort. It needs to start at the top, and include a clear commitment to ensure women’s success consistently at all levels of your organisation.

Companies may be getting better at recruiting female talent, but there is still quite a bit of work to do to ensure the employee experience and road to success is an equal commitment.

The application process also has a considerable impact on whether women in technology apply for a role, with 65% of respondents being confident that they can spot a toxic work environment during the application process. 52% of women also feel that companies create gendered job adverts (for example, using masculine and feminine words).

Create and promote a healthy working culture for women

On top of the toxic working environment findings from our survey, a fifth of respondents stated that little or no progress has been made over the past five years to attract women into tech.

Companies all need to do their part in actively encouraging women into the tech sector and creating conditions for them to thrive. This is critical, especially against the context of the UK skills shortage, where we need that talent in the tech industry.

If a female comes into an organisation that is 90% male and that office environment doesn’t make her feel included, chances are she’ll take a job elsewhere, where she feels more welcome and comfortable.

It all starts with differentiating through hiring strategies that support diversity and inclusion. We need to be creating job descriptions that appeal to females. In our experience, female candidates often won’t apply unless they feel they meet 90-100% of the criteria, whereas studies have shown that male candidates may not be so concerned and may apply regardless. Companies should be working to ensure their criteria isn’t alienating women.

Creating core values that are reflective of diversity and which are continually communicated to existing employees will encourage unity within the business. It will also ensure that the candidates entering your organisation are the best fit for your culture.

Jody RobieAbout the author

Jody Robie has been running disruptive recruitment provider Talent Works in North America for eight years. Talent Works offers an intelligent and agile approach to hiring talent through flexible Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO).

Jody is helping scaling companies to source great talent and build standout employer brands. She is dedicated to changing the recruitment conversation, challenging conventional thinking and propelling organizations to new heights in the race to deliver the best talent. She helps clients leverage Talent Works’ team of brand and insight specialists, creative marketers and global recruiters to help companies source the talent they need to scale.

Meet our 100 incredible leaders breaking the bias & calling for societal change this International Women’s Day

As part of our #WeAreBreakingTheBias campaign, we will be sharing the thoughts of over 100 leaders who are calling for societal change for women. We hope you will join us so we can amplify why we should all #BreakTheBias for gender equity.

VIEW OUR 100 INSPIRING LEADERS

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How can we break the biometric bias for gender equality?

Article by Cindy White, CMO at Mitek

Today’s expectation is that technology solutions are unbiased. Sexist AI algorithms and facial recognition technologies need to be a thing of the past.

Even the most advanced technologies today lack the intellect to be deliberately biased, so let’s not “feed the beast”.

Although women comprise half of the population and the majority of the world is composed of people of color, the development of biometrics technology has long been the province of white men, a situation that has lent itself to egregious bias.

For example, a 2019 investigation by The New York Times discovered that one widely used facial-recognition data set was estimated to be more than 75% male and more than 80% white. While much progress has been made in reducing bias in facial recognition technology, we’re still not there yet.

Digital access is a daily requirement and enables financial transactions, retail convenience, education, healthcare, and even dating. How can we better understand the challenges and work as a community to offer alternative digital solutions?

Defining biometric bias

Biometric systems are being used to analyse the physiological or behavioural traits of an individual for the purposes of identity verification and authentication. This is commonly conducted using facial recognition or fingerprint analysis, both of which use machine learning.

Now, the problem with bias arises when the dataset used to train that biometric system (machine learning) lacks equal representation of all archetypes. Biometric bias can be defined as a system performing in an inconsistent manner which does not fully acknowledge the demographic make-up of society.

Questioning the design process

It’s important to note that biometrics itself is not actually biased, as they are not making any independent and intelligent decisions based on human values. Bias and inequality in biometric technologies are caused by a lack of diverse demographic data, bugs, and inconsistencies found in the algorithms.

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Inclusion means equal access, but we aren’t there yet. We still have a long way to go, even with some of the world’s most widely adopted technologies. Collectively we have a responsibility to ensure digital identity technologies are truly inclusive. That means not misrepresenting the underrepresented through racist and sexist facial recognition and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, or apps and mobile devices that don’t consider women and people of colour.

Crackdown on ethical AI guidelines

Determining ‘what is right’ goes beyond creating accuracy benchmarks. We also need to create ethical guidelines. The UK recently launched its 10 Year National AI Strategy, while the EU is currently working through the proposal of the EU AI Act. However, we need to do more than theoretically talk about AI and its implications.

AI ethical guidelines would serve to solidify the rights and freedoms of individuals using or subject to data-driven biometric technologies. Until we define what is and is not an ethical use of biometric technology, there is no metric or benchmark that exist to gauge the quality of technology.

Putting these practices in place will be a step forward in a gender equality. To be successful long-term, technology firms should be prioritising digital access for everyone, including women. To start, they should look at their own workforces; the more women influencing these tools, the better gender bias will be tackled.

Cindy WhiteAbout the author

International marketing executive with extensive experience across B2B and B2C, Cindy White has a proven record of innovation and leadership and a passion for building brands and product marketing. As Mitek Chief Marketing Officer, Cindy leads the company’s global marketing, brand, communications, product marketing, customer acquisition and partner programs.

Before joining Mitek, Cindy was Vice President of Marketing at FICO, where she developed a deep interest and expertise in fraud prevention. Previously, she was Director of Worldwide SMB Marketing for Microsoft, leading a global team chartered with the roll out of Office 365 and supporting the success of more than 85 million customers worldwide.

Meet our 100 incredible leaders breaking the bias & calling for societal change this International Women’s Day

As part of our #WeAreBreakingTheBias campaign, we will be sharing the thoughts of over 100 leaders who are calling for societal change for women. We hope you will join us so we can amplify why we should all #BreakTheBias for gender equity.

VIEW OUR 100 INSPIRING LEADERS

Young women in tech, Tech She Can

Could you help inspire the next generation? Film a role model video for Tech She Can & encourage women into tech

Young women in tech, Tech She Can

Could you help inspire the next generation of women in tech?

Tech She Can is launching a new ‘Young women in tech’ role model video campaign, in collaboration with Workfinder, DCMS, everywoman and ourselves at We Are Tech Women, as part of our shared aim to encourage more women into tech roles.

You could be a data analyst, data engineer, software developer, systems engineer, DevOps engineer, intelligence analyst, app developer, data scientist, VR or metaverse designer, privacy analyst, security architect, Natural Language Processing (NLP) engineer, Blockchain developer, UX designer, or Cloud engineer. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but hopefully gives you a good idea of the types of roles we’re looking to profile.

Watch the video below for guidance on filming your video

If you fit the brief and would  like to feature in this video series, share your story to inspire girls and young women to consider a future career in tech.

Full details on how to get involved, including detailed guidance on how to film and submit your videos can be found here.

The campaign will launch in early March 2022 but role model videos will continue to be added into the collection on an ongoing basis. If you’d like to be featured in the initial launch, please ensure your video reaches them as soon as possible.

One Tech World Virtual Conference 2022

01 APRIL 2022

Join Tech She Can at our One Tech World conference, where they’ll be talking about how to make technology work for everyone & how to get more girls into the industry.

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She Talks Tech podcast on 'Fight, Flight and Unconscious Bias' with Mairi McHaffie, 800x600

Listen to our latest She Talks Tech podcast on 'Fight, Flight and Unconscious Bias' with Mairi McHaffie

She Talks Tech podcast on 'Fight, Flight and Unconscious Bias' with Mairi McHaffie, square

Today we hear from Mairi McHaffie – a Personal Impact Expert & CEO of ‘Scene Change Creative Consultants’.

She tells us that if you have a brain – you have bias – and that our brains instinctively categorise people using quickly observed criteria. It’s part of our “fight or flight” chimp brain that has been useful since our primitive days to allow us to differentiate between friend or foe.

The disadvantage of this is that it can lead us to make assumptions and decisions about others based on those biases. This result is a tendency to rely on stereotypes, even if we consciously disapprove of them.

If you want to find out more about Mairi – you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

LISTEN HERE

‘She Talks Tech’ brings you stories, lessons and tips from some of the most inspirational women (and men!) in tech.

From robotics and drones, to fintech, neurodiversity and coronavirus apps; these incredible speakers are opening up to give us the latest information on tech in 2022.

Vanessa Valleley OBE, founder of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen brings you this latest resource to help you rise to the top of the tech industry. Women in tech make up just 21 per cent of the industry in the UK and we want to inspire that to change.

WeAreTechWomen are delighted to bring this very inspiring first series to wherever you normally listen to podcasts!

So subscribe, rate the podcast and give it a 5-star review – and keep listening every Wednesday morning for a new episode of ‘She Talks Tech’.

Produced by Pineapple Audio Production.

Listen to more episodes of She Talks Tech here


#BreakingTheBias: Two legal tech leaders talk about how diversity can drive success

Aimee Hibbert and Bishu Solomon Girma

Aimee Hibbert and Bishu Solomon Girma both hold senior positions within the customer success team at Access Legal, part of business software specialist, The Access Group.

Access Legal has appointed a number of female tech specialists to help deliver its vision of helping law firms to become more efficient, productive and ultimately deliver a better service to their end customers. Aimee Hibbert joined the division in July working as part of the senior leadership team and having the opportunity to build the Customer Success management team from the ground up. Bishu Solomon Girma joined in August 2021 as Head of Customer Success with the aim of driving forward a true customer-first approach using her legal industry experience in both the UK and Canada.

With International Women’s Day upon us, we celebrate Aimee and Bishu’s successes and see how they #BreakTheBias around women in leading tech roles. So, what are their thoughts on equality across industries that are often thought of as male-orientated and how has it impacted their careers?

Altering industries

For Aimee, her career journey has mainly been focused around technology so she has seen first-hand just how the industry has evolved. Explaining more, she said:

“From working both in tech and alongside law firms throughout my career, I’ve seen an increase in women holding positions of power as Partners, Directors and tech specialists. This isn’t just a box ticking exercise, but rather that women feel empowered and equipped to take on roles which they may not have considered before.

“The new generation are much more tech savvy, they don’t stick to traditional biases and the modern world has become more aware of issues surrounding diversity and inclusion which is why we are seeing the change in new recruits.

“An issue women have often faced is the perception that they are softer and more emotional when in fact it is precisely that passion and empathy along with the ability to be assertive, analytical and driven which can be a lethal combination. The inequality that was once very noticeable in certain industries is just pushing women further forward to prove our position.”

Bishu, who has seen the development of the tech industry in both the UK and Canada, added:

“In my first Legal Tech role, I joined a team that was run by two women who created a business after spotting a gap in the market. This showed me that people were recognising that industries shouldn’t be gender specific.

“Creating gender balance across any industry is crucial as it ensures that systems are designed with the needs of a diverse range of end users in mind. It is well established that businesses with diverse teams perform better because the range of perspectives, ideas and contributions create an environment that fosters better working relationships and innovation.

“While roles and industries may be male-dominated because of past hiring trends, we are starting to see a shift away from thinking that certain professions are suited best to one gender.”

Significant support

Since joining The Access Group back in 2019, Aimee has watched the company develop into the diverse and equal business it is today. Commenting on the structure of the teams and the support received, Aimee said:

“Within the senior leadership team at Access Legal, there is an even split between male and female members. The mix of genders leads to more creative problem solving and the alternative points of view leads to more considered decision making.

“The Access Group definitely isn’t a boy’s club – in fact it’s as far from that as can be. Every member of the team is heard and valued and the business as a whole is great at driving the importance of gender equality, diversity and inclusion right from the top level.”

Bishu added:

“Due to our focus on being inclusive in our language and expansive in our approach to incorporating diverse thinking, we are definitely seeing more women and people from diverse backgrounds in tech roles than before.

“However, just because we have seen a significant increase in women taking on tech roles, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t continue our efforts to ensure that representation continues through future recruitment and ensuring there are equitable growth opportunities for all our talented team members.”

The future of female

As the future seems bright for women in all industries, Aimee highlights the importance of continuing the conversation and acknowledgement of successful women to encourage the younger generation. She adds:

“International Women’s Day is great for celebrating and admiring women worldwide who are succeeding in roles and industries that might not have previously thought possible.

“At The Access Group I work alongside some extremely passionate and strong-willed women and am so pleased to be part of such a diverse and open-minded team. Everyone’s voice is heard and looking at how far we’ve already come, it is exciting to look to the future and how far we can get.”

Bishu comments:

“Representation is a powerful tool for transformation. The more women we elevate and celebrate, the more we set the example that women not only have a role to play in their industry, but also that they can find success along the way.

“The best way to tackle bias is to profile diverse talent and ensure the talent pipeline is rich with diverse candidates. We need to focus on what matters – helping students and young professionals to develop the skills and attributes that contribute to high performing teams. Knowing how to reflect on any assumptions that we make while hiring candidates, conducting performance assessments, and making decisions about promotions is crucial to ensuring that we don’t allow potential biases to have an impact on any decisions made.”

Learn more about The Access Group’s legal division online at www.theaccessgroup.com/en-gb/legal/.

Meet our 100 incredible leaders breaking the bias & calling for societal change this International Women’s Day

As part of our #WeAreBreakingTheBias campaign, we will be sharing the thoughts of over 100 leaders who are calling for societal change for women. We hope you will join us so we can amplify why we should all #BreakTheBias for gender equity.

VIEW OUR 100 INSPIRING LEADERS