Network Spotlight: Black Women in Science

BWiS

Tell us a bit about your network

We are the Black Women in Science (BWiS) Network, a network that strives to be a community of women of African and Caribbean heritage in various stages of their scientific careers.  BWiS was founded by Tomi Akingbade in 2018 as a platform to connect black women in science industry, she feels is important to increase our visibility and the existence of a strong network of black women in the scientific industry will normalise the presence of successful black women in the scientific industry. Since its launch in April 2018, BWiS has grown to be a community of 60+ individuals with over 500 followers on social media. The BWiS team (made up of Teteh Champion, Lela Pea, Gabrielle Stapleton, Esther Adebisi and Dr Maria Agusta Aruda) is committed to further growth of the network.

What is your network’s prime objective?

It is no secret that black women face pressures both within and outside the workplace. The BWiS Network believes that everyone should be encouraged to not only pursue careers of their choice but excel in their industry. It is our objective that black women are encouraged to excel in their chosen careers and celebrated for their achievements. BWiS is here to equip black women in science with he tools they need to build successful careers for themselves.

How is your network helping women to progress in the workplace?

BWiS Network is helping black women by increasing the visibility of black women in science, celebrating their successes and giving a platform for their stories. We’re reminding black women that they have as much right to exist in the scientific industry as anyone else.

Tell us about your events?

BWiS is yet to hold any physical events but has plans to hold some in the future. If you want to the first to know about our events be sure to become a member if you’re a black woman in science, otherwise subscribe to our mailing list.

What should we expect if we join?

Currently, the BWiS website hosts a blog section and a private members forum. The blog section of our website keeps our members up-to-date with the latest scientific news, and the members’ forum provides a safe and private place for black women to connect and empower each other.

As a network, our aim is to be what our members’ need us to be, so we are open to taking suggestions from subscribers/members.

How do our members join your network, is there a fee?

Joining BWiS is 100% free! Both subscriptions and memberships are free. For members, all we ask is that they fill out the membership form after signing up to the website. Our team is made up of inspirational black women of science who volunteer their time of energy. The network relies on the generous donations to keep running.

What advice would you give to anyone who is joining a network for the first time?

Jump in and realise that ant network is what you make it. In a sense, what you put in is what you get out. We speak more about this in a post on our blog, The Power of a Network (https://www.bwisnetwork.co.uk/blog/thepowerofanetwork). The most important thing is that you remain yourself and remember that you’re not alone in whatever you are going through.

Any top tips for new networkers? Why is building your network important?

We believe your network contributes massively to you as an individual. Having a team and community that support you can do wonders for your confidence.

Finally, what’s next for your network?

We believe that the future of the network is bright. Next for BWiS is physical events, more subscribers and more members. Also, in the future, the BWiS Network is keen to be a unified voice, impacting legislation and influencing change so that black women feel comfortable and supported in their careers. As an inclusive network, BWiS is also keen to consult with companies and organisations that wish to better understand the realities of what it is to be an African and/or Caribbean woman in the

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Progressing your career through your network

networking

By Juliet Eccleston,co-founder of talent crowdsourcing platform, AnyGood?

Despite the constant talk about equality, statistics show that women still remain vastly underrepresented in top roles across the business world.

Figures from 2017 showed that in the UK, female professionals held only 12 per cent of jobs paying £150,000 or more.  It’s clear that traditional routes to progression are preventing a lot of women from attaining their goals. However, by utilising the power of personal networks, I believe women can further their career and bypass the obstacles put in their way.  This is something I’ve learnt from my own experience in over 20 years as a programme director. When hiring professionals for the delivery of large scale projects, my experience of the traditional hiring process was predominantly negative. It was only until I actively turned to my network for hiring that I found my best employees. Secondly, and more recently, I have witnessed first-hand just how well it works by starting my own business which empowers people to capitalise from their own networks.

Power of networks

The power of networks is huge and constantly increasing. This can be demonstrated by the recent rise in the use of peer-to-peer recommendations, something that I would attribute to a lack of trust in traditional sources of information, and to the ease at which we can now all stay connected. In early 2018, the Harvard Business Review reported a survey in which fewer than half of participants said they could trust businesses, the media, and government and non-government organisations – including charities. On the other hand, 60 per cent of respondents agreed that you can believe ‘a person like yourself’. What this indicates is that people are far more likely to believe peer appraisals than those with a vested interest. For this reason, recommendations and reviews, such as those on TripAdvisor, and Glassdoor have become a critical way for individuals to decide whether to trust a business, and the star ratings on apps like Airbnb and Uber have become so crucial in individual’s decision making

The same holds true for people

Clearly people are putting more stock into the opinions of others in their networks than ever before. For this same reason, I believe women should take greater advantage of their wider personal networks and use them for career advancement. By calling on those who most intimately know your professional capabilities, this endorsement can help remove any potential bias, allowing you to be promoted or hired based on your own merit alone.

Greater opportunity

Perhaps more importantly, your network has the potential to open up greater opportunities than those you are actively pursuing yourself. In our own company research, we found an overwhelming 95 per cent of people stated that they would be more likely to apply for a role if it was recommended to them by a peer rather than a recruiter. Recommendations made in this way are not only more personal and engender the trust that is so important for women to be given the chance to progress their careers, but also encourage individuals to go for positions they may have deemed beyond their reach.

Why is networking so important

With the potential power of personal networks so easy to demonstrate, this makes actually creating those networks even more significant. The evidence showing the importance of networking is extensive, and certain studies claim that women who avoid this are actively damaging their careers. A study undertaken by the AVTAR Group revealed that women usually begin networking at the age of 42, while men start as early as 17. Another study from the University of Notre Dame shows that more than 75 per cent of women in high ranking positions have a female-dominated inner circle, or strong ties to a few women within their network who they are in frequent contact with. However, while I encourage traditional networking, there are many different approaches to it which are also suitable, even for those who don’t feel they are outgoing enough to do so. Actively reconnecting with your existing network wherever possible is incredibly powerful because you already have a relationship in place. This can be done in a number of ways, be it through picking up the phone, email, or even through social media. Other interesting approaches are ‘career drafting’, asking someone you admire if you can help with any overflow they have. Finding a professional one or two steps ahead in your industry and letting them know you’re prepared to do this is an extremely powerful method of creating connections that could later help you advance your career.

Nothing holding you back

Unfortunately, the barriers to women progressing their career are numerous. There is much evidence to show that men are judged to a more lenient standard than women, and that gender stereotypes and unconscious bias play large roles in hiring decisions.  Furthermore, one McKinsey study found that women tend to undervalue their contributions at work, with 70% of female respondents rating their performance as equivalent to their co-workers, while 70 per cent of men rated themselves higher than their co-workers. This makes tapping into the power of networks even more important, as many women will have highly vocal advocates capable of championing them in a way they may not do themselves. I am firmly of the belief that barriers can be overcome through actively networking, and that despite the challenges, women have more opportunities to network than ever. By building your own strategic network of professional peers and using this network to your advantage, the sky is the limit.


Rise, created by Barclays

Rise, created by Barclays

Rise, created by Barclays

Rise, created by Barclays, is a global community of the world’s top innovators working together to create the future of financial services.

Our mission is to connect technology, talent and trends from across the Rise ecosystem to accelerate innovation and growth in the financial services industry. We do this by operating FinTech workspaces around the world, with a virtual community, where cutting-edge startups and scale-ups can connect, create and scale their businesses, backed by Barclays’ global network of industry experts, mentors, investors and partners.


Muslamic Makers

Muslamic Makers

Muslamic Makers

Muslamic Makers helps the next generation of Muslim changemakers level up across the tech industry and beyond.

We do this through community events, mentorship and various skills development initiatives. Muslamic Makers started life back in 2016 when Murtaza Abidi and Arfah Farooq connected over Twitter, sharing concerns over the lack of representation in the technology scene. Our ideas about the need for a Muslim tech meetup coincided and together we founded Muslamic Makers. Muslamic Makers started life as a monthly meetup which gave Muslims a safe space to share ideas, network and collaborate. With poor representation across many sectors, our focus quickly turned towards addressing the shortage of minority groups leading the way across a range of industries.


Women's Inclusive Network at Sopra Steria

The Women's Inclusive Network at Sopra Steria

Women's Inclusive Network at Sopra Steria

The Women’s Inclusive Network (WIN) at Sopra Steria UK with its joint venture companies SSCL, and NHS SBS, work to create an environment where women can flourish.

We believe a diverse company is a better company and this doesn’t happen by accident, but with a concerted effort across the business. WIN is one of several networks that form part of our Diversity and Inclusivity strategy which is underpinned by our values of respect; empathy; excellence; community, and acts as a key differentiator for clients and our people alike. It creates a Win/Win if you’ll excuse the pun. Leadership efforts to create a more balanced working environment increasingly strike a chord with our customers, and it leads to an environment where our women feel empowered to do their best work, to be authentic and to hold more influential positions.

We provide a supportive platform for our women through our programmatic events, access to practical support and by influencing policy. Our network is an inclusive one, open to all, and our male allies are increasingly stepping up to play an active part in championing our events, challenging policies, and supporting our goals.

We are a passionate and energetic network that people want to be a part of, and our numbers in the past six months have grown over 70%. However, we also recognise that we are a work in progress, and are currently focusing on ways we can better understand the female experience by listening to women across the business. We’re using our UX skills to identify the persona types and their corresponding needs to provide the right platform, events, and resources to support women, whether they are an agent in one of our contact centres, a returning mother, or an ambitious senior executive looking for promotion.


Hire STEM Women featured

Network Spotlight: Hire STEM Women

Hire STEM Women logo

Tell us a bit about your network

Hire STEM Women (HSW) was founded by Tehreem Sheikh in November 2015 after realising a gap in the market for more female tech talent.  I especially found that firms did not have the time to give comprehensive feedback to students on where they were going wrong in the recruitment process, which is a crucial if you want to develop further in your career.

The challenges of a busy schedule coupled with lack of awareness & no network available for women in STEM at university level it was difficult for young women who wanted to progress in a technology career.

When you’re young you do not know what you want to do with your career and need direction. We have a network of 60,000+ STEM females (growing rapidly).  The team has a strong STEM background who partners with corporates such as Vodafone, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft and several other large corporates.

What is your network’s prime objective?

Our prime objective is to help the STEM industry obtain a gender diversity balance but also retain the balance to ensure we are challenging mindsets, breaking barriers and building a diverse workforce globally.

How is your network helping women to progress in the workplace?

We provide 1-1 bespoke coaching to females in the STEM industry. We have specialist skilled teams who work with corporate partners and start-ups to identify diversity needs. We provide undergraduate, graduate & professionals with STEM opportunities and support them on securing internships, placements, graduate schemes and roles with various leading industry partner firms.

Thousands of HIRE STEM Women job seekers have attended events or have been given the confidence to pursue a career within STEM with Hire STEM Women since January 2016, across the UK. We also have a strong training platform where we train individuals in specialist STEM areas.

Tell us about your events?

We host a number of events throughout the year these range from providing women with specialist STEM skills such as coding skills equipping and preparing the future female tech leader, we also coach women to become future leaders which is equally important.

Pre-Covid we were doing over 60+ events throughout the year but with the digital era we have shifted our focus virtually.

What should we expect if we join?

Immense amount of support and training equipping you to progress the corporate ladder in STEM fields. Our platform allows you to speak to a “STEM hero” who are our professional work coaches confidentially allowing you to openly discuss your career concerns and allowing to exchange ideas and obtain support. We are your friends as oppose to recruiters.

How do our members join your network, is there a fee?

Members join our network by registering as a candidate on www.hirestemwomen.co.uk, there is no fee associated for a candidate, if an employer wishes to be a corporate partner they can get in touch with us at [email protected]

What advice would you give to anyone who is joining a network for the first time?

Be pro-active and keep in touch with your “STEM hero” keep them updated about your situation and follow the guidance the team give you as this will help you in your career in STEM. The network is a safe place to be open and honest about your concerns. The below is to give you a brief insight on how we have supported people

“My name is Samantha Smith and I have secured a job at Capgemini as an SAP Functional Specialist. I have to thank HireStem Women for their efforts for helping me through the process of securing this job – especially my coach Mary. I first received a call-in which Mary clarified the role I applied to and wanted to understand my business background and why I had a passion for a STEM career.

The first stage Mary coached me on how to write the perfect responses to the questions asked by Capgemini; we went back and forth on a few drafts until we were both happy with it and submitted. From this I got invited to a Digital Interview; in which Mary then provided me with a few questions I should practice on – and if I wanted – I could send her a video of myself answering so she could assess my body language and eye contact. This was extremely useful as I was unaware how important body language can be during interviews and the prompted questions really helped me understand what to expect. From this I passed to the next phase which was psychometrics – and this was a stage I was extremely nervous about. Mary helped reassured me and provided me with the right tools to prepare such as mock psychometrics.

I succeeded at attended the Virtual Assessment Centre and before this Mary assured me and provided me with a briefing on what would happen and what to expect. She also gave me a choice whether I would want to send her a video of me presenting to help me get comfortable with some of the tasks within the VAC.

Mary was extremely effective and efficient. During the waiting process of getting the final answer, she was reassuring and comforting, and she truly became a mentor and a friend. She was honest with her feedback and assured me that she wanted to see me progress whilst also keeping me motivated. HireStem Women have really helped me throughout this process – especially when my morale was quite low because of the difficulties that came with Covid-19 and the job market. But nonetheless they were positive, reassuring, inspiring and amazing at empowering woman to go get their careers. “

Any top tips for new networkers? Why is building your network important?

Networking is crucial it allows you to share ideas and concerns with a group of like-minded people. According to Forbes it makes you more noticeable, provides you with an avenue of newer opportunities which will open new possibilities, it gives you a chance to re-assess your qualifications and improve creative intellect. Having a support network from high profile individuals can help you challenge effectively and provide the right financial support if needed, you will grow in self-confidence and most importantly develop long-lasting relationships to help you build your career.

Finally, what’s next for your network?

We continue to expand and will be expanding in the European & APAC market.


WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here


Hire STEM Women featured

Hire STEM Women

Hire STEM Women logo

Hire STEM Women (HSW) was founded by Tehreem Sheikh in November 2015 after realising a gap in the market for more female tech talent.

Our prime objective is to help the STEM industry obtain a gender diversity balance but also retain the balance to ensure we are challenging mindsets, breaking barriers and building a diverse workforce globally.

We provide 1-1 bespoke coaching to females in the STEM industry. We have specialist skilled teams who work with corporate partners and start-ups to identify diversity needs. We provide undergraduate, graduate & professionals with STEM opportunities and support them on securing internships, placements, graduate schemes and roles with various leading industry partner firms.

Thousands of HIRE STEM Women job seekers have attended events or have been given the confidence to pursue a career within STEM with Hire STEM Women since January 2016, across the UK. We also have a strong training platform where we train individuals in specialist STEM areas.

Find out more


Twilio BuildHer Logo featured

Twilio BuildHer

Twilio BuildHer Logo featuredTwilio BuildHer is a network and event series for women and the broader ally community in tech, created by volunteers from the Twilio London office.

We host events that explore the experiences and challenges facing women in our industry through speakers, panels, and fireside chats. Our focus is on bringing honesty and authenticity to topics everyone wrestles with such as balancing passion with the need for a paycheck, imposter syndrome, and navigating career uncertainty.  BuildHer events offer practical advice from diverse industry leaders and creators and conversation is always lively. Join us!

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Women in Tech Cymru featured

Women in Tech Cymru

Women in Tech Cymru featuredWe are a network that promotes and supports learning, best practice, and innovation for women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers in Wales.

As members of Women in Tech Cymru we:

- Create opportunities for each other to learn and develop.

- Keep abreast of industry developments.

- Challenge ourselves and each other to encourage best practice and innovation in our work.

- Support and empower women who see their futures in STEM.

Our history

Women in Tech Cymru was set up in 2017 when a group of four friends met for brunch.

Despite working in very different roles and being at very different stages of our careers, we realised that we were all working in the tech sector.

We also shared the same experience of struggling to find other women to speak to who understood the unique challenges of working in the field.

Find out more

 


Women in Sustainability logo

Women in Sustainability

Women in Sustainability logoWelcome to Women in Sustainability! Through our in-person and online Network Hub Events and membership of our Online Hub, we create community, enabling you to build valuable relationships, strengthening your network.

We make it easy to access expertise, insights and support, using a coaching led approach that grows your confidence and courage to be a powerful change maker.

Find out more