International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of women across the globe. It is a day to recognise the progress that has been made in achieving gender equality and acknowledge the work that still needs to be done. The day marks the contributions of women to society and brings to the fore the importance of striving for a future where women feel valued and empowered.
In order for women to feel motivated to succeed, it is crucial to foster an inclusive environment. Using these insights can help advance those working within the technology industry harness their creativity without feeling that equal opportunities are lacking. Women provide distinctive viewpoints, ideas and perspectives, and when taking into consideration the range of backgrounds and life experiences, it can lead to innovative solutions and product improvements that can offer immense value for businesses of all sizes.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2023 it’s crucial to identify, recognise and appreciate the progress that has been made in developing a more equal society, as well as paying close attention to the changes we still need to undertake. Regardless of the challenges faced, it is important to recognise the successes we are already seeing from female role models in technology-focused roles.
Redefining success for women
Success for women can mean different things depending on their experiences, backgrounds, and cultures. When asked about her journey, Rebecca Worsley, Founder & CEO of Shopify Plus agency Rainy City Agency states “as a female founder and leader in the tech space, I have realised that there is so much room for women to succeed in a predominantly male-led sector.”
However, an area that has seen significant achievements for women in recent years has been an increased representation in positions of power. Women have and continue to break down barriers in fields such as politics and business, and in industries ranging from retail to manufacturing.
Georgina Goff, Senior Director of Marketing, Communications & Sustainability at global supply chain and manufacturing solutions provider Flex, agrees, stating that “the older ways of thinking provided a stereotypical view of a woman’s role in society before new ideas and expectations became essential.” Something that is especially prominent in industries such as manufacturing where archaic views regarding a woman’s role are starting to be replaced by new and progressive opinions.
Challenges faced by women in the workplace
One of the key challenges which is facing many industries in modern day society can be attributed to an international major skills gap. On this topic, Goff raised the point of a recent Deloitte study with the Manufacturing Institute, which reveals there could be 2.1 million unfilled jobs in the US by 2030.
“Given that women are significantly under-represented in manufacturing at a mere 30% and with a continued focus on dispelling preconceptions and stereotyping, this could be the perfect opportunity for women to join the industry,” she says, something that also resonates with Carmel Doyle, Operations Director, Europe & Asia, at Teamwork Commerce, who believes certain groups can often be overlooked.
Doyle says “A mother has many talents that can be beneficial in senior management positions, but sometimes I think they are overlooked as the focus is that they will need to take more holidays or work fewer hours. By changing the mindset and allowing working hours to be flexible, or implementing job sharing, the company can benefit from having a reliable, loyal and satisfied employee. Furthermore, they will appreciate flexi working time and will work harder and smarter to show their gratitude for the support, resulting in an engaged and productive employee.”
Creating systemic change through mentoring
The definition of success has also changed, with it no longer being just about taking risks or achieving individual accomplishments. It is also about creating systemic change and empowering other women to succeed. This can be achieved through mentorship, networking and advocacy, and above all, working with organisations that have the same beliefs.
“Having worked on a number of exciting partnerships over the last year, we are proud to partner with retailers who are making strides in prioritising equality and equity in their ways of working,” says Fenne Mahieu, Head of Success of Nedap Retail
“These include G-Star Raw, with the G-Star Raw Denim (GSRD) Foundation being awarded the 2022 Lotus Leadership Award for its contribution to women empowerment and gender equality in Asia. Superdry is focusing on an ongoing commitment to Diversity and Equality, and fashion retailer Bestseller is also working towards a goal of supporting 100,000 women in tier 1 factories by 2025 to bolster female empowerment within the organisation.”
This comes back to the ideology that mentorship and role models play a key role in a more gender inclusive future. In May 2022, a report revealed that for women working in tech, role models are even more important, with 64% reporting being inspired by a role model to pursue their career, compared to only 47% of men.
Collaborative progress – a step in the right direction?
Success for women is not just about individual achievements, but also about collective progress. This means recognising the intersectionality of women’s experiences and advocating for the rights of all women and ensuring they have the support needed to excel in their chosen careers.
Success today means creating inclusive spaces where all women can thrive, with discussions around the theme of ‘female empowerment’ starting to soar in mainstream popularity. “Female empowerment means we as women feel capable and able to grow and scale our passion beyond what we thought possible,” explains Worsley. “Feeling embodied in making confident decisions and not questioning our ability to make them. It’s understanding your own self-worth, supporting other women, and building your and their confidence.”
“Women need the access to the same opportunities and resources as men, in order to be able to achieve the same level of success and rewards,” adds Doyle. “Historically, women have had to struggle to gain equal levels of rights and respect to stand on the same podiums as men. The playing fields have not been level with women facing social disadvantages and a constant uphill battle to try to strive for equality in the corporate world.”
Women in technology – the key to future prosperity?
International Women’s Day also means celebrating the diversity and resilience of women across the world. Women are seen as the backbone of their families and communities, and their contributions to society are immeasurable. Women are leaders, caregivers, entrepreneurs, activists and creators. Their voices, experiences and stories are essential for creating a more just and equitable world.
Success on International Women’s Day is about recognising the achievements of women, promoting gender equality and creating a future where all women can thrive. As we’ve seen here, it means breaking barriers, creating systemic change, advocating for others and celebrating diversity. Success, regardless of industry, should be recognised and celebrated, and it’s exciting to see more women becoming the faces of these milestones in organisations all over the world.
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