IWD 2023: “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”
Today is International Women’s Day, and the theme for this year is ‘DigitALL’ which we thought was very fitting for us as a digital marketing agency! We wanted to speak to the women in our business about what International Women’s Day means to them, and about what it’s like for a woman forging a career in a digital space.
“The United Nations Observance of IWD recognizes and celebrates the women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education. IWD 2023 will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. The event will also spotlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.
Bringing women and other marginalized groups into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality”.
Our Head of Content, Kerry, kicked things off with a look back over her career in digital which spans more than 15 years. She says that ‘When I started it was a male-dominated environment and it was rare to find a woman in a more senior role, it was also a struggle to be taken seriously as a female within those roles. It’s been great to see this trend turn, and it is wonderful to now work at a place where women make up a large proportion of the team and are also given senior positions within the company’.
We asked the team for their ideas of how to encourage and support more women to join the digital industry and lots of them spoke about the need to make work a more inclusive and flexible environment. Relationship Manager, Jo, said that ‘Flexible and hybrid working can help encourage women into digital roles. This type of working can benefit most employees however for women with young families this can allow them to maintain and progress in a career and raise their children with their partner or independently. Women need to feel supported by their team members and if they encounter any internal or external gender bias they should feel confident that their workplace will support them’.
Kerry agreed, saying: ‘Flexible working. Hopefully gone are the days when having to “do the school run” meant that you might miss out on a job or the opportunity to pursue a career. Maybe the trend towards men sharing the parental role and asking for flexibility in working hours has helped this – whatever the reason, not being penalised for being a parent will definitely encourage more women to apply for roles in the digital arena’.
When asked how best men can support their female colleagues in the digital workplace, Kerry said: ‘Create an environment of tolerance and support. While the number of women in the sector has increased, it can still be quite a masculine environment to work in, it is key that all team members are there to support each other and protect each other from men with outdated views about women in the workplace and the digital space in general’.
Marketing Manager Alex said ‘whilst the workplace has become much more inclusive and supportive of women and other groups, it’s important that we don’t sit back on our laurels and think that the work is done. There is still unconscious bias at play, there are still jokes being made in the name of ‘banter’ which may make women feel uncomfortable at work, and there is still a disproportionate number of men at the apex of the industry – all of these things are improving but we’ve got a way to go!’
Partnership Development Manager Kaya argues that: ‘Men can best support women in the digital space by actively working towards equality. Feminism describes gender equality and this can’t be reached without men’s support in the workplace. There are so many ways to help this but I would say that ensuring that not only those who are loudest in a room are heard is a good first step. Men’s involvement is essential in the creation of safe and productive workplaces. If you see anyone being treated unfairly at work, don’t ignore it.’
Jo thinks that: ‘Men can support women in the digital space by treating us the same as they would anyone else on their team or professionals they work with. Both male and female employees can support one another during meetings and difficult conversations and help empower one another’.
We asked Business Development Manager, Bailey, why it’s important that women occupy more space in the digital world and she reasoned that: ‘As digital and machine learning advances, it’s imperative that we have a variety of voices creating and educating our systems. If not we could be in a world where digital has biases and already marginalised voices are getting pushed even further down’.
Bailey is positive about the changes that she’s seen in digital, and says that she feels: ‘supported and encouraged working in the digital space. It is full of encouragement from all over, you are not limited to your role or region. You can unite and make waves with like-minded people on topics that really make a difference’. Similarly, Kaya says: ‘Being a woman working in digital is an exciting, privileged position to be in. In an industry that is changing as quickly as digital, there are ample opportunities to learn and grow from each other and to help empower the next generation of great digital marketers, which is a huge benefit of my role’.