Inspire Inclusion in the Tech Sector with Spica

Showing people holding up hearts using their fingers for Womens day
March 8, 2024
Sejal Parsotomo

March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of women worldwide and advocate for gender equality. This year’s theme is inspire inclusion. At Spica, we are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace, particularly within the tech sector, where women are often underrepresented. In line with this commitment, we recently hosted a webinar titled “Tech Sector’s Roadmap to an Inclusive Workplace,” where industry experts discussed strategies to address underrepresentation and promote diversity in technology.

The webinar kicked off with an engaging panel discussion featuring Gemma, Head of HR and Employee Engagement, Simon, Head of New Business, Mandy, Product Owner, and Matt, Junior Full Stack Developer. Together, they shared their experiences in the tech industry and exchanged ideas for inspiring inclusion in organisations.

Key Takeaways from the Webinar

The panelists emphasised the importance of implementing diverse hiring practices to combat underrepresentation. By broadening the pool of applicants and ensuring inclusive hiring committees, tech companies can foster a workforce that reflects the diversity of society. Strategies to mitigate bias in recruitment processes, such as anonymising CVs and using gender-neutral language in job ads, were discussed, acknowledging the challenges smaller companies may face in implementing these practices.

Inspiring young minds to consider tech careers starts with early education. Engaging parents, teachers, and mentors to ignite curiosity and dismantle stereotypes is crucial. The panelists highlighted the significance of role models who champion diversity and inspire inclusion. Suggestions included early exposure to tech through attending events, seeking work experience opportunities, and showcasing diverse role models across various media platforms.

From implementing comprehensive diversity programs to offering mentorship opportunities and networking events, the consensus emphasised active engagement and commitment to change. Building safe and supportive environments within tech organisations is essential for women to thrive. Strategies for promoting equality, providing mentorship, and fostering a culture of inclusivity were discussed. Panelist Gemma shared that Spica is already committed to reporting data and using the She Index but plans to gather more detailed data and form focus groups to address areas where employees may not be getting the desired experience.

Current Barriers

However, the webinar also shed light on the challenges that persist in achieving gender equality in the tech sector. Alarming statistics about gender representation and the pay gap served as a sobering reminder of the work that still needs to be done.

Despite these challenges, there was a sense of optimism among the panelists about the industry’s potential for positive change.

How Can My Organisation Inspire Inclusion?

Hybrid Work Model

Many organisations are already implementing a flexible hybrid model, accommodating diverse needs and preferences. For individuals with different responsibilities, such as caregiving or commuting challenges, this flexibility can greatly improve work-life balance and accessibility. Additionally, a hybrid model encourages collaboration and communication among team members, regardless of their physical location, fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging. It also inspires inclusion by accommodating different work styles and preferences, ultimately leading to a more inclusive and supportive work environment.

Strategic Steps

Companies can take proactive steps to inspire inclusion by first gathering comprehensive data about their workforce. This involves looking beyond surface-level demographics and delving into intersectionality, which considers how various factors like gender, race, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation intersect to shape individuals’ experiences. By understanding the impact of different combinations of factors, companies can identify areas where certain groups may be underrepresented or marginalised. This insight is crucial for developing targeted strategies to address disparities and foster a more inclusive workplace.

Once gaps and marginalised groups are identified, companies can align their efforts with the organisations purpose and values. This ensures that diversity and inclusion initiatives are integrated into the company’s overall mission, rather than treated as separate initiatives. Using data effectively, companies can drive improvements in various areas such as recruitment, promotion opportunities, and pay structures. By setting clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), companies can track progress and hold themselves accountable for meeting diversity and inclusion goals.

Collaboration Between Industry Leaders and Educational Institutions

Partnering with educational institutions to provide real-world experiences and opportunities for students is crucial. Mentorship programs pair employees with mentors who can offer guidance and support, particularly for underrepresented groups. Networking events provide opportunities for employees to connect with others from diverse backgrounds, fostering a sense of belonging. Training sessions offer education on topics such as unconscious bias and inclusive leadership, equipping employees with the knowledge and skills to promote diversity and inspire inclusion.

For those who may feel uncertain about engaging in diversity efforts, the advise is taking proactive steps such as listening to different perspectives, acknowledging privilege, and actively supporting marginalised groups. By listening attentively to diverse viewpoints, individuals can better understand the experiences of others and promote a culture of inclusivity within their organisations.

Inclusion is Not a Trend

Inclusion isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a fundamental aspect of fostering innovation, creativity, and productivity. By embracing diversity and creating environments where everyone feels valued and respected, we can inspire inclusion and drive positive change in the tech industry.​

Let’s address an important question: If the webinar is for everyone and everyone should care about this matter of inclusion, why do we call it “Women in Tech” and “Women’s International Day“? It’s crucial to acknowledge that while these events focus on women and their contributions to the tech sector, the underlying goal is to promote inclusivity for all. By spotlighting the experiences and challenges faced by women in tech, we aim to shed light on broader issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.​

The term “Women in Tech” serves as a rallying point to raise awareness about the underrepresentation of women in the tech industry. Similarly, “Women’s International Day” provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women worldwide and advocate for gender equality in all sectors, including tech. However, it’s important to recognise that our discussions today extend beyond gender. Inclusion is about creating environments where everyone feels valued and respected, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, disability, or any other characteristic. By addressing barriers faced by women in tech, we can pave the way for a more inclusive future for all. So, while we may use these specific terms to draw attention to certain issues, the ultimate goal is to foster inclusivity for everyone. ​

Together, let’s build a more inclusive tech industry—one where diversity is celebrated, and all voices are heard.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Missed out on the webinar? No worries! You can catch all the action at our YouTube Channel.

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