Happy International Women’s Day!

Hmm, what to write… I need to say something funny. All these cool tech dudes… Hmm, how about sharing a song… nah, they’ve probably heard all the good songs… Ohh, I should write something. It’s so lame not to contribute.

I’ll just skip it for now.

Oh, the utter anxiety of starting a new job and trying to establish your banter on group instant messaging.

“Oh no, they’ve seen that I’m writing something and now I’m going to have to finish what I’ve started…”

Sound familiar? All this inside humour and football talk… I don’t think I shared anything for the first six months on HipChat — it was 2015. There were so many new things and it also happened that I was the only woman in the London office.

I mean all the dudes are the nicest human beings ever, and they made me feel really welcome from day one. And when I think about my struggles being the only woman I can’t really think of many. Mainly because they are all great humans. They supported me and were aware of the fact that I was the only woman. Good people are good regardless of their gender, and if you are lucky enough to work with them, it doesn’t matter if they all happen to be men.

The tech industry is notorious for being very male dominated, and Mint has even had a rep for being a bit laddy. Heck, I was even a bit sceptical about joining because of it. But today, three years later, after a lot of effort and for the first time in Mint’s history, we celebrate being 50% women on the production team (that is, design/development). “Who cares?” you might say. Well, we do.

The thing is, diversity is beneficial to any environment — it brings more to the table. Imagine having a potluck dinner and everyone brings cheese. That actually happened to me once, and everyone had a stomach ache afterwards.

The bigger the variety and types of people you invite, the better the selection of food you get on the table. Imagine the potluck dinner when you have a big multi-culti friends group… Well, the same goes for work. Designing and building products for society’s diverse needs is hard, but it’s made even harder when that diversity isn’t reflected from within your team. The more diversity within a team, the better the ideas and solutions.

An extra perk of having more women in the office is that the conversations have changed. I don’t feel left out not knowing much about football anymore, and I can discuss the feeling of wanting to kill everyone around me right before having my period. It gets me every time!

But having more women in the office isn’t something that just changes on its own. You need to make a conscious effort to ensure your work environment is desirable for people with different needs. And it’s a neverending process; you can always be better.

We celebrate this International Women’s Day by raising our menstrual cups (too much?) to the small steps we’ve taken to make our Minty world a little bit better.


Originally published at mintdigital.com.