THG celebrated International Women’s Day with ‘An Evening with Women in Tech’ at THG’s tech headquarters. Featuring ten outstanding women in tech, the event created a space to discuss the unique challenges for women in a technical field, as well as ways to work in male-dominated careers.
Since 1975, when the United Nations declared 8 March to be International Women’s Day, the world has been celebrating the roles that women play in industry and THG is no exception.
An Evening with Women in Tech
To kick off the night, Chief Information Officer Jo Drake presented statistics to paint a picture of the current tech environment. For example, only 15% of tech jobs are held by women and the rate of women quitting positions in tech is twice as high as it is for men. Whilst the statistics may sound staggering, if not daunting, THG is doing its part to level the playing field. By recognising exceptional women in the tech industry, we hope to inspire and innovate aspiring women for the future.
Computer and tech industries were largely founded through the work of women; the founder of computer programming, Ada Lovelace, wrote the first algorithm. In the 1960s, up to 50% of computer programmers were women. This figure shrank to 35% in the 1980s and today only 10%-18% of computer programming roles are filled by women. THG is working to correct the imbalance and push for more women in the tech industry.
A Journey to Tech
An Evening with Women in Tech celebrated the current potential existing for women in tech fields, even if an alternate route is taken to reach the tech industry. For example, many of the women speakers explained their unconventional paths to their tech positions. Gabriele Sapagovaite, Data Scientist, began her journey to tech by way of accountancy. Anna Holland-Smith, Accelerator Programme Manager, studied History and Criminal Law, while Barbara Cufar, Associate Product Manager, is educated in English Language and Literature.
The demand for tech placements is higher than ever, leading the industry to borrow employees from every sector. On the job learning is at an all-time high, while certifications and technical training can fill in learning gaps. An Evening with Women in Tech highlighted the potential in education, background, and objective diversity for women in tech while reaching out to industry newcomers to empower, uplift, and inspire.
Speakers included (left to right):
· Kinga Ratiu (Graduate Database Administrator)
· Meg Challinor (Senior System Admin)
· Mojo Lipstova (Lead WMS Process Engineer)
· Barbara Cufar (Associate Product Manager)
· Jo Drake (Chief Information Officer)
· Anna Holland-Smith (Accelerator Programme Manager)
· Gabriele Sapagovaite (Data Scientist)
· Silvia Sanroma (Graduate Software Engineer)
· Alexa Powell (Accelerator Programme Graduate)
Be sure to watch this space for more details and interviews from the influential women featured in the event.
emPOWERing Women in Tech
To learn more about exactly what it’s like to be a woman in a competitive, male-driven field, we spent some time with Hafsah Asmat, Technical Project Manager. Hafsah works on numerous tech projects such as the creation of new functionality on THG tech platforms or building, testing, and deploying new sites for THG brands and external brands. She comes from a Chemical Engineering background. After making it to the semi-finals for an engineering and technology competition, her passion for technology grew. As the only woman on her team, we were very interested in her take on women in the tech field. We asked Hafsah a few questions to understand her perspective as a successful woman in tech.
Q: Do you have any advice you would give to women aspiring for tech roles?
Hafsah: Having come from an engineering background myself, I’m used to seeing ratios of one woman to fifteen men. It may be that the word ‘software engineer’ itself throws women off. However, there are so many roles within tech for women. I feel that if women truly understood what is available to them, we would see many more in the tech industry. Whether you enjoy development, analysis, design, architecture, projects, or delivering solutions, there is a role in the tech field for you.
Q: What’s the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?
Hafsah: For me, it’s definitely the support. There is a huge push to support and encourage women in tech and it’s amazing to be a part of that. I feel the industry is beginning to attract more women, so I am excited to experience and contribute as the industry evolves.
Pushing the Envelope
THG’s theme for this year’s International Women’s Day was creating a diverse and inclusive environment for both men and women. To reach our goal, it’s imperative that we encourage more women to join us in the technical ranks. By uplifting positive female role models within the tech industry, we can promote and retain female employees and discourage toxic workplaces.
During an Evening with Women in Tech, Jo Drake explained that gender and career stereotyping is a major stopping point for women pursuing technical positions. Companies like THG who prioritise diversity are at a direct competitive advantage and by helping women define a foundational work/life balance, we can all enjoy the benefits.
How to truly celebrate International Women’s Day
While International Women’s Day is just one day a year, work can be done all year round. Below, see our top five ways to encourage diversity in the workplace and inspire women in tech.
#1: Don’t talk about women in the workplace only once a year,
#2: Build and support diverse teams,
#3: Champion female role models,
#4: For women working in tech, become a role model,
#5: Seek out female leaders and encourage their development within an organisation.
Find out about the exciting opportunities at THG here: