IWD 2021: time to accelerate ambitions for meaningful change
Nimmi Patel of techUK on how its members are beginning to have important conversations about equality, and what the industry body can do to help
International Women's Day is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women which has been marked for over 100 years. Today serves as a reminder of the brilliant work done by women throughout history – in times where such brilliance may not have been appreciated – and gives us a chance to look forward.
In 2020, techUK reaffirmed its commitment to abolishing all-male panels and today we want to highlight how we continue to challenge and change the conversation to enable women to thrive in the UK digital and tech sectors.
We can see inequalities dominate public debate in the news. Global events have been a wake-up call for many of us in 2020 about our need to actively tackle the injustice and inequality that affect our friends and colleagues, especially from ethnic minority backgrounds.
This important realisation and shift in attitude have created positive momentum for companies and organisations to have honest and sometimes uncomfortable conversations about inequality, gender, and race. It has accelerated corporate ambitions for meaningful change, not least within techUK’s members.
We are supporting companies to:
- Keep gender on the agenda – now more than ever: techUK has joined WISE and 20 other partner organisations to pool resources in a joint effort to continue forwarding diversity and inclusion in STEM during Covid-19.
- techUK is a founding signatory of the Tech Talent Charter - a commitment by organisations to a set of undertakings that aim to deliver greater diversity in the tech workforce of the UK, one that better reflects the make-up of the population.
- techUK Returners Hub: Returners programmes offer a supported bridge back to work for people who have taken a career break. Providing ways for people to ease back into work after a career break is a vital way to make sure we do not lose out on their talent and experience. The techUK returners hub was created as a one-stop-shop for people looking to return to a career in digital. The hub signposts to companies open to applications, free resources and training providers.
- Gender Pay reporting: Data is the way in which we cut through our assumptions. While the use of data does not offer answers, it offers clear areas to work on.
- techUK is a proud supporter of the WISE campaign’s My Skills My Life which empowers young women to understand the opportunities in tech. It allows girls to use their natural tendency to define themselves by adjectives – such as imaginative or good with numbers (rather than objectively, as boys generally do). The tools translate the descriptions into career types, such as Explorer or Regulator, Persuader or Developer, showing which STEM careers could be of interest.
Each year on International Women's Day, and every day in between, we take a step closer to truly embracing diversity and inclusion to make the world a better place.
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