First off, there are some fantastic musical role models out there helping to change the mindset of women, one power ballad at a time, so thanks must go to Florence for the inspiring song behind the title and titles used in this #InternationalWomansDay blogpost.
‘It’s always darkest before the dawn’
To mark International Women’s Day 2019 (Friday March 8), I feel honored to be a woman working in technology and for the wave of change I see around me. In fact, yesterday I had the unique chance to hear Oprah Winfrey speak in person and she summed it up perfectly:
“Now is the greatest time for women. There is a new day on the horizon. Girls in the future will get to be their full selves. They don’t have to try to be a version of someone else!”
For me personally, working in tech has brought tremendous opportunities for personal growth, cutting edge innovation and the ability to influence the strategic direction of the business. In such a fast paced industry, I really enjoy the challenges that are presented to us everyday. We are helping our customers solve some of the most complex problems in the world and giving them amazing solutions to underpin their digital transformations.
‘So I like to keep my issues strong’
As a woman working in this space, there are moments that I look around the room and don’t see many other women in Senior Leadership Roles. This is really discouraging to me and as a company we are discussing the importance of not only bringing more women into the business, but also embracing diversity more broadly. We see this as being crucial, otherwise we are missing over half of the conversation. As a company, we make better decisions and serve our customers better when we have an inclusive perspective informed by many.
Our Director of Inclusivity and Diversity, Paul Morgan puts it perfectly: “We are so proud to honor and celebrate the women at Micro Focus on International Women’s Day. In the spirit of this year’s theme, #BalanceForBetter, we continue to strive for improved gender-balance in our workplace and provide exciting opportunities for our female employees throughout the year. Specifically, we are focused on offering development and networking opportunities through targeted learning, leadership programs, industry partnerships, and through our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). We are also rolling out new unconscious bias training companywide to actively address the hidden biases we all have, and develop plans that make the most of the talents and abilities of our team members.”
‘Given half the chance would I take any of it back?’
On a personal level, I see this commitment in action daily. As a Director in the business, I am grateful to say that our CEO and Executives have advocated for me personally and supported growth opportunities for myself and members of my team. One instance stands out in particular. A few years ago, our CEO took the time to lead out and made the point to several of his senior leaders about how women were to be treated and included in one of our largest and most important events.
That type of leadership from the top is critical to creating change and creating a meritocracy within the business. Ultimately, it comes down to each of us helping to encourage our girls and young women to explore STEM topics. I believe it needs to start early. In fact, I asked my parents, “how did I come to believe I could do anything I wanted and I wasn’t afraid of barriers?”
‘it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back’
From a young age, my parents never stood in the way if I wanted to try something. Including when I wanted to play soccer on the all boys team, because there wasn’t a girls team. They didn’t question it and were quick to praise my hard work and efforts. Fast forward 30 years and I can say the same thing for my managers and executives now. They are quick to support us when we want to challenge boundaries and share their positive feedback of our efforts. This creates a virtuous cycle where we teach our youth and people to risk and pursue their goals. Ultimately, it’s up to each of us to ‘shake IT out‘ and drive the tide of change to quicken the momentum of inclusion in our organizations……
‘I’m ready to hope’
That this little blogpost has inspired some of you, wherever you are from and whoever you are to help us drive diversification in our industry, and pursue a STEM career with a company like Micro Focus. If it has interested you please do find our careers page right here. If you’d like to help Micro Focus to assist more disadvantaged kids, like #GirlsInStem role-model Sugandhini, get started in their tech career then please read Peter Atkins’ blog about our awesome TTP Education Fund. If you’d like to talk to me personally about any of this, feel free to find me on Twitter. And finally no blog on this subject and day would be complete without a mention of one of the pioneering women in IT, the amazing Grace Hopper. Please dont forget to find out more about her in my colleague Derek Britton‘s alliterative blogpost: Academics, Analysts and Anchormen: Saluting the Admiral