International Women's Day 2022 - #BreakTheBias

For International Women’s Day, we spoke to some of the brilliant women in our team about how we can #BreakTheBias and elevate women in tech.

For this year’s International Women’s Day, women around the world are banding together to help #BreakTheBias.

At Acre, we strongly believe in the value of diversity in the workplace and encourage open and honest conversations about what needs to change and how we can change those things.

We want to #BreakTheBias by elevating our hard-working women and push for more conversations to:

· Continue meaningful change in our organisation to foster understanding, accepting, and valuing differences between people

· Identify the unconscious biases in our team and our industry, and design action to combat them

· Create spaces for women to support each other through forums and events

· Continuously review and benchmark our work and people policies from a perspective of equality and diversity

· Hire, retain, and grow female and diverse talent

 

For this blog post, we spoke to some of the women in our team. They shed some light on their experience of being a woman in tech so that we can understand how we can #BreakTheBias for good and ensure an equal future for woman at Acre.

Meet:

Toni – Head of Product Delivery

Kenza – Head of Customer Success

Rosa – Principal Software Engineer at Acre

Morgan – Quality Assurance Analyst

Megan – Content Designer

 

Firstly, what attracted you to a career in tech?

 

Morgan

The chance to develop a platform that I’ve wanted to see in the industry was the biggest attraction. Before Acre, I couldn’t find the solution I needed, so the idea of being able to contribute and build my dream platform enticed me.

 

Megan

I was really drawn to Acre to help design the future of a new platform. And to have a part in deciding not just what, but how to build something that can help so many people.

 

Toni

Always having a new challenge or being able to solve problems in creative ways. But did I conscientiously choose it? I don’t know haha!

 

Rosa

I started by thinking I wanted to make video games. I created a small game as my university project but realised the work and pieces that are really entailed in a complete video game and decided that it was not for me. But it’s been great after that!

 

Kenza

I studied Engineering in the first place in the 2000s. I then went into investment banking as an initial career. After 10 years I started thinking of making of a transition to the start-up space where I wanted to help grow a young business and be an active agent in its organic growth. Fintech then seemed like an obvious area to move to.

 

What has your experience of being a woman in tech been like?

 

Morgan

Daunting at times, with a pressure to perform as well as my male counterparts, however I have also learnt so much and am thankful for that. Instead, if trying to mould into what may have come before me, I have decided to be myself and not shrink which women so often do. Luckily, I feel supported at Acre to do that.

 

Megan

Like any job it’s been a bit nervy at times. When I first joined, I particularly felt this as I didn’t understand some of the code/tech terms all the guys were saying linked to the work I was doing. But I quickly felt comfortable to ask any question I had.

 

Toni

Overall, quite positive! But there’s certainly some issues with low representation of women in technical roles or even in Senior Technical positions.

 

Rosa

I’ve been lucky that I’ve met great people that wanted to mentor and help me progress in my career. And thanks to them I am where I am today.

 

Kenza

I’ve always been in male-dominated environments. Women made up 11% of women my engineering class at the time, and the same in my graduate training class in banking. I’ve been lucky enough to join a firm that gave me a fantastic opportunity to deliver value, prove myself and despite some challenges, I am really enjoying it.

What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced?

 

Morgan

Not in this workplace, but I am very passionate and this.When you’re a woman you can sometimes be seen as being emotional or dramatic - this has challenged me in the past and made me question my passion.

 

Megan

Similar to Morgan, in past roles I’ve been perceived as being dramatic which at times knocked my confidence. I’m an obsessive apologiser but I’m getting better at not doing this. And in Acre I’ve really been encouraged to back myself which is great!

 

Toni

Often people underestimate me because I am a young and female. In my experience, the general consensus for women is that they have to prove themselves a lot more than men do, in this industry - despite being more qualified/competent or as qualified/competent as the male counterparts.

 

Rosa

One of the early challenges I faced on my second job it was almost not getting hired because a higher up in the company thought that “how would a girl be able to do this job”. Luckily my future boss strongly disagreed and fought for me and gave me a chance to demonstrate what I could do.

 

Kenza

Not having worked in tech from the beginning presents challenges, because I am not always talking the same language as other colleagues on the more technical side of things. However, with communication and empathy, we manage to understand each other and leverage each other’s skills to deliver a great outcome. I also noted when we first joined women were under represented, this is a common challenge across the industry though.

Have you seen progress since these?

 

Morgan

In the world, yes - women are being encouraged to use their voices and I love it.

 

Megan

Yeah definitely. In the 2 jobs I’ve had since then I can see improvements in company policies and management to support women in what they’re delivering, having the space to up-skill, and being listened to properly.

 

Toni

Yes, for sure… I’ve been fortunate that it’s never created a barrier for me in my career path. I can see a lot more movement in the industry to actively promote and hire more diversely.

 

Rosa

There’s definitely more intention to be diverse and give more people a chance to show what they can do, but there’s still quite a long way to go. The percentage of women in tech is still few compared to men, and the fact that there are still companies without any women in tech roles is astonishing. And we are still missing a lot of women in positions of power.

 

Kenza

Absolutely, because we’ve got a good culture of feedback and communication, while remaining respectful of each other. We also increased women representation in the company which is fantastic. I’d argue though that we can still do better there.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

 

Morgan

No one remembers what you look like, they remember how you made them feel.

 

Megan

There’s always a reason or idea behind what you want to say so trust yourself and say it!

 

Toni

Stop apologising or assuming you’re wrong from the beginning… HAVE CONVICTION!

 

Rosa 

I’d tell her to just keep going doing what you like, find and trust in the right people and you’ll do great. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do.

Kenza

Be confident in yourself and your ability to deliver fantastic outcomes. You got there because you can do it. Don’t let anyone ever make you question that.

How can we achieve and promote an equal future for women in tech?

 

Morgan

Have women more front and centre and encourage mentorships and internships to show girls what tech is actually like and how welcome they are.

 

Megan

Celebrating the women who are already in tech and using them as role models to encourage more to apply. As well having more mentoring programmes and events and spaces (even if it’s in a job ad) showing why women’s mindsets, skills and approaches can help deliver even better results alongside those who are already in a company.

 

Toni

Creating better visibility of female role models, mentorship, and giving people access to female mentorship.

Making a more inclusive workplace for females. It’s rare that companies promote for example, maternity (or even paternity) pay/time off. By focusing on this, it balances the act and allows both parents the opportunity to have the time off they need/want. Given how under-represented females are in tech, companies can do more to involve employees in external workshops, tech events etc. Helping facilitate the opportunity to meet other females in tech.

 

Rosa

We need to stop gendering tech roles. Keep advertising it for young girls, or more like don’t stop their curiosity for technology just because “they are girls”. Women are smart and can be a great asset in the future of tech. And we need to make the higher positions more diverse.

  

Kenza

First of all, by trying to strip out any sort of unconscious bias when we’re dealing with someone. It’s not easy because it’s human to be attracted to similar profiles to yours but it’s critical to ensure a diverse workplace. The other important point to keep in mind is that men and women would approach things in different ways. Women only apply to a job if they think they meet most of its requirements. This means extra work needs to be done to spot female talent, attract them and give them the confidence they need to go after the role they want, get it, and grow in their chosen careers. Companies should also make sure that they have inclusive and equal policies that allow people to thrive in both their personal and professional lives. This cannot be done by women only - men need to be allies in that mission and understand that having a diverse talent pool is something good for businesses.

Thank you to the brilliant women who contributed to this post, and we hope this encourages more females to apply to join the team at Acre.

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