Last Thursday, a salubrious group of women gathered for our second WWIT meetup at the achingly stylish Reading offices of recruitment firm Stott...
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How Opsview is collaborating with our partners to promote women working in technology
A few months ago I realised I felt differently about the subject of Women in Technology. Maybe it was because I’m now working for an organisation that is justopen; open about what we don’t know, the changes we need to make, open to new ideas from us all. Maybe it’s because there’s such a lot going on in the world highlighting the rum deal some women have been getting. Maybe it’s because I feel more confident and more worthy of taking a lead on something. Or maybe it was just an extraordinarily good cup of coffee. Regardless of the origin, I shared my idea with my buddy and recruitment partner-in-crime, Annette Smith at Stott & May. We agreed that we wanted to do something to encourage women working in technology. We didn’t know what, or how. Yet.
I then talked to the epic Nikki Watkins. She works with us at Opsview as a leadership facilitator and executive coach and is a rather splendid human. She has also set up a Women in Tech group in London; what she doesn’t know on the topic isn’t worth knowing. She was typically amazing, advising me to be really clear in what I was trying to achieve, and coaching me in what to do next.
I had several women I have worked with in mind. None of them had the benefit of a woman mentor – someone to talk to, share thoughts, interrogate their experiences, mistakes and successes in order to learn. I felt that if we could get a group of like-mindeds in the same room, we could start to link our own networks in order to encourage more woman-to-woman mentoring. Annette suggested bubbles and nibbles. Nikki inexplicably agreed to come and run the first session. We were on.
So last night a bunch of impressive women came together for our inaugural ‘Women Working in Technology’ meeting, ably hosted by Stott & May in their impossibly-hip Reading offices. We shared our reasons for being there – most of them were pretty similar, and along the lines of “feeling like we just need to do something”. Nikki had us hanging off her every value-laden word, effortlessly taking us through a couple of exercises to explore how we can overcome some of the normal hurdles, and what we need to consider when building effective mentoring relationships. And we had fun, drank bubbles (of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic variety). I may have eaten a disturbingly large amount of chorizo-based canapés.
I hadn’t expected to feel so energised by it. Nor had I expected for the event to impart so much positivity – one of the attendees declared she was “feeling pumped”! We agreed to share our contacts with each other so we can start to explore possible mentoring connections. We want to meet again, and hope to be able to put together a session that is as valuable as this one has been.
At Opsview, 25% of our employees are women. We’re better at recruiting or promoting – 35% of our managers are women. We know we need to do more, and this thought was echoed many times last night. We have come a long way, but the latest stats suggest that in the UK we’re still 18.4% behind our male colleagues in terms of pay. The TUC have done some funky calculations and reckon that this effectively means we work 67 days for free a year. And we’re not yet solving the problem at an education level in schools, colleges and universities – 2017 stats are very mixed in terms of progress.
So we’ve started something. I’m super grateful to all the amazing women who came last night, sharing their insights and frustrations with a room of strangers. How impossibly brave.
And I raise a glass to my women colleagues and to the wonderful men who support us.
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