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IWD 2024: Count her in: Invest in women. Accelerate progress.
Thu, 7th Mar 2024

As we celebrate International Women's Day, reflecting on my nearly two-decade journey in the tech sector fills me with a mix of nostalgia, pride, and determination. Over the years, I have borne witness to monumental shifts, with one of the most profound being the evolution from the sluggish dial-up internet of the early 2000s to the lightning-fast mobile connectivity defining today's Martech landscape. 

This transition hasn't just revolutionised how we do business; it's also been a catalyst for change in workforce dynamics. The accessibility of the internet, coupled with the pandemic-induced surge in remote work, has opened doors for businesses to tap into vast and diverse talent pools.  Yet, despite these advancements, in the tech industry women are still significantly underrepresented. 

With the Workplace Gender Equality Agency's recent report revealing that 62% of median employer gender pay gaps are over 5% in favour of men (with +/- 5% what employers should be aiming for), it's perhaps no wonder there is a lack of female employees feeling enabled and empowered to enter certain workplace environments.  

Closing this gender gap isn't just a matter of equality; it's a strategic imperative for businesses aiming to thrive in an ever-evolving landscape. To achieve this, companies must take decisive action, overhauling outdated hiring practices and implementing mandatory equality training. But these efforts must go beyond mere lip service; they require fostering a culture that actively champions and supports women and other minorities.  

Crucially, we must elevate more women into leadership roles. While attracting and nurturing young female talent is essential, having visible female leaders can serve as powerful beacons of inspiration for the next generation. Personally, I take immense pride in the strides we've made at Bazaarvoice towards fostering an inclusive and respectful culture. Our commitment to gender diversity is not just rhetoric; it's reflected in our APAC leadership team, where women comprise 50%—a noteworthy achievement that challenges most data sources, which cite that only 30% of employees at tech companies are women, let alone in leadership positions.  

However, our journey towards gender equality doesn't end there. We must also focus on cultivating interest and enthusiasm for tech among young girls, ensuring they have equal opportunities to pursue STEM education and careers. We need more businesses in the tech space to get behind education providers and partner with them to really support and champion STEM in schools and universities. Statistically, it's disheartening to see women accounting for only a quarter of STEM  university enrollees today.  

As we navigate an era of unprecedented change and growth, we're presented with a remarkable opportunity to shape workplaces that embrace diversity and empower individuals of all backgrounds to succeed. This requires collective investment, unwavering support, and a commitment to uplifting one another. Moreover, it demands that we instil in the next generation the courage to be bold, to believe in themselves, and to forge paths unbounded by gender norms or limitations. 

On this International Women's Day, let us reaffirm our dedication to building a tech industry where every individual, regardless of gender, finds not just a place but a platform to thrive and contribute to the ever-evolving tapestry of innovation. Together, let's strive for a future where inclusion isn't just an aspiration but an undeniable reality.