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Why we need to work together to promote a better future

The theme for this year’s International Woman’s Day is #BalanceforBetter, this theme aims to encourage a world of equal opportunity. 

Women still face a magnitude of issues in the workspace, especially those who work within the tech industry. 

However, there is an opportunity to look back on the past and reflect on what we cloud do better and more importantly look to the future to ensure equality. 

Here’s what some of the most influential women in IT have to say: 

Certus 3 head of product Carmen Culina

According to some studies, five per cent or fewer of the managers in the tech industry are female, and this is to everyone's detriment. 

We need a greater sense of personal accountability for this situation from corporate leaders and managers responsible for hiring and promotion.  

STEM skills education may go part way in improving participation, but it won't solve the problems inside science and technology companies that prevent women from getting into the executive pipeline and ultimately CEO position.

Acquia APJ marketing director Nicole Stirling

There’s a huge opportunity for women to bring their unique upbringing, skills and personality to the technology community. Right now, women represent roughly 17 per cent of the Drupal community, which far exceeds representation in open source of 1.5 per cent, but it’s still too low. 

The open source community creates a connection, learning, employment and leadership opportunity.  If you’re even remotely curious in what’s involved in being a Drupalist, ask to shadow a developer for a week or sign up for a computer science course. I also recommend taking an active role in your own personal career. 

Don’t rely on your employer to challenge or train you. Join a developer or Girls in Tech community and get involved, be outspoken. Learn what others are doing and take their experiences into any networking you do.

Ricoh Australia marketing GM Tori Starkey

I believe that inclusion and diversity is the single biggest challenge facing our industry. In particular, the diversity of thinking. 

We are continually seeing that teams that are cognitively diverse and have psychological safety are the best performing, yet often female leaders, in particular, are deemed to have limited "leadership capability" or aren't a good "cultural fit" if they have a different leadership style and way of thinking to the norm. This leaves a lot of potential on the table in terms of innovation, creative thinking and problem-solving.  

 From a marketing perspective diversity also enables us to better align and understand our customers to design experiences and solutions that create value.  If we don't actively address inclusion as well as diversity, we will never address the talent pipeline issue in one of our fastest growing industries.

Veritec talent lead Corryn Webb

Diversity, fairness and respect are fundamental values of Veritec and they support our goal to encourage more women to join the IT industry. 

One of many initiatives we have is the recent launch of the Veritec Impressive Women group, a forum to celebrate inclusion and one that takes inspiration from female leaders in the industry who share their own journeys, conduct workshops and develop actions to encourage others to join the IT Industry and support progression. 

Tribal Group product and development MD Barbara Staruk

One of the key factors in driving more women into IT is to get to a position where it is not exceptional. My parents were both developers, having gone to the same technical university.  They worked as developers at the same company for many years when I was young.  In my mind, there was no difference between my mother and my father.  Women literally played the same role as men. 

This is the environment that we need to re-create – where women in an IT role is to be expected and normalised. This happens by the small number of women who are currently in these roles creating spaces to show the younger generations that is not only possible but ‘normal’.  This can happen through interactions in primary school, mentorship or just through promotion on social media

Another factor in this is also not creating separation earlier in life. A part of normalising women’s role in technology is normalising girls roles in the classroom. If young girls are given the same expectations in terms of interest and aptitude for STEM learning, the outcomes of more interested in STEM will follow.