As a woman in a tech career, I’ve often found myself the one woman in a room of many men – I’m not complaining, just calling it out.
It’s what I’m used to and, to be honest, it sometimes has its benefits – for example, never having to queue for the loo at tech conferences! So yesterday, it was a breath of fresh air when I got to be one of many women in the room at the DWP-hosted ‘Women in Digital’ event (check us out on Twitter #DWPWID17). Women from across the industry got to celebrate their careers in technology, support each other and share experiences.
It was uplifting, empowering, inspirational and fun. And the men in the room were, for a change, in the minority – but were very welcome. It was a good chance for them to check their privilege and understand how it might feel to be in a minority – no queuing for the loo for them, but I wonder how they felt?
The #DWPWID17 was certainly a day well spent; a chance to network and discuss the challenges facing women working in digital roles in DWP, across government and in the private sector. It was also an opportunity for us to re-launch our DWP gender network ‘Women in Technology’ and share the objectives for the coming year.
There was a real buzz in the air from the line-up of inspirational women speakers, all with interesting ideas and experiences to share, and interactive break-out sessions providing a chance to capture ideas on how we might achieve gender balance.
Gender diversity is a term I’ve been struggling with of late. So when Kylie Havelock, Ministry of Justice Digital, talked about normalising not diversifying, she gave us all food for thought. This really struck home with me, as I’d been thinking about the ‘gender thing’ in terms of balance, but I love the concept of normalising even more.
It was a great day and I, for one, came away inspired and ready to do more. I think I’m already a pretty active champion of women in tech careers, but there are always new ways to make a difference so, following on from the event, I’ve set myself a number of goals.
I’m going to do more to support Sue Griffin, our Women in Technology network lead, to help bring our objectives to life. I’m going to take my cue from Kylie and talk about ‘normalising and balancing the genders’ within digital roles – non-stop to anyone who will listen!
I’m going to keep networking and connecting with amazing, inspirational and interesting women so I can keep learning and stay inspired, building my own ‘girl gang’ (support network) because if we support each other, we can all be all ‘Wonder Women’.
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