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IWD 2024: 2024 International Women's Day: Celebrating women in tech all year round
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

While International Women's Day offers a dedicated space to acknowledge the achievements of women in technology, celebrating their contributions shouldn't be confined to a single day.

Building a truly diverse and thriving tech landscape —where every individual feels empowered to contribute— requires consistent, year-round efforts to showcase female success and promote inclusivity in the vast and ever-evolving field of technology.

As a woman in tech, don't be afraid to raise your hand, share your ideas, and network with others to showcase your expertise and build visibility within the technology industry. 

Mentors matter  
One crucial element to celebrating success stories is to not only frame narratives in terms of overcoming barriers, but as testaments to remarkable achievements. By highlighting women's journeys, their ability to navigate challenges, and their significant contributions, we inspire others to follow in their footsteps. This can be done through various channels, like featuring their work in company blogs, hosting talks and panels where they share their expertise, and actively promoting their accomplishments on social media.

Mentorship programmes are another powerful tool for fostering career growth. Connecting experienced professionals, regardless of gender, with aspiring individuals creates invaluable connections and guidance.

Taking part in mentoring programmes offers amazing benefits to both the mentor and the mentee. It goes beyond providing role models — it fosters diverse perspectives, breaks down barriers, whilst also allowing mentees to benefit from a wider range of experiences and insights. A way to take these programmes even further is to have more women in tech become mentors themselves. This will enable them to use that supportive network as a catalyst for change.  

Mentoring doesn't need to be limited to tech professionals, however. For me, it's particularly important to outreach at a 'grass roots' level – hosting workshops and initiative programmes tailored to encouraging young women and girls to pursue careers in technology. Introducing those who are interested in a career in technology to experienced professionals is a brilliant way to help them enter the profession and diversify the industry at the same time. 

The power of allies

The importance of allies cannot be understated when it comes to supporting women in tech. Championing inclusion and actively supporting each other's success is paramount.

Both men and women play a crucial role in driving change. Allies, whether male or female, are essential in creating a supportive environment for women to thrive. Recognising the benefits of diversity is not enough; actively championing it and fostering a culture of inclusion should become an integral part of every organisation's DNA.

I think a big step towards encouraging more women to enter and stay in the technology industry is moving away from the traditional image of networking opportunities. Non-inclusive gatherings need to become a thing of the past. We need to create welcoming spaces that cater to diverse preferences, foster a sense of belonging, and encourage collaboration. There needs to be some innovation when it comes to organising events; they should include activities and settings that appeal to a wider audience, foster genuine connections and organic relationship building. This approach not only broadens the appeal of gatherings but also enriches the experience, ensuring everyone feels valued and connected.

For example, while attending a recent industry event, I was disheartened by the lack of progress regarding diversity – I thought we had come a lot further. This reinforced to me the need for continuous, collaborative efforts.

A commitment to change

Celebrating women in tech year-round should not be merely a symbolic gesture; it needs to be a commitment to fostering an environment where women can flourish and contribute meaningfully to the industry.

By consistently celebrating achievements, fostering valuable mentorship and networking opportunities, and investing in continuous education, we can create a tech landscape that ensures every individual, regardless of gender, has the opportunity to excel and contribute to the future of technology. 

Women in tech can be powerful catalysts for change through mentorship and networking, but the responsibility shouldn't solely fall on them. Building a truly inclusive tech landscape requires a collective commitment from everyone – individuals, organisations, and the industry as a whole. It needs to be a part of our DNA.