It’s been just over a month since International Women’s Day and already I’ve neglected at least one of the pledges I made for progress. So, I thought I’d take a look back at the notes I took from the event I ran for the BCSWomen and Scotland Women in Technology networks, featuring some inspirational women who had been nominated for the SWIT Awards 2017.
First up was Talat Yaqoob, Director of Equate Scotland. Her CV for the advancement of diversity is impressive. She talked about action that she and Equate are taking to press for progress, and the need for industry and education to come together. She stressed that a 45 minute session does not “cure” unconscious bias and shared that positive gender stereotypes are crucial.
We then heard from Jude McCorry, Head of Business Development at The Data Lab. She described herself as mother, manager, employee, daughter. She has been identified by us as a role model, but we all play many roles at different times and in different contexts. She was keen to impress upon us the support that she has received from men, and that male role models can be equally as valid. And men – we *do* need your support.
Last, but by no means least, was Ilana Munckton, Director, Growth at Skyscanner. She gave us an honest account of her experience of imposter syndrome, describing reactions such as “I’m not as impressive as any of these other women”. Boy do we know these: “I’m not good enough”, “I don’t deserve to be heard”, “my skills are not as good as yours”… We tell ourselves this all the time. This still happens in a nurturing environment. And it’s not just women, men suffer from this too, although I suspect men are better at faking the confidence. So how do we shut out those voices? As Ilana put it, “we need to champion intelligent, hard working women relentlessly and passionately”. A positive action I learned from Ilana, then pledged to do and have almost immediately failed upon doing, is #HighFiveFriday. Every Friday she recognises someone (or some people) for being awesome. If I remember correctly she tells their manager. But just doing it is great. We may find it hard to build ourselves up, but it’s a lot easier to build up others. So that was my pledge and I have two days to get started again….
(I also pledged to nominate someone for this year’s Scotland Women in Technology awards, but as they are not ready for nominations I don’t feel I’ve slipped up on that yet!)