We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements and help create an inclusive world. As part of our team’s International Women’s Day celebration, our CEO Rory MacDonald, COO Chris Blackburn, Head of Marketing Laura Plaga, and Head of Operations Sam Paice, have shared some of the ways they “Choose to Challenge” gender bias and inequality to create a better culture for people at Made Tech and the wider community.
If you would like to watch the full interview, it is available here.
How we choose to challenge gender bias and inequality at executive level
Rory: I have an amazing daughter and I want to see growing up in a world that provides her with equal if not better opportunities than the ones I had. It strikes me as deeply unfair that because of her gender she would be at a disadvantage to others. I recognise that it’s on people like me, people who lead businesses and have significant influence over business strategy, to be challenging the status quo for this International Women’s Day.
There are lots of things we’re doing at Made Tech but the one I want to highlight today is the thing I’m personally most focused on at the moment. Less than 10 of the UK’s public companies have equal gender split on their boards. We’re currently recruiting for a brand new board of directors at Made Tech and I’m working hard to achieve gender equality at that board level. It’s difficult because we’re fighting against the norms but we have to as we know change in gender equality needs to start at the top.
How we choose to challenge gender bias and inequality in the decision-making process
Sam: I think that organisations make better decisions when they encourage a more diverse set of viewpoints and experiences in decision making forums and when they involve more different types of people in how things get done. My experience when joined this company a couple of months ago at group leadership level is that we’ve got a really nice mix of men and women in those positions. I feel like we have good quality discussions and I hope that we continue to make that focus as we look to expand the leadership of the business as we get bigger.
How we choose to challenge gender bias and inequality through mentorship
Laura: Mentoring other women I work with who are getting started in their career is important. Learning and mentoring is one of our core values and it’s one that I feel particularly strong about. I think it can make such a huge difference to people.
How we choose to challenge gender bias and inequality in our recruitment and hiring
Chris: One approach I think has had a lot of impact was looking at the early stages of our recruitment pipeline and how we can attract a wider range of candidates. So including things such as, 1) looking at our benefits package and how we’re positioning that to cater for people with different wants and different needs 2) evaluating the language that’s used in our job adverts to try to remove any unconscious biases and then 3) supporting and engaging with underrepresented groups in meetups and the like to help build the Made Tech profile with a wider set of communities.
What we’ve found through taking some of these steps is an increased volume of applicants from diverse backgrounds at the start of our recruitment pipeline and this is ultimately translated into an increased number of diverse hires coming out the other end.
How we choose to challenge gender bias and inequality by recognising and addressing bias
Sam: I think a place that I’m looking to kind of work myself on is any unconscious bias that I might still have. I feel like as a male in a leadership position who works with women, has managed women and been managed by women, it’s very easy to think that you don’t have any bias. But I think it’s always important to be aware or try and make yourself more aware of any unconscious bias you might have.
Over the next few months that’s certainly something I’ll be thinking about in how I operate within the business. It’s something I’m looking forward to. I feel like it’s always good to challenge yourself on that kind of thing and I hope it will make me a better colleague to work with.
How we choose to challenge gender bias and inequality by supporting and celebrating achievements
Laura: It’s important we are supporting and celebrating other women’s achievements. I think by encouraging each other to challenge the gender confidence gap and have each other’s back that we can make such a huge difference.
While Made Tech has made a number of really positive steps forward in recent years, unquestionably, we still have a long way to go. We would love to hear how other companies are working to be more inclusive and challenging gender bias and inequality. Happy International Women’s Day from the Made Tech team!