International Women’s Day is upon us again, and it could not have come soon enough. It has been reported by multiple sources that, professionally, it is, once again, women who have borne the greatest burden as a result of the Covid pandemic.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that US employers cut 140,000 jobs, in the month of December, 2020, all of which were held by women, while men gained 16,000 jobs over the same period.
In addition, the data shows a further diversity disparity as black women and latinas lose out to white women, widening the equality gap yet again.
Here in the UK, research conducted by the University of Exeter found that women were nearly twice as likely to lose their job as men, while PwC data showed the proportion of women losing their jobs during the pandemic was as high as 78 per cent.
This ‘gender recession’ is a major global problem, potentially setting gender equality way back as the world cautiously starts to emerge from lockdown.
International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the socio-economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the world. In times of crisis, such as the period we are all living through now, it also serves as a reminder of the importance of diversity and inclusivity, where progress made can be fragile and easily lost.
This year, the focus of the day is: ‘Choose to Challenge’, as the organisers serve up the qualifier: ‘A challenged world is an alert world.’
At Divido, that’s certainly something we can get behind.
Gender diversity and inclusivity at Divido
As is the case for most organisations, for us at Divido, we have found our successes as part of our drive for workplace diversity and equality as well as finding areas that need more work.
Since January 2020, we have seen an increase from 11 per cent to 22 per cent in the number of women working at Divido, where 40 per cent of hires during the last six months have been female. However, one in five is still very low as we set our sights on closing that gap further in the coming year.
Our leadership team is stronger with one in three members representing women and our Operations department lands on a 50/50 split.
The Commercial team requires work, with only 25 per cent of the team being women but, like most tech companies, our greatest challenge lies in recruiting female engineers
Currently, our engineer team comprises only 19 per cent women; better than many but a way to go. Addressing this figure will be a key area of focus for Divido in the coming twelve months and beyond.
Women in tech
The priority of diversity goes way beyond cynical number balancing; it has far-reaching benefits for individuals, teams and companies, alike.
Divido Chief Operating Officer Neha Mittal explains: ‘Diversity in the workplace is important for many reasons but, for me, the two reasons that are most important are if you have people who are from different walks of life, have different perspectives and upbringings, you will have a more creative and innovative working environment. And, also, you will understand your customers a lot better.
‘For a global business like Divido, we need a diverse workplace – we are all about innovation. For us, this is absolutely a priority.’
As Divido CEO Christer Holloman pointed out in his article: Time to close the inequality chasm for women in tech, one of the key challenges of gender inequality in tech is that women are less inclined towards STEM (Science, technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects at school, which carries forward into the working world. This means that the pool of technology talent coming out of universities isn’t balanced, making it more of a challenge to find women looking to take up technology roles.
So, as a starting point, support for organisations that focus on showcasing technology careers to women at school age is vital to improve on the current three per cent figure that represents female students who make STEM careers their first choice.
Taking this idea as an action for himself, last year Christer established Fintech Finishers – an organisation that encourages fintech employees to compete in endurance challenges to raise awareness, inspire action and create accountability, for greater workplace diversity in the fintech industry.
The initiative has not only seen significant interest and action from major financial firms, such as Revolut, TransferWise and ClearScore, but has also been nominated for a series of financial-sector awards, in recognition of the positive message and action it sends out to the fintech community and beyond.
And with that message in mind, we would like to wish you all an inspiring and action-led International Women’s Day from Divido. Let’s make it more than count.