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As we approach International Women’s Day on 8th March and following this year’s theme of think equal, build smart, innovate for change a group of us at Sagittarius have been putting together a programme of talks, presentations and round table discussions to showcase some of the brilliant women we have within the agency, to ensure that our voices continue to be heard at every level within our global organisation and to highlight how women have played an pivotal role in the development of digital and technology in the last century. We were keen not to just bang the “Women in Tech” drum. We want to celebrate our successes rather than bemoan the lot of women in STEM industries.
We are proud to be able to say that we have some fantastic female developers and QA’s across global locations (some of our male colleagues are pretty good too!) We have some inspirational leaders in the business – many of whom are female, and importantly, we have some really great programmes being implemented and developed to ensure fair progression and to encourage everyone to grow their careers and to develop personally – regardless of gender, religion, age, current role or dependant on which (if any) university they went to.
For example, our recently launched Mentoring Programme started life as an idea to support women in our company and help them fast track their careers after the MD and I met the inspirational Sarah Rench (EY) in London in 2018. This idea evolved – why just support and encourage women? Why not find a way of supporting everyone who wants to take control and progress their careers or personal growth? Our stats evidence our commitment to ensuring a level playing field, we are above our industry %’s for women in technical roles and there is no gender pay gap within the agency. We do want more women in the leadership team and on the board – and our Leadership Training track and line Manager Training tracks are being designed with this specifically in mind.
The focus on International Women’s Day via social media and within Sagittarius has ensured I am constantly sanity checking my training material against gender bias and inclusivity and ensuring our culture is promoting everyone to have a voice and ensure they challenge and question. This was the take away for one of our Project Managers Kay at a recent “women in tech” event. She had an amazing time, met some inspirational leaders and came “home” with a clearer mission to ensure her voice was being heard – not just at Sagittarius but with a wider audience in our industry.
It is clear that it is not just down to the leaders in our business to promote women in tech, fairness, less discrimination and our agency culture – but the mission of all of us to use our voice to ensure we are individually promoting equality and fairness and our core values. Our ability as individuals to challenge the status quo and to be bold, and to remain open-minded in all situations and invite everyone – even unlikely sources to have a dissenting voice – encourages innovation and produces more and more diverse perspectives to be considered.
Practicing inclusion is a fascinating challenge as we expand across global locations and cultures, including offices in the UK, Ukraine and Sri Lanka – but promoting consistent processes, building stronger and more informed relationships across global teams and using technology to support collaboration and encouraging people to travel between offices is helping us move towards our goal of creating a truly global community.
We are trying to build an environment where people feel respected, valued and equal. Where they know they have every opportunity to progress and where they feel part something good. This takes effort and investment… but there are rewards!
The Women in Tech movement and International Women’s Day are just a small part of this – but these wonderful initiatives and the support and momentum they give, keeps us moving in the right direction.