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A day to challenge

A day to challenge

Chris Sainsbury, Founder and Managing Director, UX Connections

Each year my LinkedIn feed lights up with posts marking International Women’s Day on 8th March, and I’m glad to see female colleagues and contacts congratulate each other on achievements or celebrate progress in their industries. There are always far more of these than on the Men’s equivalent day of celebration (19th November, in case you’re wondering – comedian Richard Herring has always been keen to remind those who do query whether there is one, and also my birthday…)

As I write this, I wonder how many of my colleagues across the tech industry will be taking some time to consider, or to celebrate, International Women’s Day. I fear there may not be as much to celebrate this year as in times gone by. Progress has stalled thanks to the Covid pandemic, and has, if anything, lurched wildly backwards. The tech industry has been as hard hit as any other, with Forbes reporting that women in tech have been more likely to have been made redundant than men, and struggled with childcare more than their male counterparts.

As it is, the tech industry is not known for its equilibrium between the sexes. It is an industry massively overrepresented by men, especially in positions of leadership. 77% of tech positions in leadership are held by men. Our own team at UX Connections is, therefore, relatively unusual in being, in the majority, women; our team is 66% female, and each of our international outposts is headed up by a female leader.

I am well supported by a brilliant, capable colleagues on all sides, and I am reminded, frequently, of the skills and talents of each and every one of the squad. I’m proud to play ‘team captain,’ which means that I get to hand out praise, and share glories, but I also need to listen to what can be uncomfortable first-hand experiences.

I hadn’t heard of the term ‘mansplaining’ until relatively recently, but I have seen it in action, along with the occasional belittling comment to the women in my team when meeting prospective clients. That is why I have pledged to my team that every voice will be treated and heard equally. Our company values of equality, openness and inclusivity mean that we will think twice if potential briefs or clients challenge them.

I feel confident that the future is bright for women in tech. If the team at UX Connections is any indication, the future of a more equal world of technology, and a levelling playing field, is surely within reach. And I would like to play my part in helping us to get there. So, to chime in with this year’s theme for International Women’s Day, I Choose To Challenge myself to advocate the importance of both gender and racial equality, both at work, and across the tech sector. At UX Connections, our people come first, and we are proud to support and strengthen under-represented groups and will continue to do so. I Choose To Challenge others in the industry to support us in our mission, and perhaps to follow suit.

#choosetochallenge

 

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