It shouldn’t be a question of men verses women. We aren’t trying to outdo the men. We are simply trying to level the playing field.
This is a conversation I have had multiple times, not just with colleagues and clients but also in my personal life. When I told my friends I was joining the Women in Technology campaign, they asked why. My reasoning at the time was simple – why not? At that point, I knew women in the Technology industry were in the minority, almost 2 years in PwC had already shown me as much. So, when the opportunity arose to join the WiT Comms team I didn’t hesitate. I said yes immediately. I wasn’t concerned with specifics, I wasn’t worried about time commitment and I definitely had no concern about how I would be perceived. I was asked by a friend and colleague who I admired. A strong, outspoken, skilled and experienced woman working in the Technology sector, who I had no doubt would go very far and who I could learn a lot from. Why wouldn’t I take such an amazing opportunity?
At every opportunity I tell people that I am part of Women in Technology – change the ratio campaign. I am proud of the work we are doing, the achievements we have made so far, the plans we have for the future and the bright and innovative minds of the men and women who work on the campaign.
And then doubt started to creep in. What if I put all this hard work, passion and drive into something that isn’t seen as worthwhile, that isn’t seen as adding value to the business. What if I should be spending my time and energy on other work – work that I may not be passionate about, but that I know will get me noticed and possibly put me that step ahead for the next big opportunity in my career.
Ten months later, my feelings are completely different. My passion has grown and continues to do so day by day as my awareness of the obstacles women face increases. At every opportunity I tell people that I am part of Women in Technology – change the ratio campaign. I am proud of the work we are doing, the achievements we have made so far, the plans we have for the future and the bright and innovative minds of the men and women who work on the campaign. I no longer worry about perception - I am part of a team whose core ambition is not just to make a difference in the future, but to make a difference now.. But we cannot do this alone! We need involvement and support from our colleagues, both male and female, from those starting out in their careers to the most experienced and influential minds. We cannot be pitted against each other, men verses women, women verses women. Of course our own career is important but as the saying goes – there is no I in Team or in Success.
It is this behaviour that still baffles me. How many times do we tell our clients that working in silos is inefficient and cannot be sustained? We need to work together in order to really make our mark. It is this thinking and approach that we are now taking forward. The PwC Women in Technology – Change the ratio campaign has spent the last year building a solid foundation. We have expanded our networks and gained partnerships, sought to develop the talent we know we already have within the business, and, as colleagues have moved on to further their careers in the Technology industry, we have welcomed new members with innovative ideas.
However as Emma Watson, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador said during her HeForShe Campaign speech to the UN in 2014 - “How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feels welcome to participate in the conversation”. Although the doors were never closed to our male colleagues, we are now actively reaching out and asking them to join the campaign. We are not here to give women an advantage, we are not here to play the victim or set ourselves apart from our male colleagues. We are simply here asking to play on the same team, to have the same opportunities and be recognised for our skills and experience in the same way. We are here to be equals.