Here at Intopia, we try to make positive change in any and every way that we possibly can. One of the areas that we want to see change is women in technology. We want to see women in more leadership roles across the board, driving innovation and taking charge in improving accessibility and inclusive design for all. It’s something we strive to champion and contribute to.
Although we’ve grown significantly over the past 12 months, we’ve been able to keep the gender balance within our team. In fact, almost two thirds of our team are women. For us, it’s a sign that we’re on the right track. Intopia will always push to break the bias, which is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day:
Imagine a gender equal world.
A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Together we can forge women’s equality.
Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.
We asked some of our female and non-binary team members about what needs to be done to increase the visibility of women in accessibility (and technology in general), and what we can all do to break the bias.
What can we do to increase the number (and visibility) of women in accessibility (and technology in general)?
Sarah Pulis (she/her): To increase the number and visibility of women in technology, we need opportunity. Opportunity gives women the space to shine just as brightly as the next person.
Ayesha Semfel (she/her): It’s important to increase awareness of roles in tech/accessibility from young age i.e. primary school, high school, university. When I was in school, a role in tech (let alone digital accessibility) was never presented as an option to the women in my grade, and honestly, I thought I lacked the technical ability to pursue a career in tech. I thought you had to be a maths whizz, and that it wasn’t something I’d be interested in. What I now know, is that it is an incredibly diverse and exciting field that gives you the freedom to find roles that allow you to be creative, technical, or a mixture of the two. You can find something that plays to your strengths, and it is always changing.
Lauren Eisentrager (she/her): Young girls entering or completing secondary education face a lack of prominent female role models to look up to in the tech industry. We can change this by consistently representing women in leadership roles and rebranding what it means to work in the industry (focus on highlighting creativity, teamwork, and providing positive change through tech).
This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias. What can we do to make that happen?
Sarah: We can #BreakTheBias though challenge. Challenging ourselves and our biases. Challenge others whose attitudes create barriers. Challenging the stereotypes that hold women back. And support and challenge women so they can become who they want to be.
Ayesha: Representation, and women supporting women is key. Representation in the media, at school, and at work is critical. When you see people like you who are doing things you wouldn’t normally do, it creates a sense of curiosity and awareness of the types of things you could be doing too. Without seeing or experiencing something like that, it can be hard to break the traditional thinking around gender roles. I also think that women should be more open with their experiences and support younger generations to set them up for success.
Lauren: Companies can reflect internally and fix employment practices (e.g. recruiting with a clear commitment to gender equality), provide career development support such as mentoring, and (most importantly) continue the conversation.
Tess Hutley (they/them): ‘You cannot be what you cannot see’. When we do not shine a light on diversity in the tech sector, women and other minorities may not feel like they are welcome in these spaces. We need allyship from men to help create safe spaces for women and other genders to connect and feel comfortable, and to lift up the voices of diverse members of the community to show that they can flourish here.
You can find out more about International Women’s Day on the International Women’s Day website.