The award is very special to me, as it sums up the past 20 years of dedication to increasing the gender balance in the tech industry, creating high-performing teams and business units that represent the population in general through diversity and gender balance.
Thanks to the Nordic Women in Tech Awards (NWiTA) and many other important initiatives, there has been an increased awareness of diversity in tech in the Nordic region, and an increase of women in the tech industry in general, as well as in other technology roles.
I was so lucky to meet the founders and volunteers of NWiTA at last year's event, and I am impressed by their work and their important contribution to the IT industry in the Nordic region. Thank you to all of you, and a special thank you to leader Plamena Cherneva.
Along with several other measures, this type of initiative and dedicated focus is significant. It makes a big difference, and we are constantly seeing a slow but steady change for the better year after year.
My three pieces of advice for improving gender balance and diversity in a company
At FotoWare, we have diversity and gender balance as a priority, and we are proud to say that our gender balance at our head office is 45/55 % (women/men). Our employees represent 23 different nationalities, and there is a balance between young and senior employees, people from different cultures and backgrounds, and of course different skills and experiences.
For companies that want to improve their gender balance, I have three main pieces of advice:
1. This is business - so treat it that way
If you are serious about improving your gender balance, it must be part of the management team's KPI, in line with sales, profitability, and churn. In the same way that you most likely have weekly meetings to get an overview of your business, you also need to gain control over the status of gender balance and diversity in your company.
2. Maintain a long-term vision for diversity
Do not wait until you are pressured by the board to improve your gender balance. Just as you (probably) always want to increase market share and win new customers, you need to also think about diversity and gender balance. Since women are still a minority in tech, you need to constantly think about how you can attract and retain women in your workforce over time.
3. Be aware of unconscious bias relating to diversity issues
Our traditions guide us in our daily lives and govern the choices we make, and we do not even think about it. Most of the time we are biased, and we do not even know it. According to several studies, most companies (76%) will hire "John" instead of "Jennifer" when looking for the right person for the job, even if their CVs are exactly the same.
Identify the potential pitfalls of unknowingly skewing the hiring process in your company, and work hard to hire the best candidate for any position - regardless of gender.