At Demica we take diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) very seriously and have been working hard, alongside our people, to continuously improve our employee experience, particularly in relation to providing support and opportunities for women.
Women currently make up 26% of roles in tech and only 17% of senior roles in fintech. At Demica we are proud that our workforce is 38% women and 35% of our senior posts are held by women, however we know we still have much further to go. Our DEI plan lays out strong measurements for where the business will get to and those will be launched during April.
So this week, celebrating International Women’s Day, we wanted to encourage the whole company to discuss their views and experiences, learn from others, understand what we are doing well, and share where they feel we could do better. We were delighted and engagement with the turnout to these events
For our first event Demica’s Head of Commercial Operations, Lauren Carter, spoke with Nadia Edwards-Dashti, Founder of Harrington Starr and a passionate campaigner for women in technology. Nadia emphasised the importance of the environment and culture within a company for enabling opportunities for women. She boiled it down to three key actions: invest, nurture and support. With spring in the air, Nadia extended her environmental metaphor: “if a flower doesn’t bloom, you change the environment”, this gives us all food for thought..
Our second event brought together a panel of colleagues from across Demica, to discuss their experiences in the company, how things had changed and where they would like to see us go.
As inspiration, the panel considered the TED talk from Reshma Saujani, the founder of the non-profit organisation Girls Who Code. Reshma talks about the importance of teaching girls and young women that it is ok to make mistakes and encourages society to “teach girls bravery, not perfection”.
With this as a basis, our panel spoke candidly about their experiences and observations:
- Social expectations play a significant part in the opportunities available to women, nurturing braver approaches pays off, we see that in Demica, however there are still many women who find it difficult to be brave. Demica as an organisation must strive for a culture where bravery is encouraged, fostered and celebrated, even if things don’t always go according to plan. We all have a job to do in ensuring a culture where encourage, foster and celebrate that bravery.
- For some women, they now feel they must be both brave and perfect, particularly in a society that promotes ‘have it all’ and this can lead to a huge weight of expectation.
- Our panel highlighted the importance of seeing role-models, “people like you”, achieving success. Across our industry and elsewhere the speakers pointed to examples where progress has been made, from national news like the Lionesses victory in the Euros, to – closer-to-home – the examples of women in senior roles at Demica and what that symbolises to other women in the business.
- They also shared their personal stories, of how a company’s flexibility, understanding and compassion can make a huge difference as women navigate a complex work-life balance. The panel talked about the benefits of hybrid working, and explained how family friendly policies had directly impacted their lives. These were hugely personal reminders of the importance of this approach at Demica.
There is still a lot to do to ensure opportunity for girls and women in the world of work and tech, and the events we hosted this week will not on their own provide answers or solutions. But they did ensure that we, as a company and a group of people, continued to ask questions, share our thoughts and learn from each other. Those discussions will continue to underpin our approach, as we lay out our ambitious plans over the coming months and years.