It’s no secret that gender bias in the workplace needs to be continually addressed. Research has shown that the underrepresentation of women in the tech industry is down to factors like lack of awareness, support, and role models.
So, for International Women’s Day, and Women’s History Month, we’re hosting a series of open discussions with some of our engineering team to understand this bias, and the steps that individuals and businesses can take to address it.
Our head of engineering, Iris Winter, has been a valuable part of the xDesign team for over a year. This week, we sat down with her to learn more about her journey into the profession, and her views on gender bias in the workplace.
Firstly, what interested you about a career in engineering?
I have always loved technology, from playing games on my commodore 64 as a child, to creating my first websites for friends or family back when they mostly consisted of sparkling, glitter gifs. I am extremely excited and curious about how things evolve and how that evolution can be accelerated through technology, and it feels good to play a small part in this.
Why is it important to break gender bias?
This is a complex question, as there’s many different facets to address this issue. Nowadays (thankfully) there are plenty of studies that prove that diverse teams work more effectively than teams without diversity, and that there are no differences in males or females in their ability to fulfil certain roles like software engineering. Despite these studies, there is still a lot of stigma and bias in many industries, starting as early as school, and possibly sooner. It’s not an easy task, but if individuals and businesses work continuously to bring awareness to the topic, and actively encourage girls and women to explore the industry, I truly believe that it will drive a lot more innovation and progress.
How can workplaces support balancing the scales?
To me, it all starts with creating a safe and fair working environment. Of course, there is a lot that workplaces can do beyond this by working with schools to inspire young girls, or by supporting gender equality initiatives, but the key is providing a work environment that truly celebrates equality on all levels - which may sound easier than it is. I think that awareness of biases and promotion of equality is something that needs to be ingrained into a company culture from the hiring process all the way through senior management.
This is something I’ve always appreciated at xDesign - I always feel valued and heard in leadership meetings, and I also have the opportunity to contribute to our equal culture by mentoring and supporting other talented women in the business.
What advice would you give to women considering careers in engineering?
Do it. I strongly encourage anyone to pursue that path if it interests them, and they think it might be right for them. To me, it’s a very rewarding and exciting career that has a lot of potential for growth, and a lot of opportunity to make an impact.
We have a fantastic and diverse team working together at xDesign. Find out how you can join the team by viewing our open roles.