International Women’s Day 2018 – a short blog by DMC’s Tracey Johnson
A couple of months ago I was asked what I was organising for International Women’s Day. I pondered it whilst I slowly calmed down from my initial response of ‘what are YOU organising for International Women’s Day?’. I eventually replied that actually I wouldn’t be organising anything.
Why? Well I firmly believe that every day should be International Women’s Day. It’s unbelievable that in 2018 we still need to focus on gender equality – but we do. Yet we need to do this every single day. Much as I actively support IWD, we can’t wait for 8th March to roll around every year and only focus on equality then. Everyone should take responsibility for championing talent from any gender, and all walks of life EVERY SINGLE DAY.
I didn’t organise anything for IWD because consciously and subconsciously I always strive to achieve a balance of voice, a balance of contribution, and a balance of opinion across the work we do as the Digital Media Centre (which is much more than just running a building). It’s very important to me that anyone we work with makes an active and meaningful contribution to making Barnsley a better place to live and do business in, and that they contribute to an equal and inclusive society. We do, and will continue to, organise events that support women in the creative and digital industries. Sometimes this will be specific events (we’re looking to revive our previously successful Girl Geek Dinners) sometimes it’s about ensuring a panel of speakers is balanced. We will always give a hand to anyone wanting to get on whether a start up, an expert, or someone with a crazy idea that just may be the next step on the ladder of success.
I know first hand the value of a supportive environment just as I know first hand the impact of an unsupportive, discriminatory environment. If I can do something to support a woman in business to be everything she wants to be then I will do it.
A side effect of this has been that we do now get to work with some truly awesome women, and also some truly awesome men who actively do their bit for equality. I could be here all day typing a comprehensive list of everyone who delivers, supports and cheerleads for the DMC. I hope you know who you are, and that your contribution matters.
So don’t look to me for an IWD women in business networking event, meet up, etc etc. You’re not going to get it. But do come and talk to me if you’re prepared to do something EVERY SINGLE DAY to commit to gender equality and diversity in the creative and tech sectors. That’s where impact lies.
Do you need some ideas about what can you do to support gender equality, particularly in the tech sector? Here’s my top three tips…
- Encourage young people to view tech careers and STEAM subjects positively; NEVER tell your daughters ‘you can’t do that, you’re a girl’.
- Men in tech – if you regularly get asked to attend an event, speak at a conference etc consider whether you could pass this invitation on to a woman in your business or your network.
- If you want to have impact at a city level – get involved in this conversation now https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13582071 and discover good ideas and successful practices from across Europe.