A recent LinkedIn Live panel discussed how far diversity and inclusion has come in the tech industry and the work that still needs to be done.
After Silicon Republic’s Ann O’Dea introduced the panel at a recent LinkedIn Live event entitled Technology Matters: How is the inclusion movement faring?, the first thing she wanted to know was: “Have we made progress?”
O’Dea was joined by Stemettes co-founder Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon in the UK, She Loves Tech co-founder Rhea See in Singapore, and Teen Turn co-founder Joanne Dolan in Dublin to discuss how diversity and inclusion has evolved within the tech space.
While all three panellists agreed that some progress has been made, they also said there’s a lot more work to be done.
Dolan, who said she knows from her own career what it’s like to be “the only one wearing a bra walking across a trading floor”, noted there has been a lot of groundswell movements that have lit a lot of fires and shone a light on where we are lacking in the diversity and inclusion arena. “That’s where we are now, is that exposed space,” she said.
Imafidon added that this exposure has led to a lot of companies paying lip service to D&I – which, while not the same as action, is better than nothing. “We’ve seen folks at least pretending outwardly that this is something that they care about,” she said.
What can companies do?
While it shouldn’t be up to nonprofits like Stemettes, Teen-Turn and She Loves Tech to fix diversity and inclusion issues, they’re often a critical component for moving the needle.
As such, O’Dea asked the panellists to share their advice for companies in order to ensure that they do better.
Imafidon’s biggest tip for the industry to make it more welcoming and inclusive is simply to “pay people equally”.
“We’ve got a gender pay gap that we track, we’ve got an ethnicity pay gap that we track, there’s the disability employment gap as well. So I think just pay people the right amount when they’re in your organisation, not just based on potential but based on what the job is that they’re doing,” she said.
Dolan said it’s also important to consider how companies can make their workplaces more inviting to a diverse range of employees, whether that’s daycare, healthcare, employee resource groups or shuttle buses from rural areas.
“What is it about your environment for work that is not inviting these individuals?” she said. “And yeah, the common denominator is pay, so Anne-Marie hit the nail on the head.”
To hear more insights from Dolan, Imafidon and See, check out the full panel discussion.
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