From education to employment

Overturn the idea of women being placed in non-traditional roles and replace it with women simply succeeding in their career

With it being #AdaLovelaceDay – a day to celebrate and raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths, Anila (@KalibrateTech) discusses what the day means for her and how going forward, businesses can change the future of women in STEM workforces by overturning the idea of women being placed in ‘non-traditional’ roles and replaced with women simply ‘succeeding’ in their career.”

Anila Siraj, Managing Director, Alternative Fuels Strategy at Kalibrate:

“We must reflect upon days like Ada Lovelace Day, as we’ve come a long way since the 1800s, but there’s still more to be done to inspire women to take up careers in STEM. Starting in the fuel retailing industry in the 90s, I would often be the only woman in the room. I would walk into a room and feel that the expectations and assumptions around my role were not that of someone who is bringing knowledge and information to the table, and in a position of leadership – until I started talking and providing guidance and support. I often had to work twice as hard to gain the respect and trust of my audience. 

“Fast forward two decades, the gender balance has begun to tip within the data and analytics sector. More women now hold leadership positions, yet a clear lag is present. Today, only  30% of data roles in the UK are held by women, displaying that change is needed, and needed fast. It’s diverse teams that will allow organisations – in all industries – to provide spaces where different styles of thinking come together, creating an environment for more innovation and productivity.

“Traditional gender roles need to be debunked, and workplaces need to consciously provide ongoing support and opportunities for women. We need to allow for an equal footing, which in turn will see women ultimately flourish. Once this happens, the results will speak for themselves.

“After all, it was women that co-founded both Cisco and VMWare. The current CEO of the largest video platform in the world, Youtube, is female and the US recently elected Kamala Harris as vice president of the United States. It’s time to quash perceptions that do not belong in a modern era, only then can we ensure more diversity across STEM roles. The idea of women being placed in ‘non-traditional’ roles needs to be overturned, and replaced with women simply ‘succeeding’ in their career.”

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