A balanced world is a better world. This year’s International Women’s Day theme, #BalanceforBetter, is centered around forging a more gender-balanced world. It’s about celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality. While our activities on International Women’s Day are centred around celebrating women and raising awareness of gender-balance in the workplace, it’s also very important for us to recognise that this day means such different things to different people and organisations around the world. It is of the utmost importance to us to acknowledge today the efforts of those around the world working to advance women’s basic human rights, education and protection and applaud the progress being made in making the world a better place for women worldwide.

Before we share with you the activities of Version 1 on International Women’s Day around our multiple locations, we would first like to update you on the steps we have been taking to date to achieve gender-balance within our organisation.

In my last blog post about the role of Unconscious Bias in Diversity, I spoke about how Version 1 has been on a journey since 2017 with a workforce dedicated to advancing Diversity and Inclusion. As anyone working to advance gender-balance and diversity in their organisation would know, it’s notoriously slow to implement major changes in achieving balance.

However, from the beginning of 2017 up to current date, one of the key areas we have been focusing on is moving the dial in terms of our female to male ratio of new starters, but also our promotional rate of females throughout the organisation. So far, our efforts have resulted in:

  • 3% increase in female employees in total from 2017 to 2019
  • 30% senior management are women and trending upwards
  • 10% increase in the female to male new-starter ratio

While we are not where we want to be yet in terms of Diversity, we believe with consistent effort and change, the dial will continue to move towards a more gender-balanced workplace.

Great Place to Work for Women

Last week, we were delighted to find out that we had been certified as one of the first companies to receive a Great Place to Work for Women in Ireland award.  We were of course over the moon to have been officially recognised as the #4th Best Large Workplace in Ireland, but something that really validated our Diversity efforts to date was receive this Best Workplace for Women in Ireland certification.

The Best Workplaces for Women list recognises those top organisations which, rather than provide a great work environment for everyone in general, are creating positive and supportive workplaces for women in particular. This new award takes the global standard Best Workplaces methodology as its basis, and recognises those organisations that go above and beyond to ensure that the women in their workforce are treated fairly when it comes to pay, recognition, training and promotion opportunities; where they can take the time off they need to attend to childcare or other family commitments; and where they are encouraged, empowered, and supported to do their best work.

The recognition criteria included a survey of women working in Version 1, and participants were asked whether or not they agreed with statements such as:'”Promotions go to those who best deserve them'”, “People here are treated fairly regardless of their sex”, “I am able to take time off from work when I think it’s necessary”, “People are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life”, and “People here are paid fairly for the work they do”.

While there is no fast-track option to achieving gender-balance statistically, it was a very momentous milestone for us to see through the certification survey that the women within Version 1 trusted our organisation, they felt that they were treated fairly regardless of their sex, that promotions go to those who best deserve them, and they can take time off from work when they think it’s necessary. Version 1 is an organisation built on the incredible strength of its people and talent. It’s one thing to get a diverse workforce in the door, but we also must support them to ensure they stay.

Our CEO Tom O’ Connor commented on the Great Place to Work for Women certification saying:

“This is not a marketing ploy or an effort to display impressive statistics, it is because we are aware that a diverse team is a stronger team, but equally conscious that diversity without inclusivity does not represent success. Version 1 is an organisation built on the incredible strength of its people and talent and it is crucial that we are hiring an equal female to male ratio and supporting women in our business through their career and life milestones, supporting them through to senior management. While we don’t believe we are where we want to be yet, we are however on our way, with a workforce actively committed to advancing our gender equality in Version 1. Our business continues to benefit from attracting top female technologists and empowering ourselves with the knowledge and improvements required to retain and support women in our business.”

And it’s true. While we certainly don’t think we are perfect or ‘there yet’, we are committed to constantly learning and improving ourselves to achieve gender-balance within our organisation, and to reference the theme of International Women’s Day this year: we genuinely believe that balance is better for Version 1.

Moving on to our celebrations for International Women’s Day – there are initiatives and activities taking place across all of our offices, and you can keep up to date with our internal efforts on LinkedIn and Twitter. Check out some of our activities below!

#BalanceforBetter International Women’s Day Panel 

To mark International Women’s Day, we are broadcasting a webinar featuring a number of Version 1 women: Mary O’Connell, Katie Flynn, Eilish Lavelle and Raj Boparai. The webinar will take the form of a panel discussion going through different topics related to International Women’s Day – giving our employees based in all offices, and those working from home the chance to hear their colleagues speak candidly on their careers and experiences.

It was important for us to include a male host, our UK practice director Paddy Meany. We believe male allies are an important part of forging a more gender-balanced organisation and celebrating women’s achievements fully on International Women’s Day.

#BalanceforBetter Belfast Student Visit

It’s an exciting day for our Belfast office, with local students from Hazelwood Integrated College, Belfast visiting for a jam-packed day of activities centred around International Women’s Day themes and local business-people’s IT talks.

#BalanceforBetter University of Birmingham

Our colleagues working on-site at the University of Birmingham celebrated by choosing their favourite female role models and inspirational messages for International Women’s Day, check out their top picks below.

#BalanceforBetter London – Donuts For All!

#BalanceForBetter – Breakfast Out In Knutsford!

#BalanceForBetter – Midlands Office, UK – Celebrating With Sweet Treats 

#BalanceForBetter – Cork IWD 2019 Cupcakes!

Stay tuned for more updates from the rest of our offices throughout the day on on LinkedIn and Twitter!