Last week was a big week for Unibuddy, and shows just how far we’ve come.
Because for the first time, we brought all the women in the company together. IN REAL LIFE, NOT JUST ON A SLACK CHANNEL. IN ONE BUILDING. FROM 3 DIFFERENT CONTINENTS.
Can you tell it was a good one?
It’s quite a milestone in our development. From joining as ‘Woman #3’ in May 2018 (don’t worry, no one’s actually called me that since June 2018. ONLY JOKING.), to now, where we have 14 fantastic professionals, in New York, London and Bangalore.
Don’t get me wrong, we have a long way to go in terms of gender balance here. But the fact that it’s been recognised it’s important to bring us together, so that we can lift each other up, is a good start. It shows we’re valued.
It all started with a monthly lunch that we set up ourselves. Then it progressed to a slack channel, where we share professional development opportunities, articles and research. And general support of course. And on Thursday, we were at the inspirational evening of workshops put on by the brilliant Triangirls.
We’ve taken the initiative to form this community because we’re well aware of the benefits of support. And it’s working. Knowing I have a safe space where everyone wants the best for you, where they want you to succeed, is empowering. It’s given me a lot of confidence to put more of my ideas forward and speak up.
Organisations shouldn’t underestimate the power of that support. Knowing you have a network behind you is hugely important for building up that confidence. And that confidence in turn, will mean that you’re heard. Which bolsters the confidence of your other female colleagues, leading to your voice collectively becoming more influential, leading to better outcomes for the business.
But how does this help the gender gap? Well, if you’re underrepresented, chances are you’ll avoid those places where people like you aren’t particularly visible. But if you have a group of people like you who are valued, held up as integral to the business and part of the decision making process, you’ll find yourself choosing somewhere like that over another company.
Not to mention the effect of your female colleagues acting as advocates for your business, and thus attracting even more women who’d like to be part of it.
But there are other things we can all do to help our underrepresented team mates grow in confidence and be the best they can be. I’ve picked the top ones that we’ve found helpful before you even start looking at your hiring process:
1. Publicly support them
- If you’re a woman, agree loudly with them in meetings when they make a good point – you’ll raise their confidence, profile and voice.
- If you’re a man, agree loudly with them when they make a good point. It’s very common to see a man take credit for a woman’s idea. Don’t do this. Be an ally.
2. Create a support group
- Coming together raises your profile collectively within your organisation.
- You’re more likely attend meet-ups, workshops and networking events if you’re not the only one going – raising your visibility outside of your company and tapping into opportunities.
- You’re more likely to speak up and make a change if you know your opinion is echoed by others.
3. Find networks
- Meeting others outside of your organisation is not only energising but will give you ideas of what change can happen and how.
- If you’re a line manager (regardless of your gender) – this is how you show the world that you’re serious about gender balance in your workplace. You may find your next amazing colleague here.
4. Showcase your female employees
- Show the world you value their contributions on social media – how else do you expect people to know about them?
- Think twice about who will represent your organisation at events, who will be speaking, who will present that video, who will write that blog. Can you bring them to the fore?
And what’s the next step for the Women of Unibuddy? Well, we’ve been inspired by Juliet Kampasi’s workshop on how to achieve our career goals. We’re buddying up to keep each other on track, support and facilitate each step on our journey. We’re lifting each other up.
Want to join the family? Find out more about our vacancies