Prospects for women in tech looking up

Encouraging signs of more Kiwi women taking up technology jobs.

In the lead up to International Women’s Day (Thursday 8 March) the executive director of Tech Women New Zealand, Edwina Mistry, says there are encouraging signs of more Kiwi women taking up technology jobs.

The executive director of Tech Women New Zealand, Edwina Mistry, said tech had never been more attractive as a career for females.

She said studies showed that more gender diverse organisations delivered better revenue and profitability, and that new companies with 200 percent or more growth were 75 percent more likely to have a female founder, and earlier reports have found tech firms that have equal number of women and men are up to 40 percent more profitable.

“As a woman, many of our strong suits, like communication, multi-tasking and thinking with the end user in mind are surprisingly rare but especially important skills to be successful in tech,” Mistry said.

“So as individuals we can really have an impact in the teams we contribute to and particularly when we can lead others.”

Easier for women to claim equal pay

There was more good news for New Zealand’s female workforce: The Government is to consider recommendations that will make it easier for New Zealanders to lodge pay equity claims.

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter said the reconvened Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles had recommending clarifying and simplifying the process for initiating a pay equity claim, making no changes to the principles on comparators, and amending the Equal Pay Act 1972 to implement the principles.

Lees-Galloway said: “The previous Government introduced legislation that set unnecessary hurdles for women to make a pay equity claim, so we reconvened the working group to investigate how we can provide a fairer deal for women.”

That move was welcomed by the New Zealand Nurses Organisation. Its industrial services manager, Cee Payne, saying it was necessary for the government develop legislation that enabled women to choose the best male occupations to compare their skills with.

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI Te Riu Roa) echoed her views with national secretary, Paul Goulter, saying the joint working group on pay equity principles had recommended making it simpler for women to initiate a claim for pay equity and had clarified that any appropriate job may be used as a comparison.

Vodafone aims to be best employer of women

Vodafone has launched what it says is “a three pronged strategy to address worryingly low levels of representation of women in New Zealand technology companies.”

Head of HR Centres of Expertise Katie Williams said Vodafone’s ambition was to be the best employer for women by 2025.

However Vodafone’s announcement failed to clearly enunciate the three prongs. It detailed what appeared to be initiatives already in place.

• #CodeLikeAGirl, which “creates opportunities for girls to experience technology in the real world, by connecting them with mentors and training.”

• The two-year Discover Graduate programme, which “in 2018 had a current total of 78 graduates fresh out of university working at Vodafone, with the opportunity to rotate across teams so they learn important transferable skills.”

• Software to remove bias from our job advertisements, with “gender balanced shortlists across all of our roles, and ‘blinded’ CVs, where the details, including gender of candidates is removed to mitigate the risk of unconscious bias in decision making.”

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