At some point in our lives, everyone has experienced some form of bias. Currently, only 19% of the tech industry is female, at Intouch 44% of our workforce are female, with females in every department and 22 in leadership roles.
In honour of International Women’s Day, we caught up with some of the amazing female leaders we have here at Intouch Games. We wanted to share with you some of their incredible stories, advice and just some honest female empowerment!
Why do you think it’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
Women’s Day means different things to different people. For some, it’s for recognition of gender inequalities that exist today, for others, like Jennifer, it’s a celebration of simply being a woman. A nice reminder of what we have achieved over the year. Lara wishes it was no longer needed and people were credited on their ability and intuition, not their gender. Traditionally, positions of power and leadership were traits we associated with men. Every year we step further away from that generalisation as more women continue to break conventional stereotypes and prove their worth! It’s a day to remember; women are amazing!
Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? How did you overcome these?
Both ladies agreed that they hadn’t faced any barriers due to their gender. They collectively shared that they had worked incredibly hard to get to where they are now. They both shared confidence and a determined mindset. They’d like to think that if they had not got that promotion or that job it was because their competition was better skilled for that role. Lara pointed out that barriers can be industry-specific. Having worked in male-dominated environments Lara was sometimes called ‘emotional’ for expressing her opinion or for having anything other than a flat tone.
Both our incredible women agreed, the biggest barrier is self-doubt. Not believing in yourself and your own strengths and capabilities was far more detrimental than any external influence.
What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt throughout your career?
For this question, we got some great insights into drivers for success. Lara simply said: focus on your strengths. Find what value you can bring to your role and excel at it. Put all your energy into making your strengths stronger rather than focusing on your weaknesses. Second, it’s important to have a curious mind! Jennifer noted that you should never assume people understand what you mean instantly. Everyone interprets things differently and it’s important to check for understanding in your team when you can, especially on important matters. For Lara, it was valuable to have a mentor along the way and recognise that it’s not a weakness to have somebody to talk to.
For some, their career pathway was clearly followed, for others it was a process of trial and error, but they agreed it’s important to embrace change. Being in managerial roles, they highlighted the importance of being a people person, your team needs become your needs. You’re a manager but also a friend and sometimes a counsellor!
How do we encourage more women to pursue leadership roles in their careers?
Simply, being the person who can demonstrate it’s achievable is significant.
There’s a generational gap. From women who had no role models to look up to, to girls now seeing those same women become those role models. Lara exemplified the importance of creating the right culture. An environment where women feel like they can take on leadership roles. Women are more likely to have competing priorities outside of work, having the flexibility to make this practically possible is important. We need to make it the norm, so no encouragement is needed!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Jennifer would have ignored society’s expectations, do what you truly believe and stick with it. Take better control of your life, make a clear plan and go for it. Be responsible for yourself. Whilst Lara wishes she had stayed in education longer. Break the boundary a little and never feel like just because you didn’t take the academic route doesn’t mean you can’t build a successful career.
Finally, to anyone reading this, we want you to be confident in your ability. Have the courage to break the boundary even if it’s invisible. Lara, would like to think that people, whoever they are don’t have to think about how their stereotypes fit into certain career fields. Don’t let it hold you back. Jennifer, everyone has their strengths. It doesn’t matter where in the hierarchy or career pathway you are, everyone has something different to bring to the table. Take ownership and be proud of what you do. As Tesco famously said, ‘every little helps’ and everyone matters.
Above all, as Lara put it; be yourself.
We get it, it can be daunting! The saying ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ often comes to mind. But we hope this letter lets you know that we are here, and we are thriving, and we can’t wait for you to join!
There will be many articles shared today, similar to the one here. We hope that if everyone is doing what we’re doing, someone somewhere is inspired to chase their dreams.
The Intouch Women