Women in Tech: diversity, equity and inclusion in the tech world and at ResQ Club
One of our team members attended the annual Women in Tech Finland forum focusing on achieving gender equality and inclusion in tech. We wanted to share some interesting highlights from the event with anyone interested in the topic, as well as ResQ Club’s journey in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
First and foremost, privileges exist, whether we want to acknowledge it or not.
Let’s get some context around women in tech:
Women have been in tech ever since tech started, but it started behind the scenes:
USA, in the 50’s: Katherine Johnson, an African American mathematician who worked for NASA from the 50’s onward, and whose calculations allowed to send astronauts orbit around earth, and later land on the moon. Katherine later said she did not feel the segregation because they were all doing their research, and what matters is what you can do, not your background.
Finland, in the 50’s: In 1958, Postipankki deployed their IBM computers, but while only men are photographed next to the computer for the national newspaper, women were the ones operating it.
Let’s get some context around the state of tech in Finland:
Finland is in great need of tech talents. Not only is the Finnish population ageing (4th most ageing population in the world), but the tech field only gets 5 000 graduates per year while the country is estimated to need 13 000 new tech graduates per year for the next 10 years.
A few tips to help create an inclusive workplace and society:
Language plays a big role in making sure everyone feels included. Be mindful of the language used in team meetings (and at work in general).
Be an ally, confront bad behavior, don’t be a bystander, whether you see someone being gaslighted, ghosted, harassed or something else - stand up.
Job description: Encourage people to apply even if they don’t meet all your wish list criteria, that will make it a lot easier to apply for people who are harder on themselves. That will also help you have a more diverse pool of talents and applicants. For example, it’s been shown that men tend to apply when they meet 60% of the qualifications required, while women often only apply when they meet 100%.
How to be an ally to diversity?
“Diversity is an act, equity is a choice, inclusion in an action and belonging is an outcome.” (Arthur Chan, behavioural scientist)
Allyship is about having the power and voice to do something. One of the panelist highlighted that inclusion is a choice of action and it’s everybody’s business to drive inclusiveness. If you witness unfair behaviour (for example someone being gaslighted, ghosted or harassed), confront it, don’t be a bystander but stand up. That really much echoes the infamous ‘if you see something, say something’ phrase we’ve probably all heard and is visible for example in buses in Miami if passengers witness threatening or dangerous behaviour.
Yesmtih Sanchez recommended ‘rehearsing’ to stand up when you’re alone to train how you would intervene if you would be to witness unfair behaviour. This is especially useful for people who might not know what to say in stressful situations.
How to be a good ally?
Do something. Not just about believing in your heart, but also do something.
Be a good listener and be humble (it’s about helping someone, not about you being the helper).
Be aware of the culture and what type of behaviours your society/your company/you reward and promote, and which ones are reprehended.
Diversity and product or service design: why is diversity in a team important when it comes to product design?
Inclusive team = inclusive product.
You don’t usually design for yourself, or not yourself only, so you need to recognise your users’ needs. When it comes to design, if you don’t recognise biases, you might create new inaccessibilities for the users.
Having a diverse team really helps with the design process. For example if you design for an ethnic minority, having a team member from the same background as the ethnic minority user will help the team understand that minority 152% better.
How’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at ResQ Club right now?
On a company level, 66% of our people are women, 34% are men.
On a tech level (product team & tech team together), 50% of the team are women and 50% are men.
We have a total of 9 nationalities, and growing!
14% are parents (the latest baby was born just last week 🙂)
55% are in Helsinki
DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) is a journey, we keep on learning every day but here are some of our initiatives to foster it:
Our recruitment process is done anonymously until the first interview. We use a special feature in recruitment system to anonymise cover letters and resumes. That means that up until the screening call or interview, we do not know the name, date of birth, gender or nationality of the candidate.
We try to encourage people to apply, whether or not they have all the skills listed on our job posting by adding the following mention as often as possible: “In an ideal world, all these qualities are combined in one person who happens to want to work with us. In the real world, this is more of a wish list for the genie in the bottle and we strongly encourage people to apply despite not necessarily ticking all the boxes.”
Language requirements: English is the official company language, very few positions require other language skills and we openly state in the job posting if a language, other than English, is needed for the role.
Salary grid: We implemented a responsibility-based salary grid to provide transparency and structure to what our salaries are based on. There’s still room for improvement, but the work has begun.
Paid parental leave: There are important things and then there are work things. We offer 3 months of fully paid parental leave, regardless of the gender or how team members become a parent.
Flexible remote policy: We work in hybrid mode and teams decide themselves how often they should meet in person. For the most part it’s quite rare and that offers a lot of flexibility to our team members.
Flexible public holidays: Not everyone’s heritage and beliefs match the public holiday scheme of the country they currently work in, so we're giving team members the possibility to make a "day-off trade": work on a public holiday occurring on a weekday and take any other day off to celebrate something that fits their values and culture.
We aim for diversity: Instead of 100% culture fit, we love to see culture add, as long as new hires have a passion for a better tomorrow. Above all, we look for emphatic people to join the team.
Our values and code of conduct to enforce a safe working environment for everyone
Prior to signing our work contract at ResQ Club, all of our team members agree (and I think we all happily embrace) our ResQ Club Code of Conduct. Many aspects of the code of conduct relate to respect and diversity, directly or indirectly:
We have zero tolerance for any kind of discrimination, racism or sexism.Zero. None. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on gender, race, religion, political opinion, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, marital status, language, disability or other aspects contributing to where we come from, who we are and what we look like.
We treat each other with dignity and respect.We promote a workplace that is supportive and respectful for all employees and members of the extended workforce. We want to provide a safe work environment and do not accept any kind of disrespectful behaviour or communication in our day-to-day or any of our company activities or occasions. Unaccepted behaviour includes but is not limited to bullying, harassment and any behaviour which any person in the situation would find humiliating, intimidating or offensive. Harassment can take many forms from subtle comments to blatant physical violence and does not have to be continuous or ongoing.
We stay curious and ask if we don't fully understand
We ask for help if needed, and we help others when needed
Inspiring quotes from the Women In Tech Finland annual event panelists:
"Work towards your dream every day, dream big. One day you will get up and dream even bigger.", Mervi Airaksinen
"Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice. It’s everybody’s business to drive inclusiveness.", Harri Virtanen
"You might not find the perfect candidate but you can create the perfect team."
Book recommendation: "How inclusion shapes design"
Let’s all stay aware, be mindful and keep on making the world a safe, inclusive and equal place for everyone.
About ResQ Club
ResQ Club is a Finnish company connecting sustainable restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores with consumers that appreciate eating affordable quality food. ResQ partners can drastically reduce their food waste with our proprietary location-based mobile and web service, as it enables consumers to find and rescue surplus food in their proximity.
Every meal purchased via ResQ is one less meal thrown away, helping our urban communities to waste less and be more sustainable.
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