The Importance of Male Allies for Women in Data & Insight

by | Mar 10, 2022 | #BrijjtheGap, Data & Insight | 0 comments

The Importance of Male Allies for Women in Data & Insight

by | Mar 10, 2022 | #BrijjtheGap, Data & Insight | 0 comments

Gender parity in Data & Insight isn’t going to be achieved by one single group of people. We need everyone at the table. Women in data need allies in their male colleagues.

Data and Insight industry has a diversity issue.

Despite the matter of gender inequality within the field gaining more and more acknowledgement and addressing, things don’t seem to be changing.

We watch women repeatedly bring the issue to the public eye, we see them come together and discuss ways in which the lack of inclusivity affects technology, governments, and private organisations, we watch them propose solutions and celebrate one another. We have some incredible women working in Data & Insight. Their work and advocacy are changing the way in which the industry operates. So, how is it that despite all this dedication and hard work, the number of women in STEM jobs in the UK are declining?

According to Harnham’s latest report, while efforts have been implemented to improve the gender balance in Data, the percentage of female professionals has dropped from 30% to 28% in the past year, with the pay gap increasing from 10.5% to 13.5%…

Women in data need men in data to get involved

Here’s the problem: 84% of Data & Insight leadership positions are occupied by men. The problem of gender inequality within the industry will not be solved if the leaders of today don’t get involved. We need allies. Equality in the workplace is everyone’s interest and responsibility, and we need men in Data & Insight to take action.

Before I jump into how, let me tell you why.

Why we need more women in data and insight

Diversity within data teams is key to eliminate biased data

Many institutions make decisions using artificial intelligence (AI) systems.  These systems use machine learning (ML), which means learning from data to identify patterns for predictions. Despite AI not being driven by emotional responses, which gives the technology edge over us, often making questionable judgements, the data from which AI learns, is generated by human activities. This means the tech mimics whatever biases we have.

One of the ways in which we can eliminate bias in our data is to hire inclusively. Organisational leadership must make sure their teams are diverse not only in terms of gender, but also race, age, sexual orientation, economic background, and disability.

Diverse teams are better at problem solving and decision-making

Men and women see things differently. This means both parties bring unique ideas to the table.

Diverse teams have been proven to be significantly better at problem solving and decision making because diversity within a team forces their members to anticipate difference in opinion and, therefore, prepare better.

According to Cloverpop’s report, diverse teams make better business decisions 87% of the time!

Diversity drives business performance

There’s an economic benefit to gender diversity.

Researchers from Harvard Business School have found that Venture Capital firms that put focus on hiring and retaining female partners generate more profit. The study found that those that increased their female hires by 10% saw an average 1.5% spike in overall fund returns annually. And had 9.7% more profitable exits.

And this is not the case for Venture Capital films either. 2020 McKinsey report found that company profits and share performance can be close to 50% higher when women are well represented at the top.

How to be an ally to women in data and insight

Gender parity in Data & Insight isn’t going to be achieved by one single group of people. We need everyone at the table. To make inclusivity within our teams a reality, we need teamwork and collaboration. Especially from those occupying 84% of Data & insight leadership positions.

Here’s how to be a proactive ally to women in Data & Insight.

Acknowledge the problem

Gender inequality is a problem in the STEM sector. Acknowledge there is an issue and educate yourself on the matter on gender discrimination in the workplace. Talking to other men about your findings helps raise awareness and promotes speaking up.

Listen

As a man, you will never understand the struggles of being a woman in a male-dominated industry, but you can take the time to listen and learn about the issues we’re facing. This is help you become a better ally. Better yet, if you’re in leadership position, this will help you create a more inclusive culture.

Hire and promote

Building diverse teams means hiring women from diverse backgrounds and creating an environment where they’re encouraged to learn and thrive.

Unconscious sexism, racism, and ageism play a huge role in who gets hired. A good start is to recognise and acknowledge your own bias and take steps to ensure you reduce it in your hiring process.

Amplify female voices

Gender bias reveals itself in subtle ways, like not giving your female co-workers your full attention when they’re speaking. Interrupting, checking email or texting undermines the value of female voices, suggesting our ideas aren’t important.

As an ally, be aware of that, listen and revert attention back to women when you notice it happening.

Support and mentor

Women in entry level and junior positions can take a huge advantage of having a guide. A male-dominated industry can be intimidating and hard to navigate if you’re a woman. Having a male advisor can ease the process of finding new opportunities and advancing careers.

Support fair workplace policies

One of the easiest ways to ensure equality in the workplace is to introduce policies aimed at treating people of all genders equally.

Advocate for equal pay, flexible working hours and on-site child-care to eliminate women’s fear of being penalised by their companies.

Speak up!

One of the biggest challenges in fighting gender discrimination is silence. Men often don’t know how to respond when witnessing sexism in the workplace. Being an ally means noticing and holding perpetrators accountable.

 

 

 

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