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Celebrating #BalanceforBetter At AND For International Women’s Day

8 March 2019 | Emily Maginess | About a 4 minute read
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The theme of 2019’s International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter – something we take seriously here at AND Digital, with a team dedicated to improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we spoke with women across AND to find out what the idea of #BalanceforBetter means to them.

 

Lucy Peyton, Product Analyst

As a female working in tech, I can really relate to the International Women’s Day theme, #BalanceforBetter.

For the first time in my career, I’m working in a team that is 50% female. The benefit of working in balanced, diverse teams is that collaboration is higher and we see things from more and wider perspectives. The result is better work, as well as better and more representative products.

 

Antonia Walt, Service Delivery Lead

As I’ve become an expectant mother, the meaning of #BalanceforBetter has evolved.

For me, it’s about being present and cognisant of how I’m feeling in my health and physical wellbeing – and to ensure I’m adapting to my body’s needs, rather than just pushing on through the work regardless. It’s also given me a new found awareness and appreciation of parents at work and all they need to balance – regardless of gender.

 

Josie Bailey, Academy Lead

To me, #BalanceforBetter means encouraging myself to balance 10 minutes every day to focus on my mental sense of calm. Sometimes this is doing focused deep breathing, stretching and altering my physical stance, or going for a quick walk outdoors.

On my more mindful days, I feel energised, more productive, less stressed and my ability to flex into different situations hugely increases. Mindfulness benefits can of course be felt by anyone, regardless of gender – so for me, #BalanceforBetter really is a universal theme.

 

Emily Maginess, Head of Marketing

Over the course of my career, the notion of balance has changed considerably. Once upon a time, it was quite binary: balancing ‘work’ with ‘life’ outside. Working late meant I was neglecting something else, or conversely that I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough.

Today, I’ve a much more nuanced view of what #BalanceforBetter means to me. I’ve realised it’s as much about diversity in the work I do, with the freedom to follow my strengths and passions as it is about the life inside, and outside the office. Now, I actively look for projects and environments – whether they are paid, personal or volunteer – that allow me to push and develop different aspects of my character and abilities. When I have that freedom, my sense of self is much kinder, much more satisfied and ultimately, much more balanced.

 

Krishma Patel, Squad Lead

#BalanceforBetter is knowing that I can aspire to achieve whatever I dream of – regardless of my gender.

As my career has developed, I’ve gained both male and female role models in my life. They continually inspire me, believe in me and open my mind to new opportunities – and these are qualities that I now pursue with my teams.

 

Eleni Kola, Graduate Product Developer

#BalanceForBetter… Well, for me, the first thing that comes to mind is harmony – like the harmony of the wonderful music a choir creates by embracing the uniqueness of each singer and combining different voices. Similarly, organisations should identify ways to achieve their own harmony through diversity.

 

Sharn McQueen-Brown, Product Analyst

For me, #BalanceforBetter means when we recognise, appreciate and value each other’s difference, whether that’s someone’s culture, race, gender, etc. Acknowledging and respecting these differences helps people to be their true and authentic selves at work, allowing us to work at our best and live happy comfortable lives.

At AND, diversity and wellbeing continues to be a big part of our agenda – from our work supporting STEM-based initiatives in education, to our continuing commitment to nurturing and developing female leaders and tech talent. Some of the ways we do that includes hosting, supporting and joining a wide range of activities and events, including:

– putting on STEM workshops at schools across the UK;
– running regular training sessions on the impact of unconscious bias to help continuously improve our interview process;
– signing up to industry charters like Tech She Can to hold ourselves to account and support the ongoing conversation about gender diversity in tech;
– championing our female ANDis with access to regular training and development events, such as the #WeAreTechWomen Conference;
– joining the debate with regular contributions to articles and podcasts on related topics (check out this podcast on inherent bias with Tina Howell, one of our DevOps Leads);
– working with STEM Women UK to proactively recruit female graduates into our tech roles.

Stay tuned for more over the course of 2019. In the meantime – to celebrate International Women’s Day this year – we encourage you to take time to reflect on what #BalanceforBetter means, and consider how you contribute to the gender balance in your business.

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