Data modeling LGBTQ+ rights around the world

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June is LGBT Pride Month.

If you’re reading this in the West, this is unlikely to have escaped your notice; companies across the internet have proudly changed their corporate colours in their tens of thousands and are publishing supportive feelgood stories on their social media channels left, right and centre.

We don’t disparage this. And Solidatus is no different: this time last year we published blog posts that looked at the foundations of the pride movement and sought the perspectives of a couple of our colleagues from the LGBTQ+ community:

This year, though, we thought to ourselves: we have some cool software that can model data and systems, their lineage and offer all sorts of other insights from active metadata, as used for data governance and other use cases in banking, finance and beyond. But what if we make some interactive models of the LGBTQ+ landscape so we can bring something new to this space?

Well, following our success last month in modeling Eurovision data from 1956 onwards, we’ve done just that.

We drew this information semi-automatically from the sources shown below, something that our connectors hugely simplify. And then we adjusted it to elevate stories that speak for themselves.

So, come with us and take a look!

In this model, we provide a detailed view of different countries’ LGBTQ+ laws, with green and red transition lines indicating whether those rules and permissive or restrictive respectively. Click on the dropdown arrows next to a continent’s name to view info on individual countries, each of which you can click on. (This data was drawn from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) via data.world, as detailed in the ‘Inspector’ panel when you click on ‘Acknowledgements’.)

View model.

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In this model, we provide a view on different countries’ evolving travel ratings from 2012 to 2021. The lower the number is in the top left-hand corner of the country’s card, the more openly LGBTQ+ people can be when they travel. (This data was also drawn from data.world, as shown in the equivalent ‘Inspector’ panel.)

View model.

travel rating

Interesting info, we hope you agree, and even if you don’t, we wish you, the whole LGBTQ+ community and all of its many millions of allies a very happy Pride Month.

For more guidance on how to read Solidatus models, there’s a handy primer in our Eurovision blog post under the ‘A note on Solidatus models’ heading.

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In our first Pride interview with Solidatus executive assistant Tamaryn Kravleva-Greener, we looked at the acceptance of LGBTQ+ people from society – friends, family, colleagues. But acceptance comes in many different forms, and it could be said that it should start at home. The importance of acceptance from within the LGBTQ+ community is almost as important as acceptance from those outside.

In the second and final of our follow-up pieces for Pride Month, I caught up with Solidatus development specialist Samuel Trew to chat all things Pride.

From his coming out, to issues within the LGBTQ+ community and raising awareness beyond Pride Month, Samuel speaks candidly about how sensitive topics such as sexuality, gender and even ‘straight-passing’ are dealt with both within and outside of the community.

Because we must all celebrate our differences, our uniqueness and support each other not in spite of it – but because of it.

We want to know more about you. Tell us your story.

When I was about 14 I came out as bisexual to a few close friends. There were mixed reactions and it made things awkward between a few of us. However, as time went on I slowly came out to more and more people and it got better and easier until I eventually came out to my family and then publicly on Facebook when I was 15.

I was treated differently at school in various ways. People would generally just make the odd weird comment or adjustment to what they were saying but sometimes it turned malicious.

Luckily this pretty much all went away by the time I got to university, and I’ve been so lucky that it hasn’t really affected my life at all since then.

Having dated my current girlfriend for over four years now has probably made things easier as people consider these kind of relationships ‘straight-passing’, but it doesn’t discredit my sexuality, who I am or struggles I’ve had.

How has it been for you coming out in a professional sense?

I think I have been extremely fortunate that it hasn’t affected my career or work life at all. I think it really speaks volumes to how far we have come as a society, and how kind people at Solidatus are in general.

What does Pride Month mean to you?

Pride means so many different things to so many different people but I like to think of it in a broader sense. I think of Pride as a time where people should be free to express themselves when they previously haven’t been able to.

I don’t see it as a limitation for certain groups. Everyone should be free to join and experience Pride.

What is an issue in the LGBTQ+ community that you are particularly passionate about?

I think the in-fighting has always been of interest. You get groups like LGB and not the T, which could be considered as exclusive of the trans community, or people often believing that bisexual/asexual people don’t exist (or it’s not real), all coming from other members of the LGBTQ+ community.

It gets me frustrated to see people who have suffered at the hands of bigots portray themselves as though they are better than their bullies, but in reality sometimes they act just as bad as them.

It is important to note that any group inside of the LGBTQ+ community is distinct and different in its own way, and has suffered in its own unique way. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t come together in support of each other.

Do you have any special plans for celebrating Pride this year?

Not particularly this year. I generally see how I feel and see what’s happening around me. Last year I arrived in Reading the week before their pride parade and was able to join in with the lovely occasion.

What do you think companies in tech can do this Pride Month and beyond to raise awareness about the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace?

I think highlighting that there exists members of the workplace who are LGBTQ+ is generally a good start. It could make people who are nervous or less comfortable feel more calm and able to work in that environment, even if it’s just because they know someone else similar to them is able to and is enjoying working there.

What can tech organisations do to promote a positive and healthy environment for colleagues who are LGBTQ+?

Just to be kind in general. Even if you disagree with it, it takes more effort to be aggravating and causes more harm than good.

What would you say to someone who wants to come out but is too scared to?

The world is a much safer and better place than it was for LGBTQ+ people even 10 years ago. However, coming out is a very personal experience and personal circumstances can still make it hard. Finding close allies in either friends or in the community at large can make it easier, although that in itself is easier said than done.

One thing to try is coming out to a complete stranger at something like a Pride event where there will be allies. There are pretty much no consequences to having come out to a stranger but it can help to have finally said it to someone for the first time. That first time is always one of the scariest.

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Those in the LGBTQ+ community know that coming out and having a voice in society is, in many ways, as hard as it has always been. The stigma around being gay, queer or trans cuts as deep now as it did decades ago. Bias is still there. So is prejudice. But what has changed is the collective voice.

Now more than ever, we are seeing a push for acceptance and equality by LGBTQ+ people and their allies. We are privileged enough to live in a time where people feel safer and more comfortable coming out and speaking up for who they are. And this is something we must continue to support.

Last week, we commemorated Pride Month by looking at how deeply LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion issues resonate in the tech world, and why this lack of diversity within our industry is still casting a shadow over the progress that has been made.

For the latter half of Pride Month, we’re elevating the voices of some of our own. For the first of two follow-up pieces, I had the pleasure of sitting down with my colleague Tamaryn Kraleva-Greener, executive assistant to one of our co-Founders and co-CEOs, to hear all about her personal and professional journey, what companies can do to raise awareness and words for all those who are finding the courage to come out.

We want to know more about you. Tell us your story.

I came out to my family and friends when I was 11 years old. It was not something that I advertised, having grown up in South Africa. It was not as acceptable as the UK and other countries were back then. (It has changed since 1996, but not as open as London is now). I still took a guy to my matric dance [dance before leaving school] when I was 17.

I was not a traditional girl growing up; however, I knew I always wanted to marry and have a family of my own. I knew that whomever I married, it will be a life-long commitment. 20+ years later and I am married to an amazing woman, who I adore, and view as my equal. We met in London, both of us from different countries, and I have never been happier.

How has it been for you coming out in a professional sense?

I started my first job when I was 17-years old, and all throughout my career, I kept my private life separate from my work life. I allowed my co-workers and bosses to think what they wanted about my relationship/s and home-life situation.

Throughout my 20s and early 30s, I lived by the same principle: if I was asked, I would not deny it. If I was not asked, my private life was my own and not for anyone else to judge. In South Africa, I had a close-knit group of friends and family, and for five years of my longest relationship, I was known to my partner’s family as her housemate and close friend. My family knew who she was to me, and so did our friends, and a few very close work friends.

At my first job in the UK, I kept things the same. New country, new beginning, however, I was unsure of how the world would judge me and did not want to add more anxiety to my life.

I found an amazing community here in London of warm-hearted people who I could relate to, open-up to and be myself with. (I felt like a kid at Disney world, full of opportunities and acceptance.)
Solidatus is the first company I have been open in. It was two months before my wedding, when I started with the business. I took a leap of faith that I would not be judged, and they did not disappoint. I can honestly say that Solidatus is the first company that feels like my (work) family, and has accepted me as I am, no judgement.

What does Pride Month mean to you?

Pride means a lot to a lot of different people. From celebrating how far we have come over the years, feeling loved no matter who you are and how you identify. Having a safe space to step into the light, tell your story and be accepted and welcomed. I completely agree with that. For me, it is also about knowledge sharing, and helping those in fear to see what can be possible, and how all you need is to love yourself and allow others to see that incredible light of yours shine bright and be true to who you are.

What is an issue in the LGBTQ+ community that you are particularly passionate about?

Awareness and having the correct knowledge and compassion are major things for me. Being open and understanding that, yes, we as individuals have differences, and everyone is unique in their outlook on life and on how we view society now, in the present. Always remembering, that we as humans have the ability to communicate and express how we feel in a multitude of ways and having these gifts can be scary for those who do not understand them.

Do you have any special plans for celebrating Pride this year?

The last L Fest weekend is happening at the end of July this year (very sad). This will be my third time going. The first time I went on my own back in 2018, then I took my best friend/sister-in-law with me in 2019, and this year, I get to take my wife with me, (this will be her first time going). We will also be attending the Pride in London parade, on the 2nd July together.

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Tamaryn and her wife, Mira

Do you have a memory or an event that you recall was an achievement for you, since coming out?

It was Saturday, 6th July 2019, Pride in London event. Back then, I was riding with the DOB (Dykes on Bikes), an amazing motorcycle group and they were asked to ride up front in the parade that year. It was an honour for them to lead the parade, and I had the privilege to join them, out and proud on my motorbike. The riding was extremely slow, and we stopped a few times to allow the rest of the parade to catch up behind us. Not having our helmets on allowed us to see the crowds on both sides, seeing the support, the love, it was an incredible feeling. I felt proud to be there and I am glad I had the courage to take part.

What do you think companies in tech can do this Pride Month and beyond to raise awareness about the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace?

I understand the logistics of having awareness months, on different topics and promoting them more. However, I personally think companies, where you spend the majority of your days, can do more. Create safe spaces for staff to speak openly. Have events or check-ins monthly or bi-monthly, on important topics across the board, on health, well-being and mental health matters. Promote all these as often as possible, but most importantly, listen to your staff. As Richard Branson says, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

What can tech organisations do to promote a positive and healthy environment for colleagues who are LGBTQ+?

Regardless of your background, your beliefs, and your preferences, creating a safe space that promotes health, well-being and acceptance is key. Creating a culture that is inclusive to all, with an emphasis on positive reinforcement and open communication.

What would you say to someone who wants to come out but is too scared to?

When you start to understand the differences of things in life, be it a preference to food, or clothes or individual likes, some are easier choices to make, and some not so much. Fortunately, and unfortunately, this is due to the society we live in, and some are deeply rooted in our history. The most important thing you can ever do for yourself is to be true to who you are, regardless of what others may or may not think. Positive attracts positive, negative attracts negative and yes, negative likes to bring positive down too. Create more of what you want not only within yourself but in the world and this will in time alter history and help those who come after us. Be strong and be uniquely you.

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The birth of Pride

During the early morning hours of Saturday 28 June, 1969, customers at the Stonewall Inn bar in Greenwich Village, New York, stopped what they were doing as the music died and the lights came glaring back to life. “Police! We’re taking the place!” was all that could be heard in the place of music, chatting and laughter that had filled the Inn only moments before.

Raids were commonplace during this time, but what happened that night was anything but common. As tensions began to mount and the crowd outside Stonewall grew, the mood towards police officers rapidly shifted. The people had had enough. They were no longer prepared to comply while their friends were beaten, assaulted and arrested purely for being gay.

Unlike modern times, there was no pre-set agenda here. A group of people did not get together beforehand to decide they would not cooperate with the police, and that it was time to fight back. There was no planned protest, nor organised march. It was just people – pushed to their very limits – speaking up for and acting on what they knew was right: fighting for their freedoms, and for their own equal standing in society.

On this night, the Stonewall Riots broke out. The crowd chanted “Gay power!” and sang “We Shall Overcome” as violence spread like wildfire around them. The bravery of these people cannot be understated, for it was their courageous actions that helped change and shape the future.

Every June, the world celebrates Gay Pride to commemorate what happened in 1969 and to continue advocacy for the rights of those in the LGBTQ+ community. This is not just a simple matter of awareness, this is a fundamental issue of changing the way people have thought for generation after generation. As LGBTQ+ activist Barbara Gittings once said, “Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.”

And this community isn’t just where we live – it’s everywhere. It’s our friends, family, colleagues and the industry we work in.

Safety and equality at work

Overall, it’s obvious to see we still have a long road ahead of us despite the progress already made. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) released a report last year on the working lives of those in the LGBTQ+ community.

It found that LGBTQ+ employees are more likely to experience workplace conflict and harassment than their heterosexual, cisgender counterparts. 40% of LGBTQ+ workers have experienced this kind of conflict, with 16% feeling psychologically unsafe in their places of work.

For those of us in the technology industry specifically, we have to look around ourselves – even beyond ourselves – and have an honest conversation about how we are representing and supporting those in the LGBTQ+ community.

The sentiment may be there, but as with the rest of the working world, the figures show we are still lacking.

Did you know that a third of LGBTQ+ people avoid careers in science, technology and engineering due to worries of discrimination and bullying?

Their worries are not unjustified. 29% of LGBTQ+ tech employees were likely to experience bullying, 24% were likely to experience humiliation, and 40% have witnessed gender or sexuality-related discrimination in the workplace.

Can you imagine feeling unsafe at work just because of your sexuality? Can you imagine being bullied, and suffering in silence due to your sexual orientation? Can you imagine not having a voice because of this? Many of us will probably never know how that feels – and we are the lucky ones – but that is no reason for lack of action.

The fight must continue in tech

Our industry – much like the rest of the world – is still littered with black holes of discrimination and it is down to every single one of us, no matter our sexuality, to fight for the rights and equality of our fellow humans.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” – we have all heard this Martin Luther King Jr. quote, but are we applying it to the fight against the oppression of LGBTQ+ people?

These are questions we must ask ourselves not only personally and professionally, but as an industry. It’s clear that in tech we need to be doing more to help our LGBTQ+ feel valued, equal and most of all safe.

Because if even just one of us does not feel safe, our work is not yet done.

To celebrate Pride Month and what it means to members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community, we will be sitting down with a couple of our colleagues who represent these communities and their importance in advocating inclusion and equality.

These interviews will take a look at their own journeys and how the Gay Pride movement has driven change, as well as the fundamental shifts they have seen in the world and the workplace, and what else needs to be done to achieve true acceptance.

Stay tuned throughout the month to read their stories!

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As part of our annual series of Women Take Tech for International Women’s Day, I caught up this year with the Solidatus Chief Data Officer (CDO), Lorraine Waters. With a long and illustrious career, Lorraine is widely known as a thought leader in the data space, hailing from HSBC where she was the CDO for Global Compliance.

Despite taking early semi-retirement in 2020, Lorraine’s passion for the industry and our product saw her join the Solidatus team in 2021. She has won many awards, including CDO Magazine’s Global Data Power Women in 2020 and most recently making the Innovate Finance Women in FinTech Powerlist 2021. I talked to Lorraine to find out about her career, her thoughts on how the industry has changed and her inspirations.

Tell us about how you ended up in data and tech. What was it about the industry that appealed to you?

My career has always been in financial services, but I’ve only come to data and tech in the last 10 years or so. Before that I was in operations, transformation and strategy roles. But data and tech plays a big part in all of those roles, so I gravitated towards it, and after managing one of the big data integration programmes at RBS and ABN Amro, I found myself as RBS Head of Data.

Transforming organizations through better management of data is a passion of mine and it is great to see the value of data finally being recognized across so many industries. Learning data skills can take you beyond just financial services, and I have recently seen data friends and colleagues make the transition seamlessly from banking to retail, broadcasting, property management, pharma and beyond.

Growing up, what did you want to be? And how did that influence where you are now?

I wanted to be a journalist. I love books, I love storytelling and I love to write. Telling stories with data is the closest I have got but I still get excited about the insights you can get from a well-managed dataset, and I try share that excitement with everyone I meet.

What would you say has been the biggest challenge for you as a woman in an industry that is still male-dominated?

Being listened to. Often other women and I raise valid and innovative ideas, only to be talked over, or the idea attributed to the next male speaker. This still happens today. Both men and women need to recognize this happens and commit to being more inclusive of those voices that are not being heard. Be conscious of it at every meeting, every gathering and ‘signal boost’ those colleagues that are not being heard. That term ‘signal boosting’ was coined by women in the Obama administration who recognized what was happening and agreed to ‘signal boost’ for each other to make sure ideas were attributed to the right person and each of them had a voice.

Looking back on your career, what do you think has changed for the better in our industry?

There are many, many more women in data and tech these days with some inspiring role models in senior positions. Look at Kate Platanova, Group Chief Data Officer at HSBC and Jennifer Courant, Group Chief Data Officer at Deutsche Bank, both of whom are great communicators and champions for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as well as for other women in data and tech. For every senior woman in one of these positions there are many in their organizations and across the industry who see it can be done. And each of those senior women who champion DEI and women in tech, have made it easier for other women to follow.

And what do you think still needs to change in data and tech? Are we where we need to be with gender equality, diversity and inclusion?

The path has been laid but there are groups of people who are so far away from the start of the path that we need to reach out to help them, such as those in low socio-economic groups, those with disabilities, and those for whom starting a career in data and tech seems too far a stretch. Organizations need to look at their workforce data to see if it is reflective of the communities and customers they serve, and if not take proactive steps to address the mismatch.

There is sensitivity in collecting and analysing people data, but where there are valid grounds and positive intent then it is possible and organizations must try.

If you could have had one piece of advice when you started working in data and tech, what would it have been and what advice would you give?

Take a risk. That job that seems not quite attainable. That role that you don’t feel you can do 100%. That team that you don’t quite fit into. That pay rise you think you deserve. Take a risk and go for it.
And be generous and kind with your knowledge and your time to help those who are developing their careers. It means more than you know and could literally change someone’s life.

Throughout your life, which women have inspired you? How have they influenced your life both professionally and personally?

There are honestly so many: my sister, who has four kids and is a primary school teacher who puts her heart and soul into teaching, my friends and colleagues who have often juggled successful careers and motherhood, the women who help other women up the career ladder… I can always rely on Maya Angelou for an inspiring quote or poem when the need arises. One of my favourites is: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

We are always on the lookout for new members to join the Solidatus team, who will not only add to our product innovation, but will help nurture and build on the Solidatus culture and vision. Check out our careers page to see our latest opportunities:

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To finish up our annual series of Women Take Tech for International’s Women Day, I sat down with Solidatus Development Specialist Nadia Mahgerefteh to discuss her recent mentoring work. Over the course of eight weeks, Nadia has been sharing her skills and experience to mentor a group of women students.

Teaming up with Code First Girls, Nadia has been a tutor for the ‘Intro to Web Development’ course, which has seen her supporting and educating women as they start on their coding journey and forge a career in STEM, with the objective of further reducing the gender gap and breaking down barriers for women in tech.

First of all, how did you end up teaching for Code First Girls?

I saw an ad for it on Instagram! I felt like I was finally in a place where I could teach other women and show them that tech isn’t as scary as it may seem. I personally found it intimidating embarking on my own career and even starting my role at Solidatus. But with the help of the company, I’ve felt so empowered and want to inspire others and get them as excited about coding as I am.

Tell us more about the course

It’s an eight-week beginners’ web development course for career switchers/students. I taught the course on Zoom once a week for a couple hours on a Thursday evening alongside another instructor. We had about 45 women sign up for the course!

What has been the biggest challenge for your students so far?

There is a really big learning curve when it comes to coding, and a lot of the students struggled to see how they were ever going to produce something meaningful with their code, but sure enough a few weeks later they all managed to collaborate in groups to create their own websites.

Why do you think it’s difficult to attract women into tech jobs?

Of people studying computer science, which isn’t a huge number to start with, only a small proportion are women (my class at UCL, for example, was around 15%), and unfortunately a lot of the tech jobs out there require a Computer Science degree or something similar. So I do think we have a pipeline problem and need to get more girls interested in tech in school so that they do decide to take it further.

Once applying for roles, it can also be extremely intimidating. I only found myself applying for roles unless I met 100% of the criteria, whereas it was found that men apply for jobs if they only meet 60% (Harvard Business Review), so I definitely think the wording used in job descriptions should accommodate this disparity.

What made you want to pursue a career in tech?

I was always interested in technology from a young age but didn’t really consider it as a career because it wasn’t really discussed as an option at my school. The only tech A-level we had was ICT which was considered an ‘easy’ subject, and I didn’t know Computer Science even existed.

It was only after an alumni student came to my school to speak about his career journey, in which he studied Computer Science and went on to work at Amazon on the drone project, that I really thought wow, how cool is that! I taught myself Computer Science A-level and went on to study it at university, and soon after joined Solidatus.

We are always on the lookout for new members to join the Solidatus team, who will not only add to our product innovation, but will help nurture and build on the Solidatus culture and vision. Check out our careers page to see our latest opportunities:

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“Imagine a gender free world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.”

Gender equality is more than just ‘lip-service’. As businesses around the world mark International Women’s Day and celebrate some of the headway we have made, it’s plain to see that we are still not where we need to be.

We like to think the days of discrimination are long gone, and may even believe that we have moved into a new age of belonging and empowerment, one that would have been unimaginable and unattainable a few decades ago. But the age-old issue of gender-based bias still clings on to society even in the modern world.

In tech, we see a rather obvious imbalance. Our industry, like many others, has long been male-dominated. And while we have trailblazed in many ways, we have trailed behind in many others.

With theories of equality not necessarily translating into practice (and sometimes only equating to mere tick-boxing exercises), we need to ask ourselves:

  • where are we still seeing the gaps?
  • what are the opportunities for true, lasting change?

The slow pace of progress

Deloitte Insights reported in December 2021 that, while women make up 32.9% of the overall workforce, the proportion of women in technical roles was way behind at 25.0%. According to Tech Nation, the ratio of men and women in senior tech roles in the UK has remained almost exactly the same since 2000, with only 22% of directors being women. Beyond this, only 16% of women have had a career in technology suggested to them – quite a difference from the 33% of men who have – according to PwC.

After years of (attempted) progression, awareness-raising and diverse recruiting efforts, why are women so lacking in the tech industry? Diversity in Tech quoted a study that looked at the two biggest barriers for women in tech:

  1. a lack of mentors (48%)
  2. a lack of female role models (42%)

These two issues are as difficult to combat as they are important. How can we attract more female talent into an industry that is so lacking in this regard? The answer is that we must break the mould before it has been given a chance to take hold.

Planting a seed in the minds of young women can inspire them into laying the foundations for an exciting and fulfilling career in tech.

It takes a village

But this will be a joint effort. It’s not just on the existing women in tech (leadership or not) to draw in more women, it’s down to the men. It’s down to the management. It’s down to those tasked with building a business’s core culture and values. It’s down to every single employee to align themselves to those principles, thereby making the tech industry a place where women not only want to be, but feel safe and valued.

Mentoring is something everyone can take up the mantle of. As a father of two daughters, Solidatus Co-CEO Philip Miller has made it his mission to teach and inspire young women from school age about ‘all things tech’, and why a STEM career is not just for boys. “We believe that turning the dial on getting more women into tech can be achieved through the right type of mentoring from an early age. It’s our goal to attract more female talent into our industry, and we can’t do that from merely talking about it. We have found the right formula for mentoring and inspiring women to not only pursue a career in computer science, but to eventually mentor the next generation themselves in a trickle-down and reinforcement of aspirations.”

Similarly, our Development Specialist, Nadia Mahgerefteh, has not only been using her voice to campaign for more gender equality and diversity in the workplace, but even more importantly has been using her skills to help the next generation of women build successful careers in tech. A full-stack developer specializing in UI/UX, Nadia recently shared her knowledge and skills by mentoring a group of students during an eight-week web development course for Code First Girls“I don’t think I would be in the role I am now without the amazing mentors and teachers I had during school who picked up on my interest in tech and encouraged me to pursue it. So to come full circle and be able to mentor other women interested in tech has been extremely rewarding. A lot of young women are interested in tech but don’t get enough support to turn that interest into a career. I believe that it’s important to approach women early and help give them the skills and confidence they need to pursue a career in tech.”

Small steps make a big difference

The opportunity to support women and bridge the gender gap in our industry should always be grabbed with both hands – from the top, down. Whether it’s by campaigning all year around, by mentoring girls embarking on the journey of choosing a career path, or just by posting your solidarity on International Women’s Day. All shows of support, however small, are important. For women, even the smallest steps forward for their rights and equality have made the biggest changes to their lives.

And though we have come so far and achieved so much as a collective, we must not stop here. We must keep pioneering and championing women in our industry, so that one day we can look back with pride, knowing we were part of the solution and that together we were able to #BreakTheBias.

We are always on the lookout for new members to join the Solidatus team, who will not only add to our product innovation, but will help nurture and build on the Solidatus culture and vision. Check out our careers page to see our latest opportunities:

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To celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, Nadia Mahgerefteh, Full Stack Software Developer at Solidatus – spoke with WeAreTechWomen as part of their Inspirational Women campaign. 

Nadia caught up with the publication to reflect on her studies in Computer Science, the driving force behind her move into tech and the obstacles she overcame to build a career:

“I read somewhere that women tend not to apply for roles unless they meet 100% of the job criteria, whereas men apply once they reach around 60%, so that was a huge learning point for me. I had to remind myself that I had worked hard and I did have the experience, sometimes more then I give myself credit for.”

She also discusses what she thinks companies can do to support the progress of the careers and development of women working in our industry, as well as how individuals can excel in their careers through mentorship and networking.  

To read Nadia’s story, head over to WeAreTechWomen: 

WeAreTechWomen podcast scaled

To celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, Rupa Rughani – Head of IT Support & Training at Solidatus – spoke with WeAreTechWomen as part of their Inspirational Women campaign. 

Rupa discusses her career into tech, the challenges she has faced along the way as a woman, and what more she thinks can be done to inspire women to choose a career in tech. 

Speaking to the need for self-belief when forging a career in a male dominated industry, Rupa says “As a woman, I think that sometimes you have to have complete faith in yourself, because others may not. Believing in myself has pushed me forward and enabled me to achieve so much.”

She also gives insight into her own achievements and successes, the part that mentoring has played in her development, and how as an industry we can continue to break down barriers and support the growth of women in tech. 

To read Rupa’s story, head over to WeAreTechWomen: 

IntWomensDay2021

A hundred years ago, life looked very different for women all over the world. There were hardly any women in the work place, zero female politicians, and the only people who were allowed to vote were defined as ‘male persons.’ But by 1929, women were finally given equal voting rights to men. Since then, we have moved in leaps and bounds, breaking down the traditional and outdated perception of women in order to give the generations who follow us the chance to establish themselves as whatever they want to be.

In 1975, The Sex Discrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate against women in work, education and training. And by 1990, independent taxation for married women was finally introduced. This heralded in a new era of women – those who wanted to stand on their own two feet, forge their own career and turn the foundations that underpinned sexism on its head.

After centuries of repression and degradation, women took control of their lives, found their own power and fought their way to carve out a place in society. This was no easy feat, and many women lost their lives along the path to freedom. This is why every year we take a day to recognise women from all over the world, of all different backgrounds and cultures. We take a day to look back on just how far we have come, whilst simultaneously understanding there is so much still to be done.

And in our industry, this need is apparent. Like most industries, technology has always been male-dominated and sadly, this continues to be the case. According to a report by Catalyst, women make up 46.9% of the global work force. So, what does this figure look like for tech? Findings from Tech Nation revealed that only 19% of the tech work force are women, with 77% of director roles filled by men.

In further studies conducted by PwC, it was found 30% of women studied a STEM subject at university, and only 3% of women listed a career in tech as their first choice. Not only are we losing out on women in leadership roles, but we are struggling to even get them in the door on an educational level.

WomenTech Network estimates just how long it will take for us to close the economic gender gap in technology: over 73,000 days. That’s 200 years. As an industry, we need to put our collective heads together and figure out what more we can be doing to attract female talent into tech. Because what’s not to like about a career in technology?

Solidatus Full Stack Software Developer Nadia Mahgerefteh speaks to this, “One of the reasons I love working in software development is how satisfying it is to be working on a problem, and being able to instantly see the results of your work right in front of you on the computer. It’s a perfect combination of using technical coding skills alongside the creativity that comes with providing a solution that your users can actually enjoy.”

International Women’s Day helps elevate the voices of women everywhere, and allows us the opportunity to provide a platform for our female colleagues. And this year, that is exactly what we have decided to do. At Solidatus, gender equality is so much more than ticking a couple of boxes – it means something. Championing women in tech has always been a passion for both our co-founders, who have worked tirelessly in their careers and personal lives to help mentor, develop and promote women across all levels. This is a passion that has filtered down to all members of the Solidatus team, and it is our hope that this International Women’s Day we can use our voices to not only advocate for women currently in our industry, but to inspire a future generation of female tech leaders.