International Women’s Day with the StoryShare team

By Phoebe Barker

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, StoryShare caught up with the women on the team helping to build and deliver great SaaS learning and communication software designed and optimised for mobile experiences. Together they discussed equality in the workplace, and diversity in STEM industries.

Women in tech.
Software developer Fatimat Gbajabiamila trained at Founders and Coders and is now navigating her first year as a professional developer at StoryShare. We asked her what she thought women contribute to the tech sector.

“Women diversify a previously male-saturated industry. They bring creativity and a world of expertise, ideas and innovations. I think they introduce a new level of empathy into a highly-pressurised industry where company culture is stiff and stuck in traditional long-working hours glued to a desk.

As a result the technology is thriving, women can’t take all the credit, but new found workplace flexibility and extra-curricular opportunities like meet-ups and community events are bringing people together. They are igniting a whole new world of startups and companies transforming the tech industry and the way we harness digital power. It’s a very exciting time and continuing to diversify across the board will secure a really incredible future.”

The gender-bias.
When you write a piece of code and share it with the world, people need to understand why your code might be useful to them, before they decide to use it. StoryShare’s Documentation Author Katia Punter tells the world why this project is transforming the learning and communication space for good. Katia grew up in Russia and has an impressive three degrees; here she talks to us about the gender-bias she’s experienced during her career.

“Before going into teaching and then coding, I previously interviewed for a few jobs in tech. I remember one time I got to the last stage of an interview for a technology support role. When asked what my hobbies were I replied, ‘My kids are four and five and I am a single mum… so I don’t have many hobbies’. The reaction was very disappointing. The man who was interviewing me stayed silent for a while, screwed up his face and then listed the sporting ventures the company were involved in. Safe to say, I didn’t get the job.”

Despite this, Katia has a positive outlook on the future of equality. When asked to offer one piece of advice for girls making decisions about their careers she says:
“You can do it. Coding is not for nerds. Coding is not just for boys.”

The danger of a single story.
StoryShare’s Head of People Oby Bamidele, works to ensure that the people at StoryShare are happy, engaged and thriving in a diverse culture where everyone feels valued. As an author and activist of self-authenticity, she discusses women in tech.

“I am often reminded of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDx talk titled “The danger of a single story”. Less than 20% of tech jobs are held by women, which is a major gender imbalance and inequality. By having only one story, which is typically white, middle class and male, we lose a wealth of creativity, energy, cultural diversity and perspectives that lend to innovation at its highest level. At StoryShare we’ve seen the positive impact of having a more diverse team and how it has enriched our culture and creativity… And we certainly plan to do more.”

Teaching equality.
Marketing Manager Phoebe Barker is an avid reader, with special interest in essays on equality and inclusivity. Her favourites include Bad Feminist and Hunger, by Roxane Gay and Scarlett Curtis’ Feminist’s don’t wear pink. When asked how the STEM sector can attract more women to careers that have traditionally been dominated by men, she wants to start with the education system.

“I’d propose full eradication of the concept of ‘boy jobs’ and ‘girls jobs’. Start at the beginning; go to schools. Teach both genders from a young age that they are equally capable of working in the STEM industries, as much as any other. What we teach a generation at the beginning of their lives will stay with them for life. It is important kids don’t end up ingrained with the wrong messages and beliefs and become unwilling or afraid to do certain things or pursue particular paths.

Stop conforming to stereotypes and check your privileges. Be aware of all genders, sexualities, races, cultures, religions, disabilities and beyond. Don’t ever (even subliminally) teach kids that majority = normality and therefore anything else means or matters less. We need to equip our young people with the knowledge and tools to reject injustices, no matter how embedded into society. Teach kindness and acceptance and the opportunities for global growth and improvement are infinite.”

About StoryShare

StoryShare exists so employees can love their work.

StoryShare is a SaaS Communication and Learning Experience Platform optimised for mobile. The platform delivers ‘Netflix style’ communication and learning experiences to improve employee engagement and better equip people to do their jobs. The service can reach any employee, anytime, anywhere, on any device.

StoryShare is deployed at leading brands including Unilever, Accenture, Covestro, Renault and Upfield.