Developers & TechnologyView profile
“Hi my name’s Tegen. I’m currently working at Rock Solid Knowledge, a Bristol born software development company. We’re on the path toward getting B Corp Certified and over the last few months I’ve really thrown myself into the process and spearheaded a bunch of initiatives. I’ve been doing a whole mix of HR, project management, business strategy and company culture.”
The purpose of our ‘MotherBoard’ content series is to highlight incredible working mums within tech & data, as well as businesses that are supportive and progressive within their approach to creating more inclusive tech & data teams for women.
Tegen: On a practical level we’ve seen that when women become mothers and then return to the workplace, they earn 33% less than men during the 12 years after childbirth. They also tend to return in lower positions and quite often will drop down to part time. We’re losing out on such amazing talent – women are so resilient and we’re losing their voices. I suppose it’s also maybe a slightly selfish reason on my part but if I ever choose motherhood for myself, I want to feel supported and valued by my company through that journey. On a wider level, we have to challenge the notion that, childbirth, this massive act of creation and resilience is a bad thing, and start celebrating mothers.
Tegen: We’ve always had the option to request flexible working but we’re now moving to it being the norm for everyone. We’ve recognised the need for more childcare support, and the necessity of community for working parents. If you look at the research it shows that mothers that work full time experience days that are 3-4 hours longer than their male counterparts. We want to find ways in reducing the pressure on women so that it doesn’t get to the point that they are feeling overworked, burnt out and unable to progress.
Tegen: Create legislation that properly supports flexible working, reduces maternity discrimination, and increases the living wage so it reflects the real cost of living. We’re losing so much talent because companies aren’t being held accountable by law. And it sucks that it’ll take legislation for real change to happen but there has to be a system to ensure fair treatment of workers.
Tegen: Champion inclusivity to increase diversity. Keep the mums that work for you in the loop whilst they’re off (using an agreed form of communication). Maternity leave as a basic thing is not enough. Women experience the most amount of support within that first year of childbirth and after that it tapers off to nothing. When those kids become teenagers, and those teenagers become adults, we still need to be supporting their parents. We must reframe how we think about pregnancy, motherhood, women in general.
Tegen: In the short term we need to determine the needs of the individuals working for us, it’s not going to be a one size fits all solution. And if it’s not possible to provide these as short-term solutions then make them into long term goals.
Tegen: In the short term we need to determine the needs of the individuals working for us, it’s not going to be a one size fits all solution. Some of these needs will be resolvable now and others may require more organisational change. However, I think these changes need to be driven by the needs of people themselves. Longer term there is no solution without achieving real inclusivity and a resulting diversity in the workplace. This needs to be our ultimate goal to achieve real equity.
Tegen: I think we need to provide more resources, training and childcare support for women and mothers. Tech organisations can be so flexible, there are so many avenues within the industry that people can work in. The technology landscape evolves incredibly rapidly and so we need to give our post-partum women a leg up so they’re not left behind.
Tegen: Get involved with an organisation providing mentorship and menteeships. If you offer fully flexible working make sure you are clear that mothers are not expected to be available 24/7. There have to be some parameters to women don’t feel they have to sacrifice family time, of course the same needs to be said for fathers. Be conscious of your work from home mothers – do they have access to a support system? Are they being given the same opportunities as those working in the office? What enrichment and learning opportunities do you have in place for returning mums?
Thank you again.
< MotherBoard is a community, content & meetup series and charter that has been created to drive positive change throughout the UK Technology and Data sectors. Creating environments that support the inclusion of working mothers offers a significant solution to the shortage of talent across the Technology and Data sectors. We’re here to educate, challenge and create that shift. We’re not here to berate, we’re here to connect, embrace and champion positive change-makers. >