Technology Record - Issue 33: Summer 2024

84 ROUNDTABLE anywhere, which is perfect for flexible and remote work arrangements. Personally, I find it incredibly beneficial to learn and build skills through platforms like Coursera and LinkedIn Learning, which offer a wide range of online courses that fit into my schedule. I also really enjoy using apps like Headspace and Calm for stress management and mental wellbeing; they remind me to take a few minutes to breathe and recharge. AR: Real-time communication apps like Teams have revolutionised workplace inclusivity and flexibility. These tools help women and caregivers balance professional and personal commitments by enabling remote work. This integration fosters a work culture that values both efficiency and personal wellbeing, enhancing satisfaction and dedication among employees. Such technological advancements support a diverse and dynamic workforce by making the workplace more adaptable. GS: Previously, we had to be in the office to access the corporate network, so being able to connect from home on a virtual private network was liberating. I was able to wake up early and get extra work done without leaving the house. The advancements in Teams for real, seamless conversations are fantastic. We’ve adapted to this way of working without awkwardness, allowing people to join meetings from anywhere, which has made a huge difference. Companies where women comprise over 30 per cent of the workforce are significantly more likely to financially outperform those with less than 30 per cent, according to McKinsey & Company’s 2023 report, Diversity matters even more: The case for holistic impact. Why do you think this is? CB: Companies that prioritise gender diversity attract a broader range of job candidates. This leads to different approaches to problem solving, better decision-making with thorough analysis and creative solutions, and a more inclusive and supportive work environment. Overall, the link between gender diversity and profitability is clear. Broader talent acquisition, stronger financial performance, improved reputation and increased employee satisfaction collectively contribute to the superior performance of gender-diverse companies, making them more likely to achieve higher profitability than their less diverse peers. AR: Gender-diverse teams reflect a wide array of experiences and viewpoints, leading to more innovative problem solving. This diversity is crucial in developing new technologies like generative AI and refining best practices. By challenging conventional thinking and anticipating diverse customer needs, these teams deliver more effective solutions. Thus, by embracing a wider talent pool, organisations enhance their capacity for innovation and significantly increase their potential for higher profitability. GS: A room full of people who are all like each other will fall into ‘groupthink’, where their similar experiences limit their perspective. A notable example is the Microsoft Surface kickstand design, which was uncomfortable for women wearing skirts – a design flaw unnoticed until too late. Carolyn Criado Perez’s Invisible Women highlights numerous instances where omitting female data has compromised business decisions. Research indicates that women often seek alternative solutions in high-pressure situations, in contrast to men who favour riskier options. So, integrating diverse viewpoints not only improves team dynamics but also the quality of decision-making. What are the most impressive examples of projects you have seen to help attract and retain women in the technology industry? CB: Company leadership must set the tone in order for other levels of management to buy in and provide additional levels of support to women. This is even more effective if paired with fair hiring practices, offering flexible work arrangements and addressing pay equity. Firms that conduct regular pay audits to identify and correct disparities and also maintain transparency in salary bands and criteria for raises and promotions are more likely to build trust among employees. AR: Several initiatives are doing great work to bring more women into technology and keep “ Company leadership must set the tone in order for other levels of management to ‘buy-in’ and provide additional levels of support to women” CHRISTINE BONGARD