Anna Pastak // March 08 2019
In Finland, you can’t have missed the black and white images with pink pops of colour on social media. The first we saw, was a man holding a computer with painted nails. The pictures were part of the #surfacethewomen campaign, a collaboration between Microsoft, Women in Tech and Mimmitkoodaa, a coding community for women. The idea of #surfacethewomen is very simple. It aims to bring to surface the women working in technology.
In Finland, only about 20% of people working in technology are women. Almost 40 % of women who study technology, never go to work in technology. The campaign aimed to bring attention to these very uneven numbers and also make the field of technology seem more interesting to women for the future. Through stories and interviews, the strong and successful women were presented to the public.
It actually made us realise something. We couldn’t name one woman in a leading role in the technology world. Where is the female Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos? We were a little bit ashamed of ourselves, as we literally could not name one woman who is in influential in technology without thinking too hard about it.
So we googled. TIME’s “most influential people in tech” gave us a quick lesson of 20 most influential people in tech right now. 5 out of the 21 people introduced were women. This is actually representing quite well the numbers we see in Finland. So is it actually so that the women are unable to reach high positions in technology, or just simple game of numbers, as there is only limited amount of women in technology, so there is the same percentage of them on top? And why do we so easily remember Mark Zuckerberg but forget the name of the CEO of Youtube (Susan Wojcicki, if like us, you couldn’t remember it)?
As proud sponsors of Women in Tech this campaign has hit home. To us diversity and equality comes naturally and we strive to improve it every day. Surfacing the women in tech is important, but it’s even more important to keep them on the surface. Campaigns are great as they shed light on the fundamental problems we face in several fields of business, and they do it with catchy campaigns, visual aids and in your-face-attitude. But the work should be done year-round and all companies should become aware of their current status regarding equality and diversity. That’s why though we gladly except flowers on International Women’s Day today, we sometimes think maybe we shouldn’t even have this day. As much as we appreciate the reason and thought of today, we shouldn’t focus on women’s rights and inequality on one day or week a year, as we should prioritize diversity every day.
Digitalist has quickly grown to become a global company. This to us doesn’t only mean being present in several countries over different continents but it also means we have employees from over 30 countries, several religions, a multitude of languages, sexual orientation, backgrounds, skill sets, history and gender. This makes an amazing building ground for a company culture, as it is not bound to country or nationality. We can make our own set of values, beliefs and way of working, build our own religion and our own Digitalist land.
One of our differentiators is our diversity. It is our amazing people who do our amazing projects, bringing ideas to life every day. In order for us to keep doing that, diversity and equality become the cornerstones of our culture.
Code does not see where you are from, what you believe in, who you love or what sex you identify as. It does not care. The keyboard doesn’t care if it’s tapped by coloured nails and the design pad does not care who is using it. So why should we?
One of our values is Empowered People. Empowered people are about bringing people upwards and forwards. It is about feeling safe and comfortable in order to be creative, to be heard and seen. It’s about surfacing talent and keeping them surfaced, and at Digitalist we aim to do it every day.
Did you take part in the #surfacethewomen campaign? If you haven’t yet, you still have the time, as the campaign is ending today. Please share your women in tech, your idols and your colleagues.
– Anna Pastak & Stefanie Brandt-Tallqvist