Today is International Women’s Day, and Trainline CEO, Clare Gilmartin, was interviewed on Sky News this morning to discuss getting more women working in technology – and in senior positions.
Here’s a summary of her interview:
How can we encourage more women to work in the technology industry?
“There are two key areas we need to focus on to get more women working in technology – the first is targeting women at entry level; too few girls choose maths and science as subjects at school and this is often driven by attitudinal reasons that can be tackled and overcome if approached in the right way. Girls are just as good as boys at these subjects and we need to encourage a greater uptake.
“The second key area of focus needs to be women at middle management level. At this stage in women’s careers, when big promotions often occur, many are forced to drop out of the industry due to the difficulties of balancing having children and a demanding job. In order to address this, we need to encourage more flexible working cultures. It’s so important that people are measured on results delivered, not hours worked. When it comes to hours worked, women will never be able to match men and this is why we need to move away from this.
“We also need to make a commitment to stamping out bias in the hiring process, through diverse selection and promotion panels, and to really champion role models for working women – the ability for women to receive advice from those who have been in similar situations is crucial.”
But gender preference can work both ways – no one complains about too many women in primary school teaching, for example. What are your thoughts on this?
“Ultimately what I would love to see, and what I think my generation has a responsibility to encourage, is women participating in the big decisions that impact all of our lives – not just in business but in government too. Previous generations have fought for maternity pay or the vote, our part is to encourage more women to participate at very senior decision-making levels.”
How can women affect change?
“Part of it is encouraging women to speak up for flexible working when they need it. It took me far too much courage to ask for a four day week when my children were young. Incidentally, there have been periods where I have worked four day weeks and today I am home at 6pm to put my children to bed – this has never impacted my ability to deliver results.
“One of the biggest issues is having the confidence to speak up (I’ve felt it and so have the many women I’ve worked with), particularly when working in a male dominated environment. It was definitely challenging for me to do so but I ultimately decided that as the minority you absolutely have to make your voice heard and that’s what I encourage other women to do.”
Clare is nominated for the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Awards 2016.