On the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, ThoughtWorks Australia was named as one of just 98 organisations that are Employers of Choice for Women.
This list was compiled by EOWA – the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, which is an Australian Government statutory authority.
This is a great (and I might say, well-deserved) honour for ThoughtWorks but it also seems a little depressing that in all of Australia, just 98 organisations met the requirements to be considered for this recognition.
The full 2011 EOWA Employer of Choice for Women list can be read here.
Why did ThoughtWorks deserve this? Well, the official criteria can be seen on the EOWA website, but from my personal point of view, I feel like that “fairness” or “equal opportunity” aspect to women in the workforce is a no-brainer at ThoughtWorks. Of course people are remunerated and hired based on their skills, not their gender. Of course they should be free from harrassment. Of course, where possible, flexible working options should be available. And so on. But that’s not the most awesome part, because that should be the case everywhere anyway.
In my opinion, what makes ThoughtWorks stand out and deserving of this recognition is that – in an industry which was was never famous for its high female participation rates – Thoughtworks has genuinely and proactively tried to get more women involved in IT. We’re official and unofficial supporters of programs like Girl Geeks, Go Girl Go For IT and Digital Divas. We pay higher referral bonuses when women are hired. Our women are encouraged to network together and support each other. When I joined the company, I was one of two female recruits. We were chosen out of a shortlist that was 75% female.
IT/ICT is everywhere in our everyday lives. The user base for all these technologies is made up by every different kind of person imaginable. So it makes sense that the people developing these technologies are representative of those that use them. Women make up 50% of the world’s population. You can do the math to figure out what proportion of this industry should also be made up of women.
ThoughtWorks have cottoned onto that. It’s not an easy task – women often don’t consider IT as a career option. That’s why we’re trying to encourage particularly younger women to think about IT at school and university. But again, this is what makes ThoughtWorks stand out. They’re trying bloody hard.
Congratulations ThoughtWorks and well done to the staff that worked towards this amazing recognition.
This is another reason why I’m proud to be a ThoughtWorker 🙂