By Grace Lawless

I wanted to write a blog article about International Women’s Day. It’s been several months since International Women’s Day and we’ve been reflecting on it as a team. We saw some really positive social posts about International Women’s Day back in March, but we also saw a huge amount of posts on social media that left us all feeling slightly uncomfortable that there’s so much focus on a single day – this just doesn’t feel right to us, so we’ve taken some time to think about how we would respond to this.

Just Googling IWD brings up some fairly shocking statistics:

  • International Women’s Day is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements on 8th March every year. It is a focal point in the movement for woman’s rights. On March 19, 1911, the first International Woman’s Day was held, drawing more than 1 million people to rallies worldwide. The United Nations began celebrating the day in 1977.
  • Women earn 23% less than men globally. Women occupy only 24% of parliamentary seats worldwide. 1 in 3 have experienced physical/sexual violence. Today not one country can claim to have achieved gender equality. Multiple obstacles remain unchanged in law and in culture. There is a significant threat of rollback of hard-won gains.

Why do we care about this and what does international women’s day mean for the team at Pragma? Pragma is part of the telecoms industry – which is traditionally heavily testosterone dominated! If you’ve been to any of the telecoms events, you’ll have seen how few women are in the room. And the one’s who are get congratulated on their pretty dresses! This isn’t the case at Pragma – 33% of the executive team are women, 50% of the management team are women, over 36% of our entire team are women and we have no gender pay gap. These are all really strong stats in telecoms, and indeed across any industry, and demonstrate genuine dedication to gender equality. This isn’t down to a ‘positive discrimination’ policy, instead, it has come about naturally because we focus on hiring the best person for the job – and we’ve been lucky to receive applications from great men AND women.

According to the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, just 9% of manufacturing and engineering apprentices were women in 2019, up from 8% in 2018. At degree-level engineering apprenticeships in engineering and manufacturing, female representation rose from 14% in 2018 to just 16% in 2019. Figures from the campaign group, Wise, suggest that the proportion of women working in the engineering industry has doubled between 2009 and 2019, but only from 5.8% to 10.3%.

When we first started talking about this, we took some time also to think about why we should celebrate women’s achievements and what we want to gain – is it to encourage more high calibre women to join Pragma or, is it to encourage more women to consider a career in the telecoms industry? In the end, we decided it wasn’t for any reason other than – it all adds up to being the right thing to do!

So, over the next few months, we’re planning to bring you some really interesting articles that celebrate the successes and achievements of brilliant women in tech and telecoms, plus we plan to bring you some insights and stories about some of the brilliant women on our own team here at Pragma.