International Women’s Day
Hear about our team’s experiences and passions to engage in a world of equality through championing equity.
As a female founded and female led IT consultancy in a mainly male dominated industry Accuteque celebrate the achievements of women and their wider team. As we approach International Women’s Day for 2023, we want to take a look back and reflect on what it means to us as individuals and as a company to be where we are today after 20 years in the business.
The fight for equality
What does innovation for a gender equal future look like to you?
Innovating for gender-equal is something that I have always driven throughout my life so I find this a difficult question to answer. I do not see a woman or man, I see a person. The frameworks that we exist within [Policies, Law, Religious believes] are all skewed with a bias towards men, because in the most they were legislated over the years by men. The mindsets of people, our unconscious biases, are what need to change. And this is something that has to be unlearned. I would love to see our future where we do not judge based on gender, rather the person, who they are, their capability, skills and passion. From a political perspective – I would also like to see a complete overhauled, removal of the ‘old fashioned’ mostly male environment and mindset [even those women who operate in this space have betrayed themselves and towed the party lines] – as policy and legislation plays a large factor in how society and businesses operate, we could start to shift to a more contemporary business model, including mindfulness and equity for all as a standard operating model.
Innovating for a gender-equal future should involve directing innovation resources (people, funds, focus) toward problems that occur uniquely for women and non-binary people. Often the “male” is considered the “default” (throwback to the male-standard crash dummies in cars), not considering the specific challenges other genders may have in participation or using systems. This imbalance leads to adverse outcomes for anyone who is not the default – for example, men with disabilities or neurodivergence. The other side of this equation is to include people of these genders in the innovation – having a more diverse workforce. If our innovators don’t reflect the composition of the population we are solving for, we may not be able to understand the problems in the first place, let alone being able to create solutions.
Innovation to me looks like more dads doing school pick up, coming to assemblies, having a dad’s playgroup and working part time without questions or judgement. It looks like women in leadership across a range of industries and professions. Innovation looks like equitable gender inclusions in studies for science to better understand women’s bodies and provide better healthcare. It looks like protecting women’s super and ensuring they have adequate care available for economic and health issues they are more likely to face such as domestic violence.
Ideas on how we can better promote a gender equal future can start from things we witness daily. For me, across the 3 childcare centers we have had our children in, there’s rarely any male educators. Perhaps because women are traditionally seen as more caring and nurturing, and therefore more suitable for those roles. Which also means it discourages men from pursuing those type of roles. I’d love to know what we can do to see more male educators in the centers who can contribute equally to our future generation’s development. There are many other occupations where it is traditionally male dominated and as such, we should invest in looking at ways to create more balance.
Innovation for gender-equal for me is about applying human-centered-design (HCD) to truly understand the problem space and explore options. To be innovative, first we need to understand where the imbalances are and whether they are created because of people cultural norms, existing processes or systems, or hundreds of years of history and bias. We also know that in HCD its great to have many voices and backgrounds exploring the possibility, so step one would be to ensure that the group exploring a space is diverse and inclusive as well. We can then prioritise the areas of imbalance and work to fix one area at a time, rather than taking a scattergun approach
The fight for equality
How do you make a difference and treat the people in your life?
My entire life I have had the benefit of living within a multicultural society, a culturally diverse family, with disability and experienced various forms of adversity. I am not blinded that we are all different, unique, however I do not see genealogy, religion or age. I see a fellow human being. So how do I make a difference for those who travel on my path? I share my knowledge, give them my time and offer advice where I can. I care and am present when they talk to me, am compassionate when they need it.
I believe that if we are not actively inclusive, then we are excluding. It is important to recognize barriers that women and non-binary people face and take action to lower these barriers.
As an ally, it’s important to recognize and understand your privilege and how it affects your interactions with groups and individuals. Start by listening to the experiences and perspectives of other people. Take time to reflect on your own experiences and how they might differ from those of people from other groups. When interacting with people from other groups, pay attention to your own thoughts and reactions. Use your privilege to amplify the voices of people from those groups. Take action to address systemic issues that perpetuate privilege and marginalisation, such as lending your support to those change initiatives driven by those groups most effected.
We have 3 young boys and I try to make small differences by being mindful of the things I say and do. E.g. I would tell the boys that pink is not a girl’s colour or that blue is not only for boys – this is their immediate response when faced with picking coloured toys or clothes. Normalising things like this will help our future generation be more mindful of what gender equity is. I treat people the way I want to be treated – fairly and honestly.
The Dalai Lama says, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” This is a maxim I try to live by I would rather be considered kind than any other character trait. That is how I make a difference.
I try to treat others with the same level of respect that I would expect in all situations. I also understand that everyone has a different ability to change and to accept change in others. Sometimes you must meet people where they are and accept them for who they are
I treat people in my life fairly and am particularly mindful around boys and girls not to promote negative stereotypes around work about men, women or other genders. I have watched programs with older people, and we have had meaningful discussions around the topics of equity and equality in the hopes of gaining a further understanding of their experiences and mine, and finding ways to improve the life experiences of those that will come after us.
The fight for equality
What does Accuteque do to make a more inclusive workplace, remove barriers and promote equity and equality?
Accuteque is a unique organisation because we are like a family, we laugh together, we challenge each other and we share a common goal – to make a difference and leave all those involved in what we do in a better position than when we started. We operate in a flat structure and leave our egos behind. We encourage diversity in thought and action. Our team are empowered to act and do so with a sense of purpose. Our team delivers our services leveraging flexible working arrangements. We have a ‘work from anywhere, outcome focused’ mindset and we employ likeminded people who want to do amazing things at work that has a positive impact for our clients, their colleagues and themselves. We allow our team to shine, bringing their best skills to the forefront and provide coaching and personal development opportunities to learn from others and build their skills. We have courageous conversations that are respectful and help us to grow as a business. We bring our whole selves to work, enabling an inclusive workplace, free of barriers, with a continuous promotion of equity and equality.
Accuteque promotes flexible working with regards to work hours, location, and care giving responsibilities. By empowering their employees and having trust with our leadership team, it has made a safe and comfortable workplace to accept or ask for accommodations to make their work better.
Aw well as everything else that has been said, Accuteque’s culture and ways of working embrace equity, equality and inclusion. From our purpose to make a difference, and to leave people in a better place, through our values of empowerment, transparency and collaboration, through to our social contract, every interaction supports embracing equity.
Accuteque recognizes that by removing barriers to workplace participation by providing options like remote work and flexible schedules, actively coaching, and providing training in specialist skills, we can empower our team to bring their best skills forward, and to grow in directions they may not have thought available to them. And of course, by providing very visible role models who can get people thinking of non-standard career paths they hadn’t considered!
We at Accuteque strive to enable everyone to bring their whole selves to work, or to work from home. We innovate and are agile in most situation to find solutions that can provide all parties with an opportunity for growth.-
Accuteque does not discriminate against candidates from certain cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, relationship status, genders etc, and this is evident in the diverse team we have today. At Accuteque everyone is included and celebrated through our virtual Whole of Business meetings and during our face to face get togethers.
The fight for equality
What role do you think men can play in promoting gender equality?
I prefer promoting equity rather than gender equality. Equity recognizes that each person, not gender, has different circumstances and may need additional or different resources and opportunities in order to reach an equal outcome.
Our male counterparts have a huge role to play in promoting gender equality, especially those who are in positions of power and influence. Men in influential positions can actively champion the change throughout their organisations and in their daily lives, becoming role models that others can follow in their footsteps.
Recognizing their own advantages in society and calling out others when there is the potential for room to exist to give women more opportunities in the workforce and society for equality.
Men can speak up when they witness biases or unjust done to women e.g. sexual harassment, pay gap, promotion opportunities. Men at home can also take on what is stereotypically seen as a woman’s job like caregiving, house chores, cooking etc. This does not mean we are expecting men to do more, we are simply wanting a fair share of rights and responsibilities for both genders.
Men, especially in senior roles, often have access in forums where women are not present. They can use their voice in these forums and other platforms to enthusiastically champion specific women, as well as the cause for gender equity in general.
Men can act, not just talk about gender equality. I often hear father of daughters say that they want something different for their child. They need to be hyper-vigilant and double check their biases and actions if they want things to change.
The fight for equality
Do you think Accuteque has overcorrected gender equality and now it is unequitable for men?
Accuteque was founded by our current CEO, Caroline Patton, a young mother at the time with the purpose of providing Women in Information Technology a safe place for them to shine. We provide flexible working arrangements enabling young mothers to return to work [wherever that may be – home or office], knowing that they will be supported throughout their career without loosing the momentum of opportunity for career growth as a result of taking maternity leave. Was it an intended overcorrected gender equality? Yes it was! However overtime [20years] we have found that by creating an environment that is nurturing, where people feel safe to bring their whole selves to work, we have found that the men who make up for 50% of our current delivery team, also feel a sense of belonging, being valued and supported. Given that a large percentage of IT Management Consulting firms are led by men, we feel that it was necessary to tip the scales. Today Accuteque has a leadership team that is comprised fully of women, an emerging leadership team which is predominately female and a delivery team that has a 50/50 split of women and men. Our values and purpose have remained true, with the only change being that it is now a workplace that all people come to shine. All team members are supported in the same way when it comes to requiring flexibility, whether it is to care for family members, children or aging parents.
Our purpose is to make a difference; for ourselves, for our colleagues and our clients, leaving them in a better place. And if we stay true to this promise, then we are embracing equity in everything we do.