How we celebrated International Women’s Day in March 2022
3 min read
In what has become a GoCardless tradition, we recently extended our International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations across the month of March.
This year’s IWD theme was #BreaktheBias. The pervasive nature of unconscious (and, at times, deliberate) biases has continued to make it difficult for women to move ahead. We’ve seen some progressive changes to challenge these biases and empower more women in our communities and places of education, work and worship but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Our employee-led group, Inspiring, advocates for gender equality here at GoCardless. This month we put together a month packed full of activities designed to empower and celebrate women, bring awareness to ongoing challenges and lived experiences, and #BreaktheBias.
The Women in Tech football tournament 🏆
For our London-based GoCardless colleagues, the Inspiring group organised a charity football tournament to raise money for Girls Who Code. In the spirit of this month’s IWD’s theme, Girls Who Code are on a mission to change the image of what a programmer looks like and does and close the gender gap in technology.
Team GoCardless came together to play a round-robin type tournament against TotallyMoney, Zwift and Farewill and we raised a total of £700. Congrats to Farewill who took home the win and a huge thank you to everyone who donated and came along to support!
Celebrating GeeCee women 🙌
Our colleagues care deeply. It’s one of our values that we live and breathe everyday.
So, it wasn’t hard to find some incredibly inspirational and talented women in GoCardless to share their experiences of working in tech. We interviewed some exceptional women, including Catherine Birkett, Kasey Chappelle, Maddie Gunn, and Mary Carter. We spoke about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and interrogating decision-making to see where bias may be the driving force.
We also opened up our Inspiring Slack channel to ‘Lift and Shout’ about women in GoCardless doing some incredible things both in and outside of work. We think it’s safe to say we have some of the most talented women in tech amongst us (we may be biassed but in this instance, we’re comfortable with it) - from artistic endeavours like pottery, sewing, photography, writing, acting and podcasting to supporting some of the most vulnerable in our communities.
One woman’s inspiring story of bringing her family out of poverty
We were fortunate to have Professor Sue Black OBE share her incredible story with us. 25 years ago, Sue was a single parent with three small children living on a council estate in Brixton. She is now one of the top 50 women in tech in Europe, and just been appointed to the Government Advisory body shaping digital services.
Two brilliant panels of brilliant women
We started off with an external panel of four incredible women with diverse backgrounds who are well-established in their career. Thank you to Anushka Ratnayake (Founder of myAgro), Maggie Rose (Founder of MROI), Ishreen Bradley (Founder of a Coaching & Consulting firm, and the Chief Inspiration Officer at Belonging Pioneers), and Payal Jain (Managing Director at JCURV) for sharing their experiences and how they got to where they are today.
We then followed up with an internal panel of GeeCee women discussing their career development, difficulties they have overcome, their greatest achievements, and what the future looks like. Featuring fellow GeeCees Katie Locke, Glenys Nkrumah, Antonia Hasenauer, and Linda Yang.
The Inspiring takeover
On IWD, women and allies across the world come together to shine a light on inequalities faced, including gender pay gaps, violence against women and huge discrepancies in different genders experiencing education and healthcare.
Inspiring took over the company-wide town hall to do this on IWD. We spoke about the history of IWD and how, as a group, we strive to make change for all women within GoCardless, for our peers and for our communities.
Taking our clothes donation drive global 🌍
We asked colleagues from our offices across the world to donate their no-longer-worn clothes to local charities. For many women, the first step to getting work is simply having a suitable outfit to wear to job interviews. So, in London and Melbourne, we collected interview-appropriate women’s clothing, shoes, coats, and accessories for Smart Works (🇬🇧) and Fitted For Work (🇦🇺). We also partnered with WeWork in Paris to collect clothing for Emmaus, a homeless charity, and collected clothing donations in San Fran for La Casa De Las Madres, who support local women and families that have fled domestic violence.
The path to women's equality has been long and challenging. IWD has shed light on gender inequalities since the early 1900s and has created an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements. But, there is still a lot of work to do.
Existing inequalities have been further exacerbated in the last few years alone as women fared far worse from the indirect consequences of the pandemic.
In the social and cultural spaces we occupy and the communities we influence, we all have a responsibility to do better. There is a lot of learning (and unlearning) to do to make an impact on conscious and deliberate biases.
But breaking the bias is not just a task for women.
Here at GoCardless, we are always encouraging and empowering our allies across the board to help us challenge and speak up against biases in our communities, workplaces and places of education. We collaborate with our other employee resource groups, BEAM, Pride and Access to create an inclusive space to celebrate, support and empower all marginalised communities. And we’re excited for what’s to come.