International Women’s Day is something dear to our hearts at Timely. The theme this year is #BeBoldForChange: a call to help forge a better, more inclusive working world. One that supports diversity, and equality, and makes room for us all.

International Women’s Day is a celebration of women who have paved the way to progress, and who have spoken out and fought for a more equal society. However, it’s also a day that can bring us face to face with the inequalities that continue to hold us back as individuals, companies, industries, and societies.

We’ve been having a lot of conversations about this as Timely grows.

About the importance of making conscious hiring decisions.

About the importance of creating a culture where women feel empowered, comfortable, safe, heard and valued.

About the importance of consolidating and explaining our values, so that we can live by them.

“Each one of us — with women, men and non-binary people joining forces — can be a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity,” says the International Women’s Day website. “Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.”

Diversity is vital in all industries and is a discussion that everyone needs to be a part of.

International Women’s Day (IWD) isn’t just a celebration of women. It’s a chance to or continue conversations around some of the issues faced by women and minorities in certain industries. Timely, being a fast moving tech company, holds a responsibility for ensuring we are creating a safe and inclusive workplace. IWD is a chance for us to join the discussion on diversity in tech, with a view to ensuring that this is a starting point for change.

Having a diverse workforce, executive team and board is not only about doing the right thing. It’s good for a company’s bottom line.

A recent worldwide study found that having at least a 30% representation of women in leadership roles across a company increased revenue by more than 6%.

Ensuring you have diversity company-wide means you bring different views, opinions and ways of thinking to decision making — giving your businesses a creative edge. For us, being in Tech, it means in a nutshell, diverse teams build better products.

Cecelia Herbert, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Google (APAC), illustrated this beautifully in a talk she gave at Semi-Permanent in 2016.

Slide from Cecelia Herbert's talk on why diversity is important in the workplace. The highest performers don't make a great team, but a group of people with different complementary skills does.

Heidi Renata from Innov8HQ (the first woman founder of a co-working space in New Zealand) believes that women bring a dynamic flair to STEM industries. “Moving forward, this flair will be increasingly important, and will be a competitive advantage for businesses.”

Ian Taylor, the founder of computer graphics company Animation Research Ltd., says that in his experience, it’s been hard to find women to fill tech and programming positions at his company, despite reaching out to them.

He believes IWD, and similar events, are vital for showing women that they’re appreciated, valued and crucial in the tech industry.

“It’s about sending a message to young women that there is plenty happening in the tech world and there is a role for them, and it’s very valuable. We need them.”

Taylor believes the tech industry needs to be focussed on diversity.

“Women and diversities bring a different perspective to the industry that is very valuable. Discussions are different. It’s not just about men vs women, either. For those working at the cliff-face of the industry, there should be no distinction —  it’s just about being good at your job.”

Knowing that Timely has my back means that my workplace is a more supportive environment for me. Working remotely and having work/life balance at the centre of our values means I’m able to have a kickass career, contribute fully, feel valued, and be the mum I want to be.

International Women’s Day is a celebration of women, but also a celebration and conversation starter about why diversity is a necessity. For businesses, and for societies.

This year, we wanted to take the conversation outside of Timely. We contacted some of our peers in tech and asked each of them three questions about what they’ve observed and experienced, and what keeps them in tech.

Let’s keep the conversation going. #womenintech