As a Microsoft partner, one of the key benefits is access to the events and conferences Microsoft host. We recently attended the TechHer event discussing gender equality, accessibility and allyship. Here at Beeta, we’re huge advocates of inclusion and working towards making the tech scene a more diverse industry, so we’ve put together a short blog highlighting the standout topics and overarching message.
Allyship: ‘How can women engage more allies in a male-orientated industry?’
First up, Allyship with Daniel Kenyon-Smith. We discussed the importance of becoming a united force in the fight for gender equality and how it is crucial for men to step us as allies to effectively accelerate change. Statistically, a diverse team is more successful so encouraging men to take an active part in allyship is in everyone’s best interest. Daniel explained how men should amplify, give and sponsor. In short, if a female colleague is being interrupted, interject – make sure their voice is heard. Women’s ideas and concepts can often be overlooked until suggested again by a man, which they are then often credited for. However, when a man takes an active part in allyship and endorses a woman’s idea, this fuels the momentum and ensures credit is duly given. This then raised the question:
‘How can I engage with male allies and establish the initiatives?’
The prominent response – inform. It is crucial to generate awareness and educate both men and women in the workplace on the issues surrounding unconscious bias and subsequently, the importance of removing barriers. Initiating open conversation and mentoring on the subject provides opportunity to answer any questions and to unearth and iron out any reservations with supported resources.
Accessibility: ‘Do you have an inclusion strategy?’
The next topic was accessibility, led by Sarah Prince and Suzie Miller. We discussed how you can make your business and content more accessible and how now, more than ever, it is essential to take accountability and employ inclusive methods. Due to COVID-19, most people are working remotely. Interaction is almost exclusively virtual and on the rare chance of a physical encounter, masks are an unforgiving barrier for those that rely on lipreading. Now is the time to take this as an opportunity to progress the industry standards for accessibility. Here are some tools and tips (brought to my attention by the speakers) that you might find useful:
- Translator app – This is a fantastic tool for communicating with a variety of groups. This app can be useful for multilingual individuals but also for those that are hard of hearing. It also has a feature that enables you to take a photo of text and it will read it out for you, which can be helpful for individuals with neuro-diversity conditions.
- Colour – What colour are your slides and visuals? Such a simple thing to adapt yet it can make such a drastic difference. Consider those that may be colour-blind and struggle to differentiate certain colours. Certain coloured backgrounds can also be preferential with individuals that have cognitive conditions like Dyslexia. – get to know your employees and find out what works for your team!
- Alt text – yes, good for SEO! However, for some these tags are a pre-requisite to accessing information. For individuals that are legally blind or have limited vision, alt texts provide descriptions of visuals via a screen reader.
We finished the workshop exploring how it can be daunting tackling diversity when you’re, ‘a small cog in a big machine’. However, just initiating conversations on the matter is a step in the right direction that can influence senior leadership. At Beeta, we are continuously learning and updating the ways we operate and will be proactively updating our strategy to incorporate some of the tips mentioned above.
The Beeta team thoroughly enjoyed tuning in to this event and hearing from many insightful speakers! If you’d like to get involved, you can register here: https://www.techher.uk/