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Passing the microphone and amplifying female voices at xDesign

When it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion, we focus on ‘deeds, not just words’. We’re always seeking opportunities to amplify equity issues in the workplace through the sharing of stories, introduction of initiatives, and most importantly via the taking of action.

We certainly don’t believe in ticking boxes and fully believe that an inclusive and diverse workplace benefits both the team and the business - particularly when it comes to employee satisfaction, innovation and financial performance.

We’re proud that 35% of our engineering team already identifies as female - it would certainly be interesting to compare this to industry averages. However, we’re not about to rest on our laurels as there’s still more to do.

Holding up a mic to amplify diverse voices

One way we’ve been taking action is through regularly holding a mic up to the talented women in xDesign, and giving them a platform to share their experiences and inspire the next generation of tech talent. So it was only fitting on International Women in Engineering Day that several of our female engineers hosted a panel, discussing various topics like:

  • Their journey into tech

  • What advice they would give their younger selves when starting out in their career

  • Ways in which the industry can support the next generation of women in / into tech

The panel was hosted by our senior talent acquisition partner, Parul Singh, who joined us earlier this year and has played a key role in recruiting many of our experienced engineers. Parul was joined by Iris Winter, Harshawn Grewal, Emma Chee, and Laura Brewis, from both our frontend and backend engineering teams.

Here’s what they had to say…

There’s no ‘wrong’ path

A common thread from all of our panellists was that engineering was never a profession they had initially considered. For Iris and Harshawn, it was something they described as ‘falling into,’ through learning from peers or going on to study more about the inner workings of computers.

Emma and Laura’s journey both started at university, with Emma turning to coding to bring designs to life, and Laura switching degrees from maths to computer science.

Put simply, there isn’t one track that any of our female engineers took - they all followed their own unique path.

Inspiring the next generation via good comms

During the session, Laura shared that good communication was one of the main factors she thinks the tech industry should consider when looking to retain women in engineering. This includes providing a safe and open working environment where women can raise important issues without being judged.

Changing perceptions of what fields females and males primarily work in from a young age is another key area shared by Iris that needs to be considered by all to ensure diversity and inclusion in the engineering workplace. By creating awareness of different areas within the industry, this will give greater accessibility to a range of roles and allow women to feel that they not only belong but also add value.

Finally, the team looked back at the days when they started out in engineering with Harshawn and Emma sharing key advice they would have given to their younger selves, these included:

  • Have confidence and believe in yourself

  • It’s okay to not know all the answers

  • Ask questions and take in others ideas to arrive at your own opinions

We are extremely proud to celebrate all of the women who contribute massively to xDesign’s continued success. In particular, we’d like to thank Parul, Iris, Harshawn, Emma and Laura for sharing their experience and insights, which we hope will continue to motivate other women into digital engineering.

Watch a snippet of the full discussion here.