We still have a long way to go to reach equality in the UK. International Womens’ Day is a chance to highlight this, while also remembering that the fight for equality should not and cannot be limited to one day a year,but an ongoing process, acknowledged and pushed for every day.
You can’t be what you can’t see. That’s why we wanted to take this opportunity to put the focus on some of our talented women and their work here at DD. They work across departments ranging from development to design, senior management to HR. All of different nationalities, truly bringing the “international” to International Women’s Day.
This year’s IWD theme is “Balance for Better”. Here are some of our developers, designers and directors, sharing how they balance for better every day.
Charlotte Walsh, Co-founder & Director
Title: Co-founder and Director Time at DD: 5 years Nationality: New Zealand and British
What is balance for you? The word balance for me means harmony; It conjures up scenes of serenity, calmness and bliss. Balancing, on the other hand, conjures up the complete opposite; Rushing, multi-tasking and juggling. Being a working mum and balancing work and raising a family is an art. Joining Digital Detox made a huge difference to me as the company is very family aware and friendly.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you? International Womens’ Day means a lot to me. It makes me think about the women who saw injustice and confronted it, who paved the way and gave us what we have today — the suffragettes who fought for the right to vote, the pioneers who attended schools and universities and attained high positions in government and business; who worked towards equal pay, rights and treatment. I have tremendous pride in, and respect for, these women. I feel proud to be a New Zealander which was the first country in the world to give women the right to vote in 1893. I also think about the men who stood up for women’s rights and supported equality to make change happen. I think about how far we have come and how far we still have to go in the UK and in many other countries around the world to achieve complete equality.
Title: Full-Stack Developer Time at DD: 10 months Nationality: Italian/Argentinian
What is balance for you? Balance is a skill that allows me to maintain harmony in my work, relationships, and life in general. Such balance is deeply rooted in my body and has little to do with sophisticated philosophical frameworks. The art of maintaining balance is what I call “meditation”, and requires from me to be aware of the environment and the people around me, and be ready to untangle conflicts and solve difficult problems which sometimes require careful communication with several different people, but also a relaxed approach grounded on simple things, like keeping my desk clean.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you? A reminder that we still have a lot to learn from women, and the realisation that heroes don’t necessarily carry weapons, and success not always announced with fanfare. It’s also a reminder that we live on a time of great social imbalances and we should work to repair the relationships between men and women, particularly how women work is valued and our appreciation of the “soft skills” traditionally attached to women.
Who do you think is doing great work, either in your business or in the world in general?
I can quote a few names:
I follow Stephanie because she gives great insight into how to handle B2B relationships, work ethics, and how to detach from traditional gender stereotypes attached to women which don’t really help in a B2B environment. She is not just “a woman in B2B”, she has solid business advice to be taken into account regardless of your gender.
April Wensel is also a great example, she is the founder of Compassionate Coding, an organisation that aims to improve the software development workplace by making it more psychologically safe and flexible so people from diverse backgrounds can accommodate and contribute with enriching perspectives.
And I’m also a great admirer of Moira Millan, an activist and representative of the Mapuche people in South America. She has done a great work protecting local communities and trying to convey the relationship between society and nature as original local communities understand it, a relationship which seeks balance and social integration, aiming to develop a sustainable lifestyle that is good for all humans and not just a few. She has shown great courage in dangerous situations, and her message is very powerful, a tremendous feat by a woman having no academic background and very humble origins, embedded in a Western social environment where these attributes are usually disregarded or considered barriers for personal development.
Sara Traversari, Lead Designer
Title: Lead Designer Time at DD: 1 year Nationality: Italian
What is balance for you? I feel I have a balance when I have a plan that I can rearrange every time something unexpected disrupts it. I’m lucky enough to do what I love for a living, and I do it in a place where they really care about who you are, where I can re-balance the unexpected with the help of my colleagues.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you? IWD is an opportunity to remember that we are people first and that our differences enrich us. For women in particular, it is a day to reinforce the idea of supporting each other at work, encouraging the shyest of us to not give up and to face the obstacles that might hold us back.
Who do you think is doing great work, either in your business or in the world in general? I strongly believe that change comes from inside and that every person in her own network and environment can make a difference by advocating and behaving for equality. If I had to call someone out specifically I’d like to name Samantha Cristoforetti, a European Space Agency astronaut, Italian Air Force pilot and engineer.
Marisa Wheatley, Talent Manager
Title: Talent Manager Time at DD: 9 months Nationality: British & Australian
What is balance for you? For me, balance means knowing that I have the ability to truly switch off from work when I need to. I love my job, I love the people I work with, and I love being a position that allows me to support and empower them to achieve their best. But I also cherish my free time to pursue my interests outside of work. I’m very lucky that DD actively encourages me to take time away from work to focus on things that help me grow and develop as a person.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you? IWD is an opportunity to reflect on the amazing individual and collective steps women have taken towards making society more equal and diverse, be it at a global, local or family level. But it’s also about taking action to continue along the path towards equality in all sectors of society.
Who do you think is doing great work, either in your business or in the world in general? There are so many individual women and groups (and male supporters) who are doing great work to encourage women to achieve their best. I’m always encouraged that tech is at the forefront of this change, with so many young female leaders taking on leadership and mentoring roles in the industry. We’ve got a long way to go to achieve full equality and the benefits that will bring to everyone in society, but I’m inspired by the new generation of female tech entrepreneurs who see being a woman in tech as a badge of pride.