There’s a strong global momentum striving for gender parity right now. International Women’s Day arrives at a very appropriate time – and it kicks off the campaign for the year ahead.
It doesn’t end with the day itself. In fact, it’s just the start. The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings tell us that parity is over two hundred years away, so there’s never been a time where motivation is more important.
At Ecotricity, we have some amazing women who, through their work, provide real inspiration to friends and colleagues to think, act and be gender inclusive. We spoke with Carly Hulme, Head of Functional Applications, about her role and what inspires her.
By Carly Hulme
In my 12 years here at Ecotricity, I’ve been through the ranks, from contact centre to meter management. I’m now Head of Functional Applications. My main responsibility is to lead a team of developers and analysts in the right direction. As well as that, I work very closely with our product owners and project managers on our nine main tech and transformation products to ensure that we’re doing the things that are required by the Ecotricity Group. Typically, this involves investigating standard behaviours and functionalities, which then allows us to make changes and deliver improvements to our customer journey.
The opportunity to take this role came with experience and striving to be involved in decision making – I worked my way up, grew in knowledge of Ecotricity and utilities, then during a restructure it seemed like a natural fit. I’ve always considered myself to have logical and problem-solving skills, and I take real happiness in “battle room style” fixing, so I jumped at the chance to work in a technology team.
There are many inspiring women in our society - including those who work here at Ecotricity. It gives me great pride to be surrounded by women who are kicking the butt of the gender stereotypes we experience today. It’s great that these stereotypes are gradually being addressed in the media too. Although it was a while back now, one of the most motivating adverts of recent times for me has got to be the “This Girl Can” advert for Sport England – which showed strong and powerful women doing what they do best, in what could be considered a typically man’s world. The most encouraging women for me are those that speak out for women and tell us that it’s going to be okay if we stand up for ourselves. A friend of mine recently published a blog post about how, you know what, it’s okay to go out as a woman and not be dolled up and dressed to the nines (perhaps even with some dandruff, etc.), because you are still powerful and you can still do whatever you want to do if you believe you can. Her posts have achieved over one million views, and she has featured in Forbes magazine – this is the empowerment that I am inspired by!
I aspire to be a role model for women, not necessarily in the job that I do, but in the way I approach it. But also in the way that I take on personal challenges too. I seek to be part of the next steps that my department is taking, and have my say. I have from time to time noticed that there is a lack of female presence in the technology industry – it’s a firm belief of mine that this is the fault of how we were encouraged as women growing up (in education and advertising specifically), where we weren’t necessarily stimulated to get involved in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. That said, I think that’s changing. The UK recently published its intent on banning adverts containing any gender stereotypes this year – finally, right?!
There are ways in which we can ensure that the momentum continues – challenging stereotypes and bias by questioning assumptions about women. We should always question any situation where we think that women are denied participation or an equal say. We need to influence others by supportively calling out any inappropriate behaviour, and we should celebrate women’s achievements by ensuring credit is always given for their contributions. The more we ask ourselves these questions, the sooner lasting change will come. Get involved and #PressforProgress. Together, we can make the world a fairer place.