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Break the Bias this International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day – a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This day marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. IWD aims to raise awareness against bias, be it in our community, at our place of education or place of work. Women are calling for a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.

Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field. We want to celebrate the achievements of one of our team, Developer Eliska Hutnikova, and learn what she believes we can do to #BreaktheBias

What is your biggest accomplishment so far?

I don’t have one  particular achievement, I often feel accomplished when I finish a big piece of complex functionality. I love to start with a task, freak out because it looks too difficult (!), then work on it for a while. Before long, it works beautifully and I have the satisfaction of knowing I completed it. It’s my favourite part of the job!

What advice would you give to young women trying to break into our industry?

I believe what we do shouldn’t just be for the young ones, I would absolutely love to see career-switching older women breaking in too!

I have two pieces of advice: First, try to find a truly supportive team – it is much more pleasant to be able to focus on technical challenges, rather than deal with office politics and have to prove yourself over and over. Second, find a topic, even a niche one, that you find interesting and learn it so in depth that other people start to ask for your help. It’s a nice ego boost when a super senior coworker asks you how to do something that comes naturally  to you!

Who inspires you and why?

Sandi Metz – she is an expert on object oriented design. She’s great at explaining the concepts in a way that is easy to grasp and she makes it super fun to learn from her.

How do you think we can help to break the bias that still exists in many workplaces?

I think it’s important to motivate people to learn more about bias and how it affects everyone. Having rules in place to systematically mitigate the usual inequities is also key; Fair access to high impact work should be given to everyone, every team member should have the opportunity to speak at meetings, code review process should be unbiased and a salary range should always be included in job postings so as not to disadvantage anyone in negotiations.

We all have a role to play in order to help make our workplaces more inclusive – it’s everyone’s responsibility to help break the bias.