Version 1 celebrate International Women’s Day

  • International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.

    IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 being supported by over a million people.

    This year’s theme is centred around gender equity which is not about treating men and women the same regardless of individual needs; it is about treating everyone fairly, regardless of gender.

    At work, fairness between employers and employees includes mutual trust and respect, positive interpersonal relationships and clear and open communication – which is the premise of the Great Place to Work Rankings. Best Workplaces ™ for Women have made it a priority to strive for gender equity, which is reflected in the practices organisations implement and in what their employees say.  

    Version 1 was named a Best Workplace™ for Women 2022 By Great Place to Work® for Ireland, UK and India, and in 2023 they have already notched 2 recognitions under their belt being named a Best Workplace™ UK for Wellbeing by Great Place to Work® and a Best Place to Work™ UK By Glassdoor. 

    While Version 1 are proud to have been placed across India, UK and Ireland, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Manager, Chloe Gillard says there is still work to be done: “Achieving these accolades is great in ensuring the work we are doing is considered to be making a true systemic difference, and something that isn’t achieved easily.”

    She continued: “We continue to put a focus on our women, shining a spotlight on the great work they do, but also ensuring that we are changing the system to ensure that it best suits their needs. Last year we launched a new Reproductive Health policy that gives support to those who need some extra support in starting a family, and launched a suite of Menopause Support but there continues to be much more we can do. As an organisation, we know that the Tech Sector is historically unequal from a gender perspective, and we are committed to being at the forefront of that change.”  

    RELATED: Version 1’s Uzma Ahmed’s post-pandemic career switch

    To mark International Women’s Day, we caught up with some of Version 1 Belfast’s brightest women to get some insights into their personal experiences as part of  Version 1’s Women In Tech..

    Emma Taylor is an Azure DevOps engineer, who was inspired to join Version 1 from observing their strong company culture. She explained: “We have a solid focus on building a positive and supportive work environment for Version 1’s employees as well as many opportunities for career growth. I was lucky enough to move from a Java Developer role into a DevOps role after one year at the company which has really broadened my technical skillset”.

    After over 4 years working in the tech industry, Emma says that it’s such a diverse community due to the endless areas to explore career-wise. She advised: “Determine your interests and strengths and focus on those areas that align with your passions. Once you’ve done this, keep developing those skills through certifications or personal projects - the tech industry is constantly evolving so it’s essential to stay up to date! And lastly, just go for it, you won’t regret it!”

    Moreover, Emma specifies that Version 1 is dedicated to promoting gender diversity and they understand the value in having more women in the industry. She said: “Version 1 have several initiatives and programs aimed at promoting gender diversity and empowering women in technology.

    For example, we have a WIT network that provides a platform for women to connect, share experiences, and support each other. We host regular events and activities that are designed to promote networking, career development, knowledge-sharing and of course, some fun! Last year we had a paint & prosecco evening for our WIT group in Belfast where we discovered some talented artists within the company!”.

    Diversity is something that Emma says has been more prominent in the industry as it evolves to become more inclusive. “There has been a growing emphasis on hiring a diverse workforce in the tech industry” she explained. “Companies are increasingly recognizing the benefits of having a diverse team, including increased creativity, innovation, and productivity.

    “Many tech companies have implemented initiatives to increase diversity and promote inclusivity within their organizations. This can include things like unconscious bias training, diversity recruiting programs, and employee resource groups.

    “There is still a lot of work to be done to make the tech industry more inclusive, but there has been progress in recent years, and many companies are making a concerted effort to create a more diverse and inclusive culture.”

    Although Emma has plenty of positives to speak about for the industry, she explains that it might not always be smooth sailing if you want to reach your maximum potential. She said: “In tech, it's important to be willing to take risks and try new things, but it's also essential to accept that failure is an inevitable part of the process. Embracing failures as learning opportunities is essential to grow and succeed.”

    For any aspiring tech leaders, she offered this piece of advice: “As a tech leader, you have the opportunity to mentor and support others in the industry. Cultivating a culture of mentorship and being a positive role model can help you develop your leadership skills and make a positive impact on the industry.”

    RELATED: Interview - Q&A with Version 1's Ellie Macbeth

    Next, we spoke with Aimee McKendry, who works on Business Systems Integrations at Version 1 Belfast. Aimee joined in July 2021, entering her role with a non-tech background. “I thought this industry was just for people who could code or those who were computer savvy but there are so many other opportunities available”, she said. “I think it’s important to break the bias that tech is only for those with a computer background, we can do this by reaching into schools and colleges and showing students the opportunities available in this industry.”

    Speaking about the women in tech group at version 1, she said: “It allows women the opportunity to engage with one another in a safe place where they feel comfortable to share. The group also offers women support and advice.”

    The group holds events both internally and externally, including several conferences and award ceremonies such as Women in tech makers and the Women in Tech awards.

    Aimee said: “We celebrated International women’s day in the office alongside a local school, we had a Drink and Draw event, Panel Event, Lunch N Learn, End of Summer social in association with Women in Tech NI and we held a work experience in our office for two days with a local school.”

    The tech industry is still significantly male-dominated but Aimee explains how women are moving towards an increasingly diverse sector. She said: “I have had the privilege to work alongside some amazing women internally and externally who are paving the way for change in allowing this industry to be more inclusive.”

    Version 1 are continuing their growth within our Tech Sector, with numerous open roles that are both tech and non-tech focused.

    Version 1 are proud to announce that they have achieved the following accolades:

    • #1 Best Workplace in Ireland by GPTW
    • Best Workplace for Women Ireland 2023

Share this story