After the controversy surrounding the Northern DEAs, we spoke to eJIGSAW Senior Developer, Laura Stewart about the awards and women in tech.
Well, we won! eJIGSAW recently attended the Northern ceremony for the 2017 Digital Entrepreneur Awards after being shortlisted for Digital Startup of the Year and we were absolutely delighted to take home the trophy. It should have been the highlight of my career, or so you would think!
Instead of seeing our name plastered positively all over social media and the DEA website, along with the other winners, our win was slightly tarnished following the backlash regarding the choice of entertainment on the night. In fact, the website is yet to show the winners of the Northern Awards at all.
From a completely personal point of view, as a woman and someone who has experienced severe gender discrimination in the tech industry first-hand, I can’t say I was overly offended by the half-naked dancers. I’m sure the organisers had the best of intentions and I’m 100% sure that no offence was meant by it. Also, I wasn’t offended by a large number of women attending the event who were dressed almost as provocatively as the dancers.
The ‘jokes’ made by the host strayed into inappropriate for the audience and considering he hasn’t yet, he should probably apologise for or at least acknowledge the offence he caused on the night.
However, enough of the negatives, to see the number of passionate, outspoken professionals who stood up for women in tech on social media and you can see that the scales are starting to be tipped in favour of women. The people of the industry definitely spoke up for us and it’s this reaction that gives me faith in the future of Women in Technology!
Additionally, what I’d like to do is take this opportunity to celebrate the number of women who attended the event, the women who walked up on the stage and the fact that, if we look closely, we can see evidence that times are changing in the tech industry. One of the first things I remarked to my fellow female developer when we arrived was “I love that there are so many other women here.”
I currently work for a team where there are more female developers than male, and where both women and men are equally celebrated and rewarded for their skills and abilities.
This time last year I was the only female developer in a team of more than 10 and one of the first to be made redundant when the company got into financial trouble, so I can tell you from my own experience that things are improving for women in the industry, irrespective of a poor choice of entertainment at one single awards ceremony.
If anything, this misjudgement made by the DEAs has only assisted in bringing awareness of an already important and topical issue within our industry to the fore!
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