A prominent tech businesswoman says bringing more women into the sector is just the start if businesses hope to be at their best.
Cathie Hall is director of customer experience at Chester-based data intelligence specialists GBG, which helps organisations to make decisions about the customers they serve and people they employ.
Speaking ahead of International Women’s Day, she told BusinessCloud: “You need a really diverse workforce and diversity at every level of your organisation.
“Technology’s got something for everybody. If you’re recruiting with diversity in mind then you’ll get creativity and innovation, and you’ll get all the skills you need to deliver that technology successfully to businesses and consumers.
“Our three latest senior recruits have been women from different backgrounds and different parts of the world. It’s not just about gender; it’s about having diversity.”
Hall has previously held positions as an operations director, managing director and chief executive. She said that in her experience, being female had not made her achievements more difficult than those of her male counterparts.
“I’ve not found any issues with that in my career,” she said. “I’ve had loads of supportive mentors who’ve been both male and female.
“I’ve also gone out there and worked hard, rolled my sleeves up and proven myself. I think you need to do that no matter who you are.”
Despite her own experience, Hall believes that there is more to be done to get women into tech.
“We need to do more to get women into roles in technology, and improve the understanding that there’s a big variety of roles in tech,” she said.
Hall cites Labour MP Margaret Beckett as an inspiration. After hearing of Beckett’s career, Hall said she changed her mind about positive action which makes it easier for women to enter traditionally male-dominated industries.
“Prior to hearing her speak I would have been against it – but that process has brought more and more female MPs into Parliament,” she said.
“It became the norm and eventually you don’t need the shortlist and the quotas because that’s just what happens. That changed my view on women in tech.”
She believes that positive action is important to cultural change but that hard work and enthusiasm for your career should be responsible for success.
“Like in any career, the more you put in the more you get out. The more passionate you feel about it, the easier it is to be excited about getting up and going to work every day, which is important to us as a species.
“Work is something we’re hardwired to do.”