Helping improve equality in the tech industry
It’s no secret that unfortunately female students and employees are under-represented in STEM-related fields worldwide. The IT domain is no exception.
The gender divide limits the recruitment pool of qualified tech professionals, preventing the entire tech industry from keeping up with rising demand. Companies with low rates of diversity in their teams tend to have lower profits and long-term value. Besides, because of disparity, digital technologies risk being gender-biased.
Gender equality drives innovation. There are a lot of studies proving that. Diversity of thinking makes for a better team, one that is capable of solving problems faster, maintaining high levels of productivity, thinking outside the box and ensuring sustainable growth. So as an impact-driven enterprise from day one, we wanted all that for our business and for the entire Ukrainian tech industry likewise.
When we just started Beetroot nine years ago, the overall gender ratio in the Ukrainian IT industry was almost 92 % men vs. 8 % women. Can you imagine? This number grew considerably over the years — women’s share in 2020 reached 25 %. And that’s a great achievement. But there’s still a way to go to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in Ukrainian Tech.
«Gender equality drives innovation. There are a lot of studies proving that. Diversity of thinking makes for a better team, one that is capable of solving problems faster, maintaining high levels of productivity, thinking outside the box and ensuring sustainable growth. So as an impact-driven enterprise from day one, we wanted all that for our business and for the entire Ukrainian tech industry likewise.»
Andreas Flodstrӧm, Co-Founder and CEO of Beetroot
Furthermore, in Ukraine, women earn on average 23 % less than men. The upsetting statistic gets worse when we look at hours spent on unpaid domestic chores: on average 29 hours per week for women vs.15 hours per week for men. Women also spend on average 49 hours per week on unpaid childcare, while men only dedicate 22 hours per week to such tasks.
We want to change that.
РІШЕННЯ ПРОБЛЕМНОЇ СИТУАЦІЇ
The IT sector is one of the top drivers of Ukraine’s economic growth. The average tech salary in tech is almost six times higher than the national average. We believe that by engaging more women in IT, we can decrease the average pay gap and eventually close it.
However, we deal with tectonic shifts when it comes to gender equality. That’s why we approach our impact in this area with a long-term perspective. Among the major ways for us to deliver gender equality are the following:
Incorporating gender equality into our business strategy and organizational culture:
Non-hierarchical organization creates more opportunities for professional growth.
Flexible working hours and acceptance of Work From Home (WFH) enable more family-friendly work arrangements and helping improve the distribution of unpaid household work and childcare between men and women.
Standardized recruitment process prevents the possibility of implicit or explicit hiring bias and discriminating actions.
Using the «equal pay for equal work» approach.
unbiased admission and learning process in Beetroot Academy, active promotion of STEM to girls and women
Creating and support stand-alone projects and ongoing initiatives aimed to promote gender equality in the tech industry:
DEVCHATA is a series of online meetups aiming to become a creative space for people in tech to connect, share their experiences, and exchange ideas. While promoting women on stage is one of our main goals, DEVCHATA is open for everyone regardless of their gender or any other attribute. Since the end of 2020, Beetroot has organized 26 DEVCHATA meetups, featuring prominent female experts from Ukraine and worldwide. The project has brought together a community of 800 active members and is constantly growing. The cost of the project so far is around UAH 135,000.
WINGS is the project we implement in cooperation with Pact and the Government of Canada. It aims to increase the economic security of unemployed rural women. We’ve developed a special «Introduction to IT» course for this project providing scholarships for regular BA courses for the graduates of this course and other project beneficiaries. The initiative is currently in progress with the total cost to date having reached more than UAH 500,000. The course will help 144 women from Kyiv, Poltava, Lviv, and Kharkiv regions gain basic knowledge and skills for further education and career growth in the IT field.
Springboard to Equality. Implemented by UNFPA with the support of Sweden, this programme provides free tech training in the areas of QA, PM, HR, and Digital Marketing to women that are victims of gender-based violence. We’ve already launched 2 PM and 3 QA groups, 1 HR and 2 DM groups are launching soon. We expect to teach more than 200 women through this program by the end of May 2022. The cost of the project to date is around UAH 500,000.
РЕЗУЛЬТАТИ ПРИЙНЯТОГО РІШЕННЯ
Today, the Beetroot ecosystem comprises over 600 people and counting. Female consultants make up 42 % of our team. 54 % of our team coordinators are women, and so are 57 % of the Board. Moreover, the share of women among the Beetroot Academy graduates has grown from 41 % in 2020 to 57.7 % in 2021 (the number is expected to grow by the end of the year).
According to our rough estimation, more than 10 % of all women that started their careers in tech during the past year are Beetroot Academy graduates.
Beetroot was awarded a 2020 Top Employer prize by the Ukrainian Corporate Equality Index.
We’re proud of these milestones and continue to move forward with gender equality incorporated on both operational and cultural levels. Providing more opportunities for women in tech remains one of the strategic priorities of the Beetroot ecosystem. One of our goals is to reach gender parity in our team by 2030.