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Women in tech: what does it all mean?

Gemma Trebble
By Gemma Trebble | July 3, 2018

 

I ask myself that exact question all the time. Being a Principal Designer of customer experience at Barclays, my job is to look at our end-to-end service design across all of our channels, improving and developing digital banking so that it fits seamlessly around people’s lives. So that’s where I fit in to the world of technology. But there are also developers, testers, delivery managers and many more parts to play in what is in fact a vast area of expertise. And that’s the problem I have with the label ‘Women in Tech’. It needs to be broken down in order to help people understand what it all means. We should be explaining and demystifying the wealth of opportunities that technology has on offer so we can inspire in others the ambition and desire to pursue a career within it.

This is especially important for women, who may be put off by the stereotypical idea that working with technology is an emotionless, mechanical and more masculine career choice. Truth is, the culture of technology is changing, and we need more women to see and understand that. When you talk to the women at Barclays that deliver our technology platforms, you can see how passionate they are about people. That’s why I’ve always felt that it is important to have conversations with other women about what I really do. What my day is like, what my challenges are, what drives me and what I’m most passionate about.

I want to challenge the stereotypes that contribute to women feeling like a career in technology is not for them.

I have developed my digital design career at Barclays as , and even though they are a fantastic bunch to work with, I still felt I had to shout that bit louder to be recognised. The women in Barclays Digital are doing great work and we want our industry to know it. We wanted to share our experiences and expertise to empower, educate and inform.

In essence, we needed a forum. A forum where we could discuss challenges and share triumphs. We needed to identify with each other, support each other and learn from one other. To break down boundaries and interrogate labels and celebrate our achievements within digital and technology.

And so Rise Up was born.

I wanted to offer women a platform to share their stories, and to create a space for them to be themselves and relate to one another honestly and without the pressures of the corporate working environment. We attracted some amazing people too, including Barclays Director Hilda Jenkins who’s been a brilliant advocate and sponsor for everything we’ve been doing.

There was a broad spectrum of women in attendance, from senior directors to middleweights, juniors and even girls who about to graduate from high-school. But what struck me most was that, regardless of age or seniority, many of the challenges that our female speakers faced remained the same. It was hugely inspirational to hear how these incredible women overcame their own personal hurdles to get to where they are today, the honesty they brought to their stories genuinely connected with the audience.

I have to add that the support I have had from my manager and seniors at Barclays has been incredible, they are all for getting behind initiatives like this. It is Barclays ethos that has empowered me to seize this opportunity to make Rise Up happen and it is because of this that I am so passionate about progressing my career at Barclays as well as helping other women build theirs. I’m keen to promote the fact that Barclays is leading the way in supporting women to rise up and become leaders, to attract more ambitious women in to join our teams.

Technology in the financial sector is moving so quickly. We’re no longer assuming that people will put up with cumbersome technology and are now focusing more on human need and how everyday technology is shifting people’s mental models, changing lifestyles. So much of our focus now is aimed at helping our customers better understand their money in a rapidly changing world, so they can move forward with their ambitions. It’s a really exciting time to be involved.

What’s great about Rise Up is that it doesn’t just get us talking about the daily challenges and frustrations of being a woman in technology. It creates a dialogue and forum that helps unpack and demystify the industry for those looking to get in. And in doing so, showcases the vast opportunities that exists in technology and potential for women to really play a part in transforming the way we live and do business through technology.

To find out more about the vast range of digital and technology roles we have available at Barclays, visit www.jobs.barclays.co.uk/digital