International Women’s Day was first celebrated over 100 years ago shortly after the Suffragette movement took place. This year, the focus is on #PressForProgress where people are encouraged to progress the ‘gender parity mindset’ and bring communities together to become more gender inclusive. We wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate our diverse Memrise team, and share with you all how we plan to join in by making our pledge for the year!
One of our company values is Diversity. We pride ourselves in having a wonderfully diverse set of nationalities (more than 22) which brings a variety of cultures, languages, knowledge-sharing and ideas. Memrise strives to have an equal gender balance throughout all levels of the organisation.
We believe that it’s only fair that women are given the same opportunities and support to grow that men enjoy – we want our conversations to be influenced by representatives with as diverse a set of minds as possible! What’s more, we have a very equal split in our user base, and we focus on keeping our users in mind – from ideation through to delivery.
Our overall statistics are impressive – roughly 45% of our employees are female, and 42% of our managers are female, at different levels of the organisation. We are grateful for the high achieving women who have helped propel the company to where we are today.
In Engineering, we rose from 0% females in 2014, to 22% today. This is twice the UK average of 11% for 2017.
How did we achieve this?
So far we have focused on inclusive language in our job specifications – in an article by Harvard Business Review “Why women don’t apply for jobs unless they are 100% qualified”, it mentions that the top reason people don’t apply is “I didn’t think they would hire me since I didn’t meet the qualifications, and I didn’t want to waste my time and energy”. In our job ads, we have tried to encourage applications and reinforce that we don’t need someone to meet all the criteria to see their value, with phrasing like: “Ideally you will have some or all of the following” and “If you aren’t completely confident that you fit our exact criteria, please get in touch immediately. Humility is a wonderful thing and we’re not interested in hiring ‘rockstars’ or ‘ninjas’. And we’re at least as interested in character as in talent”.
What do our female ‘Memgineers’ like about working at Memrise?
“I like working at Memrise for the chance to impact a huge user base and to work with smart, talented people. I love hearing different languages around the office, and learning about different cultures. I think curiosity and inclusion are important here! Everyone is encouraged to speak up, regardless of gender, position, or background.”
– Chantel Spencer-Bowdage, Full Stack Software Engineer
What is it like being a mother at Memrise?
“As a mother of two sons both under the age of 10, I find working at Memrise a blessing. The flexibility I am given for school drop off times and work from home if I want to on the days when I need, when my kids are ill, is just great. I am able to bring my children into the office if necessary, and everyone is so friendly and respectful to a working mum. I think Memrise would be the last place on earth to practise any kind of discrimination against mums!”
– Tuba Demirel Sucu, UX Researcher
How do our engineers feel about gender diversity?
“The aim of our ‘Diversity as part of company culture’ initiative is not to create an undue advantage for women, but simply to remove barriers to a level playing field. The goal should always be to give everyone an equal chance regardless of gender. It would be equally demeaning to be promoted/hired just because you’re a woman as it would be to get rejected because you’re a man. We choose to hire women for the same reasons we choose to hire men, because they are good.”
– Beatrice Musca, QA Team Lead
“What I also LOVE about Memrise, is that since I have joined the company, I have never had the feeling of being seen as just a woman. I have only felt that I am seen as a developer.”
– Monica Curti, Android Team Lead
Our commitment this year is to #PressForProgress and be a role model for equality – we pledge to take a step back and understand how we got to these figures. We’re a data-driven company, and understanding this will help us give back to the wider tech community. We want to encourage more women and people of other gender identities to apply, and we also hope to see similar results across the industry. We’re excited to see what is yet to come in 2018!
*Statistics as of the 8th March 2018