“Keeping It Real” with Rise’s Carrie Wootten and Tanya Rai – listen in to the podcast

Rise is dedicated to championing gender diversity across the media technology sector. But what does this mean in terms of the challenges faced by individuals, organisations and the whole sector; and where are we in terms of progress?

Listen to the latest insights from Rise’s Carrie Wootten when she joined the inimitable Tanya Rai, founder of Diversity of Me, Marketing & Comms Manager at Pebble and Rise mentee alumnus and board member in March 2023 for her “Keeping It Real” podcast. In this episode, they discuss that:

1. Gender diversity isn’t “sorted” – and it’s still a huge challenge

When attending events, you can see that the industry isn’t there yet in terms of diverse gender representation – it’s still a predominantly male environment. Anecdotally, Carrie has heard from many women that they still feel like outsiders when attending events such as trade shows and conferences. This manifests itself in several ways, such as hearing from all male panels through to being ignored or dismissed on floor shows by exhibitors – and worse still, incidents of sexual harassment have also been flagged. If true change is going to come, women need to feel a safe, welcome environment – meaning there’s a real need to see and hear from more women at events.

Rise is still hearing stories about inequalities in pay, such as women being given promotions and new job titles without matching this with pay rises. This, coupled with issues such as having to fight to get their voices heard in meetings means that the workplace can still be perceived as a non-inclusive environment.

2. It takes investment to bring about change

It takes “time, money and people to shape change”. This can be easier said than done, especially when the industry is going through tough economic times. As companies look to cut costs, investment in EDI can be seen as an expenditure that can be cut. However, this needs to be balanced against the significant research that having a diverse workforce has a positive impact on a company’s bottom line and its ability to innovate.

Carrie also highlights that Rise’s work depends entirely on industry support – and how Rise partners are providing crucial funding to bring about positive change across our industry as a whole.

And it’s not just money – it’s investment in time too.

Allowing employees (both women and men) the time and space to help champion gender diversity is also essential. This can take many forms; from giving them the time to become mentors and offer their support to others, through to accessing mentoring themselves. It also loops back into challenging the status quo at events, and encouraging female employees to attend, actively participate and speak at industry events.

3. Positive change is happening

It’s not all doom and gloom though, as there’s definitely positive change occurring! Carrie highlights that in the past few years, conversations around gender diversity have fundamentally changed. There has been a significant shift from the “why” to the “how”, with a recognition of the benefits of EDI and that change needs to occur to address challenges around diversity and inclusion.

And what’s more, there’s an army of people championing gender diversity, including male allies. Carrie also highlights that Rise is creating an amazing cohort of mentees; and that hundreds of women who have been through the programme have created an incredible support network and a group that’s got each other’s back. And with mentee alumni using industry events to catch up, women are becoming more visible at events, with Carrie anecdotally recognising there’s now longer queues at the ladies toilets at events; something we never thought we’d ever be celebrating!

Listen to the podcast

We’d like to thank Tanya for letting Rise be part of her podcast series. You can listen to the episode – and other episodes with inspirational women from across the media technology sector by tuning in via Spotify and Apple Podcasts

You might also be interested in

The Rise Mentoring Programme. This is open for applications until 14 April 2023. If you’d like to apply for this free 6 month career development support and build your professional networks, visit our Rise Mentoring page