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Sheree Atcheson - We need to challenge the bias

  • #diversity
  • #inclusion
  • #employees
  • #poodcast

Published byIRIS Team

Sheree Atcheson is one of the UK’s most influential women in technology. She’s a multi-award winner for her work on equality and diversity, a published author, and a keynote speaker. Her chat with Tom on this episode of the IRIS Pod covers topics such as increasing inclusion within the tech industry in terms of gender, disability, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status as well as challenging the egos of those behind the development of new technologies.

Check out some of the highlights below… 

We have seen a huge increase in demand for flexible working practices, but it isn't a new phenomenon, people with disabilities have been asking for it for years.

‘People like to say they are empathetic but the truth is that most are only empathetic with people they identify with’.

This can lead to a disconnect between employer and employee, as employers struggle to identify the barriers that some people face.

‘Technology allowed us to pivot almost overnight when the pandemic hit’ 

It was assumed that everyone was fortunate enough to have access to it. This wasn’t true. Furthermore, we need to ensure that people know how to maximise its capabilities to make it accessible to those with different needs.

‘When people ask me what my job is, I always say it's to put friction into decision making at its most basic level’. 

Too often we see marketing campaigns that have backfired because someone didn’t put the brakes on and thoroughly think things through. This can be said for anything - ‘one of the biggest problems I have with the tech industry is the overwhelming ego that exists, especially from founders’.

‘We need to challenge the bias and remove the discriminatory measures that exist’ 

We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of women recruited into the tech world, but it needs to go further than that. We need to support women after they’ve made it and remove the barriers that exist throughout their career. 

Not getting a diverse range of candidates for your job application? That sounds like a ‘you’ problem. 

Employers often need to re-think how and where they advertise roles in order to ensure they are selecting from the broadest talent pool.

‘Practise the principle of patience’ 

Recruiting the right person takes time. We also assume that because people are at a senior level within a company, they will have good interview technique. But assumptions are riddled with bias.

Key moments

  • 01:55 | We have seen a huge shift in the amount of women in tech-based roles, but now we need to see more women hired at a senior level.

  • 03:37 | When flexible working is done with nuance, it works better than anything that's static.

  • 05:29 | Flexibility in working practices isn’t a new phenomenon. People with disabilities have been asking for it for years.

  • 07:36 | People like to say they are empathetic, but the truth is that most are only empathetic with people they identify with.

  • 10:13  | Technology allowed us to pivot almost overnight, but how do we ensure that it is accessible to people with different needs?

  • 18:18 | One of the biggest problems I have with the tech industry is the overwhelming ego that exists. Especially when it comes from founders.

  • 19:16 | Too often we see campaigns that have backfired because someone didn’t put the brakes on and thoroughly think things through.

  • 25:13 | It's not just about recruiting more women in technology, it’s about supporting them after they’ve made it.

  • 28:47 | Not getting a diverse range of candidates for your job application? That sounds like a ‘you’ problem.

  • 30:29 | Practise the principle of patience. Finding the right candidate is worth the wait.

Watch full podcast here.

Find Sheree on her website, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.