CDPS embraces equity for International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a globally recognised day that celebrates women’s achievements and raises awareness of discrimination. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity. We’ve chosen today to launch our first gender pay gap report and have asked female staff to share how they feel working for the Welsh Government's Centre for Digital Public Services (CDPS) on International Women’s Day.
CDPS has been built on doing things differently. We have a joint-female CEO, Harriet Green, and Myra Hunt. They’ve job shared for the past twelve years and are examples of how women at a senior level can succeed. We’re also challenging the norms with forward-thinking policies such as our Period and Menopause Policy.
So, how do our female staff feel on International Women’s Day?
Joanna Goodwin, Head of User-Centred Design, shares her thoughts on being a female senior leader
When I was starting a family, there were no role models or women in senior positions that had young families. Many of the senior women I knew didn't have families or had taken a career break to have a family before returning to work and then making their career path. Neither of those worked for me and so I had an amazing mentor at the time (who was male) who helped me to work through it during pregnancy, maternity leave, and when I returned to work - helped me to work out that balance between having a family and being a present mum, and work. At CDPS we have senior women, including me, who work flexible hours - it is the first place I have worked where it feels more than possible but encouraged and celebrated. With a lot of women having to make the choice, I feel we've worked out how you don't have to choose.
Gemma Murphy, Communications Officer, shares the challenges of building a career as a working mum
When I joined CDPS I can say I lacked confidence and constantly second guessed myself. I didn’t feel successful as a working mum. I felt I was mediocre at both work and at home and believed that working mums had to make a choice: work or kids.
Working at CDPS has been a breath of fresh air. The flexible working policy is actively encouraged by senior members of our team and for the first time in my career, I really feel like I’m flourishing. I was able to attend my son’s nativity and sports day without the dread of feeling like I was letting my team down as one of the only parents. I'd never had a 'walking meeting' before and now they are a regular part of my week as I walk to and from school runs and dial into calls.
CDPS definitely likes to encourage breaking the 'norm'. Career progression is something I hadn’t really considered but the emphasis on work life balance and continual learning is inspirational. I’m being given opportunities such as talking at CIPR events (I’ve never been a member of a professional body before) and going on courses I had only ever dreamed about. I feel lucky to have such a supportive and encouraging employer and truly believe CDPS is an excellent example of an equitable employer this International Women’s Day.
Vic Smith, Service Designer, shares the importance of building working practices that will serve future generations
At CDPS we are busting the myth that the best work is done in an office environment between the hours of 9 and 5. As a team, we are open about what works well for us and our families, putting our mental and physical health front and centre of our working practices. This feels especially important as a mother of a teenage daughter. I want to role model a healthy approach to work, whilst also celebrating my career as a source of creativity and fulfilment. I feel privileged to work for an organisation that champions women in digital, design and leadership roles.
In Wales, we are proud to be building a society that will serve our future generations, and at CDPS we are creating a blueprint for what the future can look like for human-centred organisations. I am optimistic that our vision for the future of work will be the norm by the time my daughter enters the workplace.
Poppy Evans, Associate Delivery Manager, shares the importance of having female mentors at work
As a female starting a career in delivery management, I have been inspired by the female colleagues who surround me at CDPS. Having exposure to females who have experienced successful and interesting careers through challenging historic and traditional norms has enabled me to identify possibilities and goals I would not have previously thought were achievable or accessible to me.
Not only am I receiving exposure to these individuals, but I am also being directly supported and mentored by them and they are sharing their knowledge and expertise with me which is invaluable to me in my professional development. Starting a career is always challenging but having a supportive network of colleagues to assist you through your journey creates a productive and constructive environment to develop and progress and I have discovered this network at CDPS in my female co-workers and in the wider organisation.
Sophie Kyrantonis-Jackson, Executive Assistant to the CEOs, shares how women’s experiences are celebrated at CDPS
In a very long and varied working life, I have experienced many different working environments, predominantly with the male employees both outranking the female employees and with a considerable gender pay bias towards the male employees.
Despite equal qualifications, women were always treated as “less than.” I first noticed a difference in the early 2000’s working for a globally successful company who valued their female employees both for their work input and by the salary they were paid. There was still a gap, but it was shrinking. Fast forward to now and working for CDPS, it has been a joy to see how all the team are treated equally.
There is a wealth of experience for all to draw on from the incredible women who are part of the CDPS organisation with each and every one of them valued for their contribution to the amazing work CDPS do. It is a joy to be part of something that so clearly admires what women can bring to the workplace and treats us all with respect and recognition.
Alaw John, Welsh Language Translator at CDPS, talks about the pressure on young shoulders when starting a career in a world that often favours men.
As a female graduate, the idea of starting my career was enough to make my palms sweat. I studied journalism and enjoyed every second of it, but I had no idea which steps I wanted to take into the real world. That's when I had the opportunity to apply for a translation job with CDPS. I compare the organisation to a guardian angel. At a time when I felt lost in a world that seemed enormous, the organization grabbed me with both hands, and I haven't looked back since. From my first day back in August, I was welcomed by everyone, I was challenged with large pieces of work, and they valued my input in every meeting. They trusted me, right from the get-go. I have never experienced such value, appreciation or respect.
In a world that so clearly favours men, starting a career for young women is daunting. CDPS has proven to me that change needs to be made, it is time for other organisations to open their eyes to the world we live in today. I talk to friends who are also starting their careers, and it's clear CDPS is several steps ahead of their establishments. It’s a special feeling when you can be loud and proud about where you work. Every day, I come across a new reason to appreciate my role here at CDPS. I consider myself extremely lucky to be part of such a progressive and supportive organisation.