International Women’s Day 8 March 2019 | Emily Foges
Women make up just 16.3% per cent of CEOs, and this number shrinks even further when analysing the continually male dominated technology sector. In the UK, only 17% of employees within this field are women. However, I’m proud to say I make up part of this shockingly low figure, although this hasn’t always been the case. Upon graduating from university, I embarked on my first job, beginning my career as a fashion buyer, in a small and fairly young company. At the time, this bucked the trend because it wasn’t consultancy or accountancy, or the dreaded data entry. However, it was the best decision I ever made. It taught me how to pioneer a start-up, and is still helping me to this day, as the CEO of Luminance. From day one, everything I did made a difference and because of this, the same notion applies for my new graduates at Luminance. I learnt first-hand what drives success and failure, and most importantly, it taught me valuable lessons about the dangers of scaling up and how hard it is to hold onto the essence of a business that made it so great in the first place.
Luminance itself is predominantly made up of women, reinforcing the view that successful companies don’t always need to have men in roles of authority. That’s not to say that the tides should completely turn; the person that’s the best one for the job is always the right pick, whether male or female. However, as a mother of three young daughters, I hope that they will grow up knowing that the opportunities out there are endless and are not defined by your gender. This ethos needs to be embedded right from the start. Young girls should not be afraid to select STEM subjects as part of their education, standing them in good stead for exploring traditionally male centric career paths. Case in point is Luminance; one of our software developers, Catherine Bowden, is developing the end-to-end algorithm pipeline.
As someone who works long hours with a young family at home, I appreciate the struggles that many face when trying to juggle the work/life balance. The technology that Luminance deploys can help these parents, whether mum or dad, in time-intensive roles. I know, from first-hand experience, that as soon as these parents walk through the doors at home, they will be met with a barrage of questions, cuddles, arguments to resolve along with paintings and music recitals to admire. Luminance reduces the tedious and time-consuming tasks, like document review, freeing up time and energy for these precious moments at home. I know just how important that is and I am proud, as a woman working alongside like-minded women, to be able to lead a company that facilitates that.
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