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Our Promise to Make Gender Balance a Priority

Category: Government, Equal opportunities, public sector, Inclusive Leadership, Gender representation, Department for Work and Pensions, Gender balanced workforce, Careers in Digital Technology, Gender Lead roles, Digital network, Women in Digital

gender focus


Rowen-Gender Lead, DWP Digital

As Gender Lead for DWP, and particularly because my role is aligned in DWP Digital, I’m delighted that we’ve signed up to the Tech Talent Charter (TTC) for the third year running.

The goal of the charter is for the UK tech sector to become a diverse and inclusive community where people from all backgrounds are welcomed, listened to and valued for their contributions. This mirrors our aim in DWP Digital to be as diverse as the customers we represent.

Although, the number of women holding digital roles in DWP Digital has increased, there’s still lots of work to be done to attract women to technical and leadership roles as we continue delivering our department-wide commitment to gender parity.

Making a pledge of inclusion through initiatives like the Tech Charter is definitely a positive step forward.

Reflecting on the last year

Taking on the DWP Gender Lead role in May 2021, supporting our Chief Digital Information Officer, Simon McKinnon, in his role as Gender Champion for DWP, presented a great opportunity and exciting challenge for me.

It’s been a busy time for us, as we aspire to increase female representation in digital roles and achieve a more gender balanced workforce across the department.

Some of the initiatives we’ve implemented include:

  • In DWP Digital we recently launched our new cohort of Digital Voices, this award-winning programme is now in its fourth year and helps support women in tech careers build confidence.
  • Our Women in Digital network is going from strength to strength and has been recognised through a shortlisting in the Computing Women in Tech Excellence Awards 2021 in the Diversity Employer of the Year category.
  • Across the department, our series of Women into Leadership conferences: 352 women across DWP have now participated, exploring how they can enhance their skills to become the leader they aspire to be. We continued these despite lockdown restrictions, running two virtual events.
  • The Springboard Leadership Programme: 62 women participated in a developmental programme, which aims to empower women to think with a new perspective about their development. This led to them gaining an Associate Institute of Leadership and management qualification
  • The Crossing Threshold Programme: we sponsored 18 women in Senior Executive Officer roles to take part in this year-long development programme aimed at women looking for progression within the Civil Service.
  • Using the Applied digital platform in DWP Digital recruitment campaigns to remove unconscious bias from initial job applications

With so much great activity taking place, it was amazing for our achievements to be recognised by winning the Best Public Sector Employer category at the Women in Tech Employer Awards in December 2020. DWP has also been listed in the Times top 50 Employers for Women for the third year running, which is a fantastic achievement. And over the last five years, representation of women at Senior Civil Servant level has increased from 39% to 50%.

Looking forward

Our diverse workforce consists of people with various and multiple characteristics and backgrounds, which enable us to create a workplace where people can be part of networks, where they can thrive and feel supported, regardless of their gender.

We’re currently refining our gender strategy plan, our priorities, vision and our intersectional approach for the year ahead. We’re looking to use technology, information and feedback from our colleagues to enable us to make informed decisions around our future initiatives accordingly.

I’m proud to be involved and contribute to the vital work that looks at everything through an inclusive lens. Working alongside members of our DWP communities and networks such as Women in Digital, our Diversity and Inclusivity Champions and cross-government, it’s great to see the passion and enthusiasm that our colleagues have.

DWP Digital Careers and Digital blog

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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