designing for difference


Celebrating International Women's Day and Beyond

So far, our team is almost always over 60% female depending on which project we're working on. But today isn't just about balancing percentages, this year it's about "taking concrete steps to help achieve gender parity more quickly". A few years ago, the World Economic Forum compiled a Global Gender Gap Report Index. It sounds like a mouthful, and it is; they have almost a decade worth of data.

They're right about a lot, "People and their talents are the key resource that drives most economies; but the benefits of gender equality go beyond the economic case. Women are one half of the world's population. They deserve equal access to health, education, earning potential and political empowerment." And yet, this data-rich picture is incomplete.

With my fellow panelists at the International Women's Day Panel at HERA hosted by Imperial Business School, London.

With my fellow panelists at the International Women's Day Panel at HERA hosted by Imperial Business School, London.

Talking to HERA's Head of Comms & Fundraising

Talking to HERA's Head of Comms & Fundraising

In a way, every day feels like International Women's Day at nuanced. Our leadership is 100% female and we met at the first TransCode Hackathon. And even with these facts, it feels like many identities are left out on days like today. And that's not ok. Very little press coverage about #IWD2016 has referenced non-binary communities or how intersections of race and class play into the pace at which gender parity is achieved by different demographics. 

This year, nuanced is working closely with HERA. Over the weekend, I was invited to be part of their IWD Panel at Imperial Business School. I was surrounded by incredibly inspiring and accomplished peers and the event was an inclusive, safe space to address many of the issues highlighted by this year's IWD #PledgeforParity campaign theme. 

A little while ago, we met Dr Angela Martinez Dy, who uses an "intersectional feminist perspective to understand social dynamics, and the ways that technology impacts society, especially the world of work." Her insights into the assumptions we often make when when we refer to the internet as a neutral space feel analogous to the assumed dichotomy of 'male' and 'female' identities when referring to gender inequality. The beauty of using an intersectional lens is that it allows us to go beyond these linear demarcations in the sands of identity. It's important for us to celebrate International Women's Day, whilst simultaneously challenging some of the ways in which it's marketed. This feels like the sort of solidarity that moves us forward, together without being oblivious to our relative privileges and differences.We're anxiously awaiting the publication of her most recent research later this year; ‘Women entrepreneurs and their ventures: complicating categories and contextualising gender.’ 

Entrepreneurship, like most occupations, is highly gendered, which means that it is inherently shaped by dominant concepts of femininity or masculinity. Women working in digital are therefore up against two substantial cultural barriers: we are not seen as entrepreneurial, nor are we seen as technologically savvy. But [..] we transgress the boundaries of what has been expected of us, and dare to imagine new futures.
— Dr Angela Martinez Dy

Working with HERA and promoting the work of the brilliant individuals who make up our community are some of the small ways in which we're pledging for parity. We'd love for you to join us by supporting HERA.


"HERA provides entrepreneurship training, professional mentoring and grants to women survivors of human trafficking, violence and exploitation. HERA’s programmes actively engage the business community, enabling vulnerable women to achieve economic independence.

Since 2010, HERA has awarded 132 grants totalling 70,000+ GBP. An estimated 500 young women have obtained employment and training through these investments. 360+ women have gone through HERA's entrepreneurship training and mentoring. In the past three years, 85% of these women have gone on to obtain employment or apprenticeships, enroll in college, university, or professional training, and/or start new ventures."

They're running a campaign this week to raise awareness and funds for the incredibly important work they're doing. 

HERA are always keen to hear from members of the business community. If you're a creative or don't self-identify as "tech", they want your help too! To contact HERA about volunteering and/or mentoring, follow them on twitter and message them via a DM.

"Your support helps launch ventures and career plans of many young women survivors."

Images are copyright of © Amber Macintyre