It seems not a week goes by without a request for women to come and create a profile or add themselves to yet another database or a list so they can be more easily discovered. At last count, I have profiles on probably at least 10 different directories aiming to connect women with professional opportunities. I usually do ok initially with getting these profiles set up, but I inevitably can’t keep up with the maintenance required each time something changes with my career. I’m sure I’m not alone in this regard. What this results in is a string of incomplete and outdated profiles, each one only current up to the point it was created. Whilst this might serve as an interesting historical record of how my career has evolved over the years, it’s not particularly useful for being connected with relevant opportunities.
If I were regularly getting opportunities through any of these profile listings (as I do with LinkedIn), perhaps that would help remind me to keep my details up to date. But with so many directories of women to choose from, and the fact that they are only ever visited by people who already have gender diversity at the forefront of their minds, the odds of being found aren’t great.
Given the well-documented additional burden women face on the home front, is it necessary to also burden women in the professional realm by requiring they repeatedly keep re-listing their accomplishments in the hope that greater discoverability will advance their careers? What is the optimal number of directories a woman needs to list on before she can expect to get access to the same opportunities that men do? Is creating a new type of “women’s work” (i.e. constant profile creation and maintenance) really the best way to empower women?
Whilst the goal of making qualified women more easily discoverable is of course admirable, it simply isn’t fair nor sustainable to put additional burden on women to achieve this. In the age of data, it’s also unnecessary and inefficient for this work to be done manually. When the IC Global team set out nearly 3 years ago to create a directory of Australia’s research expertise, we took a very different approach by:
- Leveraging existing data to automate profile creation & maintenance (eliminating profile burden and ensuring data stays current)
- Engaging with over 70 partners from industry, research and government to create a single master directory (rather than add to the proliferation of fragmented lists)
- Embracing open data principles, so anyone can display expert profiles on their own website (maximizing opportunities for researchers to be found)
We also sought to take a balanced approach towards ensuring women could easily be found, but without completely segregating them from the broader marketplace for expertise. Launched on International Women’s Day 2019, the FindHer button on Expert Connect allows search results to be filtered to only show women from any field of research (it can be particularly interesting to toggle back and forth between searching for all experts and searching for female experts!).
Find and connect with over 5000 highly qualified women from all fields of research
After many years of hard work, the TechDiversity Awards gala dinner in Melbourne last night provided an opportunity for the team to pause and reflect on the journey to date (all whilst surrounded by 500 other passionate diversity advocates striving to make a difference). Winning the “Excellence in Government” category whilst being cheered on by many of our partners and collaborators was a fitting way to end the evening, and of course help build momentum for the global scaling to come.
As always, we are very open to ideas and suggestions about how to enhance the work we’re doing. We encourage any potential collaborators to get in touch, including those with:
- An interest in displaying researcher profiles on their own website
- Data to contribute or suggestions on additional functionality
- An interest in becoming an IC Global Ambassador to help get the word out