Her.Net puts gender equality at the root of STEM
Two years ago, a few tech enthusiasts from Deloitte Greece came together with the aim to inspire talented women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths-related (STEM) fields and enhance equality and gender diversity in the workplace. They became Her.Net, a community that now has over 100 ambassadors supporting both our colleagues and future talent.
As of 2020, fewer than a third of female students worldwide choose to study higher education courses in subjects like maths and engineering.
Efi Fetli, a talent acquisition consultant at Deloitte Greece, sees a high number of CVs, daily. But when recruiting for technology roles, her team noticed one thing the applications had in common.
“Most applicants were men,” she says. And the team soon realised it was the same story for many STEM vacancies.
“We saw an opportunity to help bring more of a gender balance to these roles, not just at Deloitte but across the sector in general,” explains Efi. That’s how Her.Net was born. A community of people – the group is open to all genders – who passionately believe women can and should aspire to rewarding careers in STEM.
And they’ve come a long way. This year, they were recognised at Greece’s inaugural Women Empowerment Awards for their work breaking down barriers.
Our new hires say…
“Μy participation in Her.Net activities was not only a rewarding experience but it also gave me the chance to meet inspiring individuals who are now among my most treasured co-workers at Deloitte.” Maria Aspa Stefadourou, software engineer, Deloitte Greece
“I am very happy for the opportunity Her.Net gave me to enter an environment of strong women who challenge me to always become better and better.” Konstantina Knikeli, functional consultant, Deloitte Greece
The community organises monthly events – talks from external role models and networking meet-ups – for the ambassadors. And they’re also spreading the message wider. Through volunteer activities with schools, universities and organisations, they’re showing that STEM is open to everyone, and aspirations can start at an early age.
“We know the gender gap begins while girls are still at school,” continues Efi. “If we can help them realise that working in technology is an option for them, and that there are opportunities out there, it will set them on a path to making it a reality.
“It’s not about forcing them towards a certain career, but letting them know that, if they’re interested, they shouldn’t be afraid of pursuing it.”
From Greece to global
Her.Net has teamed up with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the professional body for the engineering and technology community; Google’s Women Techmakers programme; the Board of European Students of Technology (BEST); and African EdTech organisation, Kabakoo Academies.
Kabakoo – which means ‘to wonder’ in the Bamanan language of West Africa – is a network of schools that spans the continent. It’s tackling youth unemployment by helping young Africans develop the innovation skills they need to be employable in their local communities.
Through the relationship with Her.Net, an all-women Deloitte team put on a virtual design-thinking workshop for a cohort of girls at Kabakoo. Sessions on CVs, interview skills and innovative technologies followed, and there’s more in the pipeline.
“Diversity always brings the best results.”
talent acquisition consultant, Deloitte Greece
Diversity benefits everyone
Creating a more diverse workforce is good for the firm, not just our people. “We believe that diverse minds – different ways of thinking, different backgrounds – are vital to fostering an effective working culture,” Efi continues. “Diversity always brings the best results.”
So far, three participants in Her.Net volunteer initiatives have secured roles in Deloitte Greece, hopefully paving the way for many more.
“Everyone involved in Her.Net acknowledges how rewarding it is,” says Efi. “I’m very proud of how much the community has grown and that we’re genuinely making a difference for women.”