This article was written by CGI member Abbie Timms who joined CGI in 2018 as a graduate and now works as a Proposal Analyst for our Space, Defence and Intelligence business unit.
For me, the argument in favour of diversity and inclusion in the workplace is an easy one. It’s an opportunity to replicate the world and communities around us and give everyone the opportunity to be heard. People are comfortable bringing their whole selves to work, which promotes a sense of togetherness and allows ideas to flourish.
At CGI, we’re lucky in this regard. We’re not just one of those companies that says “we hear you” and then does nothing. We genuinely support, celebrate and listen to each other, and we’re constantly improving as a business because of that.
What that means is we practice what we preach: we have a variety of initiatives designed to support and connect all our employees (who we call ‘members’), including LGBTQ+ Allies, BAME, Part-time, Parent Community, Over 55s, Capability networks and many more.
In celebration of International Women’s Day today, I wanted to talk a little more about one initiative that’s particularly special to me: the CGI Women’s Network.
Raising up women at CGI
The reality is STEM is a male-dominated field. Women account for less than a third of all STEM employees globally, and there’s still a lot of work to do in promoting gender diversity within the workplace.
One of the ways we’re doing this at CGI is through our Women’s Network. The main drive of the network is to educate and support women within the company, so a big focus is on career development. CGI offers role-based training as well as generic training on topics like speaking with confidence and imposter syndrome – challenges that are shared by a lot of women.
The Women’s Network builds on this by doing events like our recent ‘Should I go for promotion?’ workshop, where members could listen to others who’d recently gone through the promotion process and ask questions about their experiences. We’ve also recently completed a series of Mindspan sessions, which is psychology-based training on understanding ourselves and how we work best. These sessions provided a great insight into both our self-development and career development.
More broadly, the Women’s Network is just a safe space where people can come together, celebrate each other's achievements and hear each other out. All members, regardless of gender, are encouraged to come along, ask questions and get involved in helping champion gender equality at CGI.
Building a community inside and outside the business
One of the highlights of the network for me has been the sense of community, and having the opportunity to talk to people from all walks of life. It’s such a hub of knowledge, ideas, backgrounds – everyone from graduates to people who’ve been with CGI for 25-plus years – and I can honestly say I’ve learned so much more from just talking to other people than I might have if I hadn’t joined the network.
We’re also doing work on awareness around period poverty and domestic abuse, going out to charities and local communities, making sure that women are being supported there too. Gestures like this can seem small at first. But the more work we do, the more our community grows. It’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of.
Helping move the needle for gender diversity in STEM
We’re fortunate at CGI to have a lot of strong and influential women in leadership roles. Coming in as a young graduate, it was reassuring to see women in those roles and I’ve spoken to others who feel the same. It shows that career progression is something anyone can achieve.
I think CGI is proof that STEM doesn’t have to be a male-dominated field. Through providing support and opportunities for women, gender diversity is not only possible, but also pivotal to building a successful business.
Wishing everyone a very happy International Women’s Day!