Daisy Radford, is BAE Systems Head of Operations and Delivery APAC, where she leads a team of programme managers, engineers and software developers in delivering communication intelligence and cyber defence capabilities.
Being the minority in any situation normally causes challenges, but I’ve found that it can also create opportunities. For example, making an impact can be easier as you tend to approach a problem in a different way from how the rest of the team have interpreted at it.
That’s certainly not to say that challenges don’t exist. Whether it’s being belittled, left out, or met with suspicion, I don’t know any leading women in male-dominated industries that haven’t had to adopt clever coping strategies in order to progress their careers.
We’re strongly committed to supporting diversity. We’ve seen first-hand that diversity delivers excellent results both in terms of ways of working and the quality of output.
As a leading engineering organisation, we recognise our responsibility to encourage more women to spend their careers’ in this vital industry. This has led us to encourage more school girls to study Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths; support our employees with strong female role models and mentors; and ensure our working environments recognises and supports diversity.
The first thing I would say is – it’s not easy! Small differences can make a big impact but to truly create a more diverse and inclusive culture, unconscious biases need to addressed continuously.
The tone needs to be set from the top – behaviours, policies and investment. This tone needs to give confidence to rest of the organisation to foster a working environment where networks aren’t just for those able to drink late into night, where sexist comments are called out, and where succession planning generates a diverse talent pool.