Bias and representation, two of the barriers to women's career progression

14 March 2022

Afoma Ukah is an MSc Management of Information Systems & Digital Innovation Graduate, who is currently a Business Technology Analyst at Man Group. As part of International Women’s Day we asked Afoma a few questions regarding this year’s topic ‘Breaking the Bias’ and she gave us an insight into a few of the current barriers there are for women to enter certain career fields and how organisations need to get rid of their biases.

Why do you support women’s empowerment and gender equality?

The empowerment of women is very important to me because I believe it gives women the support needed to achieve their full potential.

While there’s been a lot of progress in terms of women’s empowerment and visibility for women across different spaces, I still think there’s a huge gender gap missing in certain fields. I would like a world where all women irrespective of their background or culture feel confident and empowered enough to occupy any space they desire and achieve their dreams.

Why do we need more women in leadership/educational roles?

Representation matters a lot and in order to get more women into certain careers they need to be able to see people who look like them whether it’s through race or gender to understand that it’s okay to pursue those careers. To encourage more women to participate in the future, we need to provide role models and accurate representation of women occupying leadership positions within communities.

Do you think bias affects what women choose to study and their future career paths? What would you say to somebody who may be worried about the path they want to take?

I do believe that bias affects women’s decisions to pursue further career paths / education. Unfortunately there are still statistics indicating that women miss out on job opportunities or promotions within companies due to biases surrounding their competency or family-life balance. More organisations need to get rid of their biases and accommodate more women. 

However, to someone worried about further study or career paths, my advice will be to just go for it, try not to second guess yourself and get advice from people who have gone through a similar path as you intend on doing.

What inspirational message can you give to young women reading this?

My message to younger women will be to simply chase your dreams without any worry regarding how things might turn out. I think having a mentor in any career path that you’re considering can be very instrumental.

Read more about our MSc Management of Information Systems & Digital Innovation course.

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