Back to Blogs
Iwd 2024 (11)
Share this Article

IWD: #InspireInclusion with Sarah Persov, Engineering Team Lead at Dojo

  • Publish Date: Posted about 1 month ago
  • Author:by Annie Palmer

​​​​This International Women's Day, I interviewed Sarah Persov, Engineering Team Lead and Dojo, and she shared her thoughts on how we can #InspireInclusion.

When we inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion, we forge a better world. The IWD 2024 campaign theme seeks to inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion. Organisations, groups, and individuals worldwide can all play a part, and to truly include women means to openly embrace their diversity of race, age, ability, faith, body image, and how they identify.

International Women’s Day belongs to everyone, everywhere. Collectively, we can all help create a diverse, equitable and inclusive world. ​

1. What does inclusion mean to you, and why?

Inclusion means a culture and atmosphere that has equity at the heart of it. It means that you have a variety of people, backgrounds, race, religion, abilities and more. Without an inclusive environment, you are limiting yourself and your impact, as you aren’t broadening your horizons and learning from others’ experiences. By putting equity at the heart of your culture, you will treat each person with their individual wants, needs and limitations in mind, but you also by default encourage and facilitate inclusion as your culture will inherently be inclusive.

2. What are some actions you have seen organisations take to commit to inclusion in the workplace?

Inclusion, and by extension equity, are behaviours and thought processes that individuals need to refine and potentially learn. By having thorough training, which really brings people into the world of those different to them, you help start building a different way of being. Training is only the beginning, though; like anything new, you need to practice it and think of it as developing a new habit. Organisations that truly commit to this at all levels have the most success. People will mimic the behaviours of those around them, but importantly above them. By senior leadership actively showcasing the benefits of the training, and publicly implementing the change in behaviour and patterns, it will have a tremendous impact to all.

3. Why is International Women’s Day important to you?

International Women’s Day has always been a day, if not month, to publicly celebrate and champion women who often are overlooked and under-appreciated. However, as a woman in tech, IWD is so much more. The older I am, and the further in my career I am, I recognise how integral it is for also sparking the needed conversations around equity, whilst also empowering women and ensuring they know they are not alone. Some companies definitely do use it as a box-ticking exercise, and as a fleeting moment to try and satisfy their employees and customers. I encourage those companies to reflect on why it’s just a fleeting moment to them, but I still think that it matters regardless of intent. Ultimately, it’s important to me because it’s important to both women and men to have a dedicated time to celebrate the fantastic achievements of women everywhere.

4. Can you share a personal or professional experience that has inspired you to advocate for women’s inclusion?

I have always been someone who is headstrong, stubborn and refuses to backdown. From a young age, I’ve experienced men talking over me and my mum, ignoring and dismissing experiences and expertise. Since entering the tech industry, I’ve seen (and sometimes experienced) how so many women are treated differently, as well as the constant beat of subtle discrimination that women are constantly facing and fighting. The impact of this on one’s self esteem, self confidence and career progression resonated with me deeply. I am privileged that I have both the inner fire and the support network to not only advocate, but fight, for women’s rights and inclusion.

5. How did your career in tech begin?

I have always been a problem solver and somebody who loves a challenge. It wasn’t until late in my schooling that I ever considered tech though. My interests then were more in subjects like English literature, classics, history and anthropology. I took the time to do work experience and investigate whether any of these subjects, or other careers I had previously been interested in would be the right fit for me. This included careers such as law and journalism. I quickly realised that they didn’t quite scratch the itch, and as I have limitations due to my health, they wouldn’t work for me. I started looking into degrees and careers related to problem solving, and came across computer science. I was instantly intrigued and was fortunate enough to meet my partner soon after. He is also in tech, and was able to show me a bit of what it’s really like, and I was instantly hooked. I went to university for computer science, and found my passion for software engineering.

6. Can you share a project or accomplishment that you're particularly proud of?

I am particularly proud of the work that I am doing to help fight for a truly equitable and inclusive environment for women in tech. My journey really kicked off in the summer of 2022, where I discovered that my normal angry ramblings about the way women in tech are treated transformed into passionate public speaking. Since then, I have been on multiple podcasts, spoken at multiple events, and now have a website with all of my recorded content. More importantlythough is the impact that I am slowly having on the culture. I’ve been blown away by the response I’ve had from women, men and companies. My focus has always been on what women are actually experiencing, and I can now feed this back and bring people into our world. Knowing that I am influencing positive change for a better future is what keeps me going and, ultimately, why I love what I do.