Digital Women UK (DWUK) is an initiative created by Words of Colour Productions, a creative communications agency that works to reshape the single narrative that misrepresents diverse communities and groups. It was launched at London's City Hall in September 2013 to facilitate female creatives, emerging and established entrepreneurs and women in tech to fully engage with digital entrepreneurship, actualise their aspirations, help shape their vision and to campaign for greater industry inclusion and relevant research.
From 2015-2019, the core DWUK programme was 'Missing In Action: Women and Enterprise in the Digital Economy', which aimed to highlight and support the diversity of women's digital entrepreneurial activities, especially those of women of colour, which were typically unacknowledged in, and unsupported by, the wider entrepreneurship, tech and startup ecosystems. Through a series of personal and professional events and workshops, we provided a reflective and dynamic space for women creatives, techies, and entrepreneurs to empower themselves and each other through collectively identifying and addressing the internal and external barriers that keep them from fulfilling their potential.
Recent years have shown a dramatic increase in visibility of women founders and founders of colour, due to the important and persistent advocacy, agitation and activism of grassroots organisations and diverse tech employees. As such, the founders DWUK serves are no longer ‘missing in action' as they once seemed, but are vibrantly active in the sector, and courted by a variety of corporate accelerators and investment organisations. For these reasons, we have entitled our upcoming phase of work 'Founders in Formation'. The intentions of this phase are to encourage collaborative work to advance collective outcomes: to continue to support founders through events and community conversations, and to leverage the communications expertise of our parent organisation, Words of Colour Productions, to better articulate and distil needs, messaging, asks and demands, and increasing and sustaining advocacy. In this way, we hope to improve the experiences of diverse and underrepresented founders working in digital, here in London and beyond.
This video and written policy brief aims to share learnings with, and facilitate good policy and practice for, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives in tech and startup. It is based on a project evaluation of the initial two years of OneTech.
The brief indicates a number of achievements as well as challenges experienced in this initial phase of delivery, and presents them here as key learnings with recommendations, reflection questions and a good practice checklist for ongoing or future EDI initiatives, intended to support commissioners, leaders, policy makers, programme designers, delivery teams, project partners and funders.
Please contact Dr Angela Martinez Dy, Loughborough University London for more information.