Building an Inclusive Future in iGaming: Supporting Women Beyond IWD.

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Building an Inclusive Future in iGaming: Supporting Women Beyond IWD

March 8, 2024

As International Women’s Day (IWD) approaches, it’s time for the iGaming industry to move beyond paying mere lip service to gender diversity and inclusion. In a sector where women represent a significant portion of both consumers and talent, it’s imperative that iGaming companies go beyond surface-level gestures and effect real cultural change to support women in the workplace. Here’s why and how.

The Business Case for Gender Diversity

In the UK alone, women constitute 35% of gamblers, with notable spending power in key categories like bingo and keno. So embracing diversity isn’t just a moral imperative; it’s a strategic advantage. Studies consistently show that diverse teams drive innovation, improve decision-making and ultimately lead to better business outcomes. Moreover, creating an inclusive culture helps attract and retain top talent, crucial in sectors facing skill shortages like iGaming.

The iGaming industry, like many sectors in technology, has historically been male-dominated. This is reflected in the perception of the industry and can discourage women from pursuing careers in it. Global statistics paint a stark picture of gender disparity in the workforce. From the gender pay gap to underrepresentation in leadership roles, women continue to face significant barriers to advancement.

For those who may question the importance of addressing women's challenges in the workplace and may argue, 'but men have problems too,' it's crucial to recognise that acknowledging and addressing women's issues does not negate the existence of challenges faced by men. Rather, it's about ensuring that all employees, regardless of gender, have the support and resources they need to thrive. Gender equality isn't a zero-sum game; it's about creating an inclusive environment where everyone's experiences are valued and respected. 

By promoting gender diversity and inclusivity, we create workplaces that benefit all employees, nurturing greater creativity, productivity and wellbeing.

Beyond Inequality: Key Challenges Women Face

While gender inequality remains a pressing issue in workplaces worldwide, to create truly inclusive environments where women, and individuals assigned female at birth (AFAB), can thrive, a deep understanding of the multifaceted challenges they encounter is needed. These often-overlooked aspects of women's lives significantly impact their work experience and career progression.


1. Menstrual Health and Menopause

In a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), 69% of over 2,000 women reported negative work experiences due to menstruation symptoms. While health issues can affect all employees, there are distinct challenges around menstrual health and menopause. Encouragingly, menopause awareness has increased significantly in recent years, although awareness does not necessarily equate to positive change. Other menstrual conditions such as endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and fibroids are less recognised in workplace discussions, despite their significant impact on working women. Many sufferers find it difficult to work when they’re experiencing symptoms, with some leaving their jobs because of them.


2. Reproductive Experiences

Many women hesitate to openly discuss their reproductive experiences in the workplace, including fertility, pregnancy and baby loss, fearing their issues may be trivialised or met with stigma or discrimination. These life-changing experiences can have profound emotional and practical implications for women's careers, affecting everything from job opportunities to mental wellbeing.


3. Maternity Leave and Childcare Responsibilities

Women often face career setbacks due to maternity leave and childcare responsibilities. Studies have shown that women with children are less likely to be hired, promoted or offered opportunities for career advancement compared to their male counterparts. The "motherhood penalty" is a pervasive issue that underscores the need for policies and practices that support working parents and combat gender-based stereotypes.


4. Caring for Ageing Relatives

In addition to childcare responsibilities, many women in their 40s and 50s find themselves juggling the care of ageing parents or relatives. Balancing caregiving duties with professional responsibilities can be challenging, leading to increased stress and career strain.


5. Intersectionality and Multiple Forms of Discrimination

It's crucial to recognise that women's experiences in the workplace are shaped by intersecting identities, including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and socioeconomic status. Women from marginalised communities often face compounded forms of discrimination and systemic barriers that further hinder their career advancement and wellbeing.

Steps Towards Meaningful Change

To effect real change, companies must first listen to women and understand their needs. Conducting gender equity audits, facilitating open discussions through focus groups, and supporting Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for women are crucial initial steps. From there, companies can develop and implement inclusive policies and provide specific support, including reproductive health assistance, flexible work options, and robust measures against workplace harassment.

Importantly, these initiatives shouldn't be exclusive to women. Men, too, benefit from a more inclusive workplace, and policies like flexible work arrangements and reproductive health support can positively impact all employees. This proactive approach is essential for promoting genuine inclusivity and building a culture of belonging in the workplace.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s not settle for symbolic gestures. Instead, let's move beyond “inclusion washing” towards genuine, meaningful change in the iGaming sector.