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Climbing up ‘The Ladder’ at ManoMano

Published: 8 March 2023 - Neil Mead

How ManoMano built a community to empower women and inspire everyone in the workplace in the run up to International Women’s Day.


By celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women on 8th March, companies are provided a platform to raise awareness about discrimination and drive gender parity, especially in the workplace. In Tech companies, the issue of women’s representation is critical – only 19% of information and communication technology (ICT) specialists in Europe are women*. 

In a society where the workplace can be yet another enforcer of discrimination against underrepresented groups, online home improvement and DIY marketplace ManoMano wanted to take a stand and be a vector for positive change, and so in 2018 the business developed a tailor-made programme with and for the teams working at ManoMano called The Ladder.

The Ladder programme provides a community that aims to empower women and inspire everyone to rise through the ranks together. Three years after its creation, by 2022 the programme has reached 88% of women at ManoMano, one of which being Sonia Zammit, the Lead Account Manager for Advertising.

Keen gardener and DIYer, Sonia joined ManoMano in 2019 as an Affiliate Program & Shopbot Manager and joined The Ladder programme when it launched. During her time at the company, Sonia has risen through the ranks and says that The Ladder community played a key part in her mobility last year, as this is where she met her new manager.

“Thanks to The Ladder, I get to meet and speak with a diverse range of people from different teams and levels at ManoMano. By getting involved in the community I was able to combine my beliefs, as well as my willingness to act, with practical, responsible, and informed initiatives that both empowered women in the workplace and helped progress my career within the company.”

ManoMano provides a wide selection of initiatives as part of the programme, including quarterly conferences that challenge preconceived ideas and inspire new ways of working, with the involvement of women leaders and many men from the company. In 2022, ManoMano hosted six of these internal conferences and three networking events, and have at least one conference, one webinar and one networking event per quarter planned for 2023.

When becoming a member of the community, colleagues will also join a dedicated communication channel that allows them to share interesting insight and information for the business to take on board. Networking sessions are regularly hosted, offering members an opportunity to work on their self-confidence and build a network within the company, which is how Sonia was introduced to her current manager.

“The networking sessions are not only extremely useful but also hugely beneficial for colleagues who want to accelerate gender equality within the workplace. It allows me to debate and understand different viewpoints from colleagues in a respectful and stimulating way and is a great way to meet new people who share the same vision as you. It is actually how I got to know my current manager before my new role!”

Last year ManoMano launched a mentoring programme to support women at crucial moments in their careers, offering them advice and top tips on how to take that next step into a new role and put them in a position to succeed. The Ladder was able to mentor 40 women in 2022, one of which being Sonia, who stated it has been the most important feature of the programme during her time at ManoMano.

“It is what was most empowering about the programme. Making yourself feel confident in self-promotion, gaining constructive advice, and understanding how one can make a difference in their career path.”  

The work of the community has not gone unnoticed, with ManoMano seeing a 50% reduction in the gender pay gap in 2021 compared to the previous year and almost half of ManoMano leaders were women in 2022. As a result, the business has maintained its gender equality index score of 91/100 for two consecutive years.

In 2023 ManoMano intends to use its platform to build a company where all employees, both men & women, have the same opportunities to grow and advance their careers, and will continue to work on the inclusiveness of content and initiatives by further developing and embedding networks of allies through The Ladder programme. 

“The unfortunate reality is that women are still discriminated against. International Women’s Day is so important as it celebrates our right to equality and allows us to work together to accelerate our push for equal pay. The road is long, but I am proud to be working for a company that aims to inspire and empower women in the business through The Ladder programme.”

* Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2022


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