At Globalization Partners, we are proud that our gender ratio is almost even with 47% women to 53% men on our worldwide team, where diversity and inclusion are of paramount importance and a critical part of our mission. Though we still all have a long way to go when it comes to fighting for women’s equal treatment, pay, promotion and rights in the workplace. As we celebrate International Women’s Day this March 8th, with the 2022 theme of #BreaktheBias, we asked some of our leading women to share both advice and personal experiences to help women (and men) around the world #breakthebias for all our employees, partners and customers. Here we share some of their insights and perspectives as successful women, working in technology for a platform democratizing opportunity for everyone, everywhere.
Richa Gupta, CPO/Chief People Officer
As a proud immigrant, raised in a small city with limited resources, who came to the U.S. from India with just $4,000, one suitcase and a big dream, International Women’s Day has a very personal meaning. As Chief People Officer for a global employment platform that makes it easy to hire anyone, anywhere, I’ve seen how the acceptance of hiring talent remotely has been particularly and positively impactful for women. With this newfound access to jobs, women don’t need to leave the workforce in the significant numbers as they had to previously due to the pandemic, sacrificing their professional and financial wellbeing. Families, and even communities, can stay intact.
International Women’s Day is also a great time to remember the importance of how all employees feel about their workplace when it comes to inclusion, fulfillment, happiness and trust in leadership. It is my core belief that from recruitment, to development, to establishing inclusive policies, all businesses must strive to prioritize inclusion across every aspect of the organization to further accelerate progression. We must be conscious of what a balanced and inclusive team looks like, to integrate people from all walks-of-life, with empathy, and to be conscious of what it takes to achieve this.
We all know we have a long way to go towards equality for women worldwide, but I do believe that as the world of work continues to change and adapt to more remote work and autonomy, women (and all genders) will find that geography no longer dictates their destiny. I believe that if you include and offer opportunities to women in a variety of roles and fields globally, you will ensure global inclusivity.
Diane Albano, Chief Revenue Officer
International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women and their successes everywhere. It is also a call to action to help end gender bias, which unfortunately, is still prevalent in technology. Although many great women have made a significant impact in the field, there are still too many areas where women are under represented.
We must encourage more women to enter into technology by participating in STEM education as early as possible – with a focus on providing opportunities to girls in elementary or middle school. I’m proud to say there are far more female role models in science and technology today, and look forward to a time when that will be the norm.
In addition, I strongly recommend women to be assertive, confident, and vocal. Perception plays a major role in success. Being assertive and confident about your skill set and ideas will directly impact your colleagues’ and superiors’ professional perception of you. If a situation or ‘cultural norm’ seems wrong or unreasonable, don’t be afraid to challenge it. Sometimes, the status quo needs changing. I have built an entire career of doing exactly that, then working to improve the situation. Pursuit of progress towards a fair and equitable environment is always a worthy undertaking.
Jess Monney, VP of Communications
There are plenty of tactical ways to help fill a pipeline with diverse candidates and to evaluate candidates based upon pre-set criteria. However, best practices are far beyond just hiring methodologies. It’s important to actively create a safe and inclusive work environment to attract and retain people of different backgrounds. We must allow space to proactively ask for others’ opinions and have the humility to stay open when you need clarity on a different perspective.
As a woman in tech, navigating my way through teams and meetings when I was often the only woman present, was incredibly intimidating, particularly in the early stages of my career. Watermark is an organization that continually provided regular resources, webinars and in-person events that helped inspire me, as well as offered tangible means for navigating sensitive aspects of being a working woman.
The future is bright. Surround yourself with women and men whom you want to learn from, and in turn, who will learn from you. There are so many ways technology is playing a role in improving the lives of people everywhere and there is a place for you and your perspective in the field. You must have grit, rigor and resilience and remember to surround yourself with people you hope to emulate. Always raise your hand to volunteer for new experiences as you are your greatest advocate. You’ve got this!
Finally, finding ways to gain confidence and develop the ability to make people aware of gender bias when you experience it – or witness it – is healthy for you and those around you. I’ve had a handful of positive experiences having an honest conversation about my experiences with both men and women who were unaware of the impact of their words or actions. Ultimately, they were grateful to me for sharing my perspective and making them aware of how it was perceived.
Was it awkward? Yeaaaaah. Was it effective? Yes.
Kathryn Barnes, Employment Counsel EMEA at Globalization Partners:
While the world of work has been turned on its head over the past two years, the issue of gender inequality has remained steadfastly unchanged. For example, women entering the legal profession still face many obstacles. They often must work harder than their male colleagues to demonstrate their ability, but even then, they may not be considered equal to them in terms of parity and recognition.
When I was 15, my headmaster (who was male – the entire leadership of the school was male) told me that I would amount to nothing – a comment that could have set me on the wrong path but instead, fueled my drive. Later, years into my legal career, a job interviewer quizzed me on my plans for future children – I simply refused to answer the question. These examples illustrate how women are consistently undermined and underline the importance of the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day – #BreakTheBias. We must dismantle stereotypes and reject discrimination, proving that women can do anything.
Organizations have a part to play and should create spaces where women can thrive. Educating employees on unconscious bias, implementing flexible working environments and curating policies that support working mothers, are all instrumental in attracting and retaining female talent. Mentoring can also be a great way to level the playing field and support women as they climb the career ladder.
Momentum is behind the wheels of change, and I’m inspired to work with our CEO Nicole Sahin, who is paving the way for women in the workplace, and within a company that values diversity and inclusion. This International Women’s Day, more organizations should reflect on how they can create a strong foundation for women to succeed – it will have duplicitous advantages for employees and business alike.
Heidi Arkinstall, Chief Marketing Officer
#BreaktheBias reminds us that there is still work to be done to achieve women’s equality. Bias, whether intentional or unconscious, still exists. An area where it is still obvious and prevalent, is the U.S. Government. Women represent less than a third of elected leaders even though they are 50% of the population. One of the organizations I support and believe in is sheshouldrun.org which prepares women to run for public office.
Regardless, there has never been a better time for women to move into technology. Although progress still needs to be made and more biases still to be broken, the industry is finally recognizing and prioritizing a more diverse workforce and recognizing the positive impact that diversity can have on business. Studies show companies with gender diverse and inclusive teams outperform their less inclusive counterparts. There is no greater motivator than a positive impact to the bottom line to help drive change.
In my very first role in marketing, I wasn’t allowed to wear pants to that job, only a skirt or dress! At the time, I thought it was ridiculous, but I accepted it, because it was a good opportunity and I wanted the job. Throughout my career, there have been several incidents, some more overt, some less obvious, that are now recognized as gender bias and discrimination. My advice to anyone going through something similar is that when speaking to someone about it, try to keep the focus on specific issues. Keep a record of offensive actions and the details so you can refer to specifics. These kinds of incidents can be very emotionally charged, but to effectively address them, it’s important to keep your focus on the facts.
Nicole Sahin, founder and CEO, Globalization Partners
Companies must live and breathe values that ensure diversity, or they risk impacting their ability to recruit top talent. This commitment has never been more important, as more people than ever work toward equality and inclusion of all kinds, as the workplace of the future resets itself post-pandemic. In my mind, choosing to challenge the status quo reminds us that we each must play a role to help create a more equal world.
International Women’s Day is a great way to remind ourselves that diversity also plays a major role in how employees feel about their workplace – most notably, in relation to feelings of inclusion, happiness and trust in leadership. It is my core belief that from recruitment, to development, to establishing female friendly policies, all businesses must strive to prioritize equality across every aspect of the organization to further accelerate progression. It’s so important to be conscious of what a balanced team looks like, to include people from all walks-of-life and to be cognizant of what it takes to achieve this.
As a female CEO, I feel incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by an executive team made-up of strong female leaders where everyone advocates for equality and inclusion. Together we must champion and celebrate the successes of women around the world who are achieving great things. Though we still have a long way to go in creating a more equal world, together is the only way we will get there.