Today is National Women’s Equality Day! It’s a time to mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote in the United States. Over the past century, women have made tremendous strides in the workplace. Indeed, the number of women running Fortune 500 companies is now at an all-time record.
But let’s not pretend that we are celebrating actual equality today. This is a day to recognize the importance of — rather than the reality of — gender equality. Because the reality is that women have yet to transcend equality on paper. In and out of the workplace, numerous inequities persist. Yes, we could post hyperlink after hyperlink here to highlight evidence of ongoing pay gaps, unfairness in promotions, hiring discrimination, and various biases, but we’d rather bluntly say this: If you still need evidence, then you haven’t been paying attention.
TouchdownPR has gathered opinions from numerous female leaders in tech to reflect on what National Women’s Equality Day means to them. Here’s what they have to say.
Advocating for Other Women
“As a technical writer early in my career, I worked with a group of men all of whom were at least two decades older than I. There were no other women to rely on for mentorship, so my role was quickly reduced to fetching coffee, taking meeting notes, and managing other people’s schedules. While difficult at the time, this experience taught me valuable skills that serve me well to this day — advocating for other women and encouraging them not to be shy about confronting gender-based inequality in the workplace. Sometimes, difficult conversations are needed to realize a career benefit.
“Breaking the status quo means allowing all voices to be heard. This is especially true for differently-abled women and women of color. We are seeing this movement among the young generation of feminists, as they stand as allies, and support all women, not just the ones who might look like them. When we all do this, we can begin to create true equity.” — Sarah Martin, community content developer, Exabeam
Equality Across All Levels
“Despite progress, women continue to be underrepresented at every level: For every 100 men promoted and hired to manager, only 72 women are promoted and hired. From recruitment to development to women-friendly policies, Women’s Equality Day reminds us about the importance of prioritizing equality across every aspect of the organization to ensure women’s progress is accelerated further.
“After all, there is so much to gain from companies focusing on creating a diverse, inclusive culture that attracts talent of all genders, ages, sexualities, and ethnicities. Time and time again, research shows that organizations that have a high percentage of diversity financially outperform their competitors. I’ve seen firsthand the powerful results that occur when people with different perspectives work together. By striving for equal, inclusive, and diverse organizations, we can make Women’s Equality Day an event to be truly proud of.” — Nicole Sahin, CEO and founder, Globalization Partners
Encouraging Girls From a Young Age
“From early on in childhood, girls need to be encouraged and know it is OK to ask challenging questions, disagree and debate, and dig-in and be hands-on.” — Wendy Meyers, director of global operations, Datadobi
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Gender Equality for a More Harmonious World
“An early challenge I faced was working in an environment where I was one of the few women in a largely male-dominated industry. I found that the key to success was gaining confidence — confidence in myself as a person and confidence in my abilities. As women, we need to empower one another and share our experiences of overcoming challenges. Women’s Equality Day allows us to celebrate women and raise awareness of gender equality for a healthier, wealthier, and more harmonious world. I encourage organizations to hire people of different genders, backgrounds and viewpoints. In the end, it is our differences that truly make us stronger.” — Brooke Candelore, product manager, BrightGauge, a ConnectWise solution
Remembering Your Worth
“While topics like equal pay and the lack of women in male-dominated industries still need to be addressed, I want to encourage women across the world to use this year’s Women’s Equality Day as a reminder of their worth. Women achieve amazing things every day, and we need to be celebrated in our success as much as our male counterparts are. It’s no longer time to be humble; it’s time to speak up, move up, and be proud of what we achieve.” — Sofia Kaufman, CPO, Zerto
Building a Network
“Young women need to build their network. When we talk about being a strong woman in the field, we need to focus on not just hard work and a solid sense of self, but also the importance of relationships. Throughout my career, I have been able to surround myself with a strong support system. This Women’s Equality Day, I encourage young women to begin to start building their network immediately by finding a mentor to help them advance professionally and personally.” — Yumi Nishiyama, director of global service alliances, Exabeam
A Focus on Quality Recruitment
“Through the right search, screening, and hiring methods, organizations can expand their talent pool and increase their inclusiveness. The key to this is to take away the unconscious bias when it comes to advertising job vacancies and the selection process. For example, use more gender-neutral terminology, allowing women to feel encouraged in applying for a role in tech. Organizations also need to ensure they are not just increasing the number of women they hire to fill the so-called ‘pink quota.’ Check that the people you hire, of all genders and diverse backgrounds, are being hired because they are the best fit for the role.
“An organization’s leadership team also plays a significant role in future talent wanting to grow and develop. We as a generation need to see more female role models come forward and show both the current and next generation that women can and will succeed in tech. It’s not just a man’s game. Women can also be the next CTO, COO, or CEO.” — Marilou van Doorn, COO, Leaseweb Global