Equity, diversity and inclusion are critical for the success of OpenText, the technology industry and society as a whole. With the adverse effects the global pandemic has had on women’s careers—according to McKinsey, women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable to this crisis than men’s jobs—the commitment to challenging gender bias and advancing equity, diversity and inclusion is more important than ever.
This Women’s History Month, we’re proud to recognize the incredible women in tech we work with. We’ve asked some inspiring women in tech to share their insights into how we can all challenge and call out gender bias and inequality.
Celebrating women in tech
“It’s thought that 70-93% of all communication is nonverbal. If that theory is correct, the actions we take in the workplace could be even more important than the words we speak. People learn by example. The best leaders I’ve seen, both male and female, lead by example. One of the lessons I was lucky enough to learn, taught to me by a strong male advocate for women in the workplace, was to hold the door open when you walk through.
“Think about one or two things that you can do in your role today to reach back and lend a hand to someone coming up the ranks behind you. Offer to take a younger female colleague to lunch and learn about her goals. Can you help her in her journey but offering an introduction to another manager she wants to learn more about but doesn’t yet know? Are you often asked to participate in panels for women? Offer a seat at the table to an up and comer whose work you admire. Be an ally. A small ripple in a pond generates waves in a beautiful changing pattern” – Jo Peterson, VP Cloud & Security Services, Clarify360.
Jo Ann Barefoot
“One huge driver of gender inequality, and often the easiest to fix, is unconscious bias. So many people (usually but not always men) don’t consider themselves biased and don’t want to be biased but have blind spots—they don’t notice it. When I’m involved with a conference, a panel, a meeting, a board, a team, or any group that is overwhelmingly or entirely male, I just suggest diversifying it. It always works. Over time, blind spots recede” – Jo Ann Barefoot, CEO & Co-founder, Alliance for Innovative Regulation.
“Being passionate about gender bias and inequality should not just stop at passion. It is a responsibility. One of awareness and discernment of action, as well as non-action, both socially and systemically. These observations allow for opportunities to educate others in a constructive, yet unwavering, way. My pledge is to continue to personally connect with women and lift them up, and to use my platform to share their stories as much as I can” – Madaline Zannes, legal tech consultant and Founder, ZannesLaw
Dr. Ann Cavoukian
“In short, you rise above it! Over the years, I have repeatedly worked with groups of men, where I have often been the only woman. I’m not kidding! I have always tried to pave the way for women to join me and have tried to hire qualified women, whenever possible. But to me, the bottom line has been to win them over and rise above it!” – Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Executive Director, Global Privacy & Security by Design Centre.
“Choosing to challenge means taking a long hard look at how female employees are treated and promoted in the workplace. Are your senior most positions filled with 50% women? Are women being promoted at the same rate as male employees? Do you treat the women on your team just as you do the men? Or, do you question their expertise more frequently and ask more patronizing questions?
“In one recent study, researchers found that ‘women in economics get asked significantly more questions than men when presenting—mostly by men. Researchers say this is part of deeper gender issues within the field.’ But it’s not just happening in higher education, it’s happening everywhere. Women are interrupted more, questioned more, and hold fewer C-suite roles. Women now hold 25% of the five critical C-suite positions. That’s an increase from 23% in 2018, according to a new Korn Ferry analysis of the nation’s 1,000 largest corporations across eight industries, but it’s a long way from equal representation.
“Sometimes bias like the above is unconscious and men may not even realize they’re perpetuating this behavior. As men and women, it’s important to speak about these challenges openly and honestly without fear. This is how we can all choose to challenge.” – Layla Revis, VP, Marketing, Brand & Digital Services, OpenText
“I #ChoosetoChallenge the stereotypes of a tech industry. By shedding the colorless hoodie and the shapeless jeans, I will be myself – a highly skilled STEM professional, a geek in any colors of the rainbow.” – Kristina Lengyel, EVP Customer Solutions, OpenText.