At OpenText, we are deeply committed to creating a diverse and inclusive culture where all voices are heard. There is a tsunami of new technologies on the horizon (AI, 5G, Robotics) and we need the future to be an inclusive one, so we can continue to lead the way. Diversity is a business issue and every voice can change the axis of the world.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter. Gender equality is not just an issue that impacts women—it affects us all. When we work together to achieve gender equality, it will create a better future.
OpenText has been actively working to advance gender equality in the workforce through our Women in Technology (WIT) program. OpenText is performing at the pace of the industry’s largest tech companies with 30% female representation in our global workforce, with 48% representation in Waterloo, 33% in Reading, 42% in Makati City and 26% female representation in India.
While we have made progress, we are not satisfied with these numbers.
Gender equality must become a priority for every business. There is no better time than International Women’s Day to take bold steps and OpenText is doing just that by:
1. Implementing a mentorship program
Our managers and executives must be champions of gender equality. We will implement a global mentorship program to advance our high performers, providing opportunities to excel through skills development and increased visibility with senior leaders. This will help develop better leaders and foster employee engagement and retention.
We will also continue to reward the success of top performers. Every year, we send delegates to the Grace Hopper Celebration, the world’s largest gathering of women in technology. The women we send are trailblazers at OpenText, inspired and emerging leaders who will drive change in our company and beyond. Participating in the event leaves a lasting impression on delegates, who gain inspiration and share ideas to advance gender equality.
2. Ensuring the technologies of the future are free from bias
Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics need to be free of gender bias. AI systems “learn” by processing data. If this data is filled with gender stereotypes, the application of the data will perpetuate gender bias. If we want these systems to reflect the gender equity in our workforce, then we need to ensure the people or teams adding this information are just as equitable.
Applying technologies like AI and analytics in recruiting processes and performance reviews can help reveal gender-biased terminology and HR practices. This is critical because hiring and promotions are the two biggest catalysts for changing the representation of women in the workforce. According to McKinsey, while women are less likely to be hired as managers, they are even less likely to be promoted as such. In fact, only 79 women are promoted for every 100 men.
3. Encouraging young women to enter STEM fields
We must inspire young women to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. To encourage this, I’m pleased to announce our Silver Sponsorship for the Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NECCDC), taking place in March 2019.
This one-of-a-kind event brings together 10 teams of highly talented students to compete for a chance at the National Championship. Participants gain the benefit of networking with peers and the competition helps prepare them for real-world challenges.
In addition to NECCDC, OpenText offices around the world host Hour of Code events. These one-hour workshops teach coding basics through fun and interactive computer games designed to stimulate early interest in STEM fields. Last year, more than 400 children participated in global locations that included Gaithersburg, Waterloo, Grasbrunn, Reading and Hyderabad.
4. Making the “ONLY” experience rare
Imagine being the only representative in the room of your gender, your perspective, your culture or your voice. Too many voices in the workplace are not being heard, shared or valued.
At OpenText, we believe all cultures, genders and voices are valuable and instructive. Respect is embodied in our Code of Conduct, which we put into practice every day.
5. Getting the basics right by setting an agenda and fostering an inclusive culture
We believe that innovation and diversity are inseparable. Our success as an industry leader is based on a diversity of perspective, cultures and ideas in the workplace. This in turn creates equity.
We are creating change by investing in programs, but also shared values, adopting a culture-add as opposed to a culture-fit approach, and including equity as well as equality.
OpenText is Changing the Narrative
OpenText joined the 30% Club in 2018. Founded in the U.K., the 30% Club spearheads initiatives to broaden the pipeline of women at all levels, from the schoolroom to the boardroom. To help achieve their goal of having 30% of board seats and C-Suites to be held by women by 2022, we are proud to work closely with them.
Organizations that achieve greater gender balance enjoy a stronger financial performance, improved collaboration and innovation, better client relationships and higher employee engagement.
I invite you to celebrate International Women’s Day with us on March 8 as we support #BalanceforBetter.