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International Women’s Day 2023: Embrace Equity

“I raise up my voice—not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. … We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”

Malala Yousafzai

Today on International Women’s Day (IWD), we raise up our voices to celebrate the good and speak out against the unjust.

It is an annual celebration of the incredible achievements and contributions of women around the world—and also a time to evaluate our progress on equity, diversity and inclusion. We must take a hard look at the work that still needs to be done. We will not shy away from addressing the real barriers and bias that women everywhere still face every day.

This year’s theme for IWD is #EmbraceEquity.

Equity is not the same as equality. Equity is about being fair and impartial. Equity seeks to change the societal systems that actively disadvantage and marginalize groups.

2022 has been a year of both highs and lows.

It is the year the first Native American woman travelled to space. The U.S. women’s soccer team will finally be paid equally. Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court. European Parliament passed a law to increase the number of women on publicly traded companies’ boards.

Twenty-three countries globally made progress on law reforms that address discrimination against women and support gender equity.

Unfortunately, despite these heartening strides, 2022 was also a year when women’s rights were under attack starting with the overturning of Roe v. Wade—a devastating strike against women’s access to health care and personal autonomy.

In Afghanistan, decades of progress were undone as women faced the collapse of their rights under Taliban rule, including being denied access to education and barred from the workforce, among other injustices. In Iran, we witnessed the arrest and death of Mahsa Amini.

Globally, 2.4 billion women do not have the same economic rights as men.

It has never been more important to stand strong, elevate women’s voices and #EmbraceEquity.

We believe in a gender-equal world, free of bias and discrimination, where we can celebrate our differences and where all individuals are valued.

Embracing equity at OpenText

At OpenText, our culture is grounded in a strong belief in equity, diversity and inclusion. We are committed to creating an environment where all voices are heard and where we unlock the passion of our valued colleagues in the content of our business.

Here are some of the ways we are supporting women and embracing equity at OpenText:

Zero Barriers

One of the key pillars of our Zero-In Initiative, as outlined in our most recent Corporate Citizenship Report, is Zero Barriers.

As part of Zero Barriers, we have committed to 50/50 gender parity within key roles and 40% women in leadership positions at all management levels by 2030.

In 2011, OpenText reported a global workforce that was 18% women. Today, the OpenText global workforce is composed of 30% women and 26% women in management roles.

Further, 33% of OpenText’s board members are women.

Many of our departments have already achieved 50% or greater female representation: Finance, Legal, Marketing, HR, Inside Sales, Partners and Renewals.

We are dedicated to making further progress on our Zero Barriers objectives. While our company is in the upper quartile for the technology industry—I am not satisfied.  

We are acting in three places: the top, the middle, and new talent.

We have put in place diverse slates for recruiting new leaders into our company.

Achieving 40% of women in leadership will take investing in training and development to elevate our top performing female managers. Today, we are reintroducing WOW Mentoring—a mentorship program to help accelerate female employees to the next level. 

Our intern program, the next generation of our talent, will achieve gender parity this year.

Worldwide OpenText Women (WOW)

In 2020, we launched our Women in Technology (WIT) affinity group, which quickly grew into a robust community with representation across every continent and over 1,200 members. We enacted a global WIT Mentoring & Sponsorship program. The group also hosted numerous complimentary webinars for members, including two recent coaching series that focused on building leadership skills, forging a career path, and navigating change.

Now with our recent acquisition of Micro Focus, we are uniting our WIT group with the Micro Focus Women’s Employee Network, forming a new Worldwide OpenText Women (WOW) group. Over 2,000 members strong, this group will unveil a new charter around attracting, hiring, retaining and developing women at all levels of the company. The group will take on specific programs to help women through critical career junctures through the power of community (e.g., buddies for new mothers re-entering work, mentorship programs, panels for interviews).

Women who informed & inspired us

Women who informed & inspired us throughout the year

Throughout the past year, we have been honored to have many inspiring women speakers at our events, both internal and external. It has been a learning journey for me in spending time with these amazing leaders.

In honor of Black History Month, I had the privilege of speaking to Dr. Ruha Benjamin, Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University for our third “OpenTalk with Mark J. Barrenechea,” a series where we widen our collective lens at OpenText through conversations with some of the world’s greatest thinkers and leaders.

To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, I’ll be speaking to Ambassador Dr. Ailish Campbell, Canada’s Ambassador to the European Union—the first woman ever to hold that title.

We can all embrace equity

We start this journey by listening to women’s voices. Please take a moment and listen to these stories from the women at OpenText:

To embrace equity is to challenge stereotypes. Call out discrimination. Point a spotlight at biases. Actively seek inclusion. We can work together with collective solidarity to create positive change.

We can build an equitable world for all.

Mark Barrenechea

Mark J. Barrenechea is OpenText's CEO & CTO. A prominent thought leader, he has extensive experience in information technology and his vision is to enable the digital world to help transform organizations.

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