Happy International Women’s Day!
Every March 8th, the world collectively celebrates women. The first International Women’s Day occurred over a century ago, and it was supported by over one million people. Today, it’s grown to become a global day of celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
Equality Is a Business Issue
As the International Women’s Day official website aptly points out: “Equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. Gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive.”
While society has made tremendous progress with respect to women’s rights, International Women’s Day also helps raise awareness about ongoing biases and injustices, urging us to take more action. Women (especially women of color and transgendered women) still face many challenges in the workplace, everything from hiring discrimination to sexual harassment to less pay than their male counterparts.
Compared to every dollar a man makes, a woman only makes, on average, 80 cents. HR professionals and management teams can—and should—proactively investigate salaries to ensure equal pay for equal work. When the CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, found out female employees at the company were being paid less than men, he took proactive steps to correct the compensation differences. “We have the data. We know what everyone makes. There’s no excuse,” he said.
Women Working in Tech
Benioff’s progressive leadership is a wonderful example of men advocating for women’s rights in the workplace—specifically in the world of technology. Gender inequality is prominent in traditionally male-dominated career fields like science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). From tech start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, there’s a visible shortage of women working in tech.
We have more work to do before we reach true gender equality in the workplace. The people behind International Women’s Day recognize this underrepresentation problem, and have a dedicated page to champion women forging innovation through technology.
The page also brings attention to frighteningly real issues—like gender bias in artificial intelligence (AI). While this type of technology can negatively affect females, other tech advances can actually help hiring teams overcome obstacles. Digital structured interviews, for example, greatly minimize hiring bias, encouraging diversity within companies, organizations and government.
Signs of Progression
While society hasn’t yet achieved equal gender representation in the field of IT, there are signs of progression. There have been (and still are) plenty of examples of great women in tech. Some of them include:
- Ada Lovelace – she’s considered the first computer programmer and a visionary for what computers would eventually become.
- Grace Hopper – known as “the mother of computing,” she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, which brought speed and accuracy to military initiatives.
- Karen Spärck Jones – she laid the groundwork for modern information retrieval (Googling) by introducing computational recognition of similar words and methods of “term weighing” to determine the most relevant search terms.
- Sheryl Sandberg – she is the chief operating officer (COO) of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org. Previously, she was vice president of global online sales and operations at Google.
Thankfully, in part due to initiatives like International Women’s Day, the conversation around females in tech is changing. Girls are being introduced to STEM at a younger age and being given mentorship opportunities and hands-on training. This is helping challenge stereotypes and positively influence how girls feel about pursuing a career in IT.
An Equal World Is an Enabled World
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “an equal world is an enabled world.” Together, how can we remedy gender discrimination problems, thereby creating a more equal and enabled world for all?
- Applaud and reward women who are doing good work
- Raise greater awareness about issues impacting women’s equality
- Call out examples of inequality and take steps to correct them
- Publicize the efforts you’re making to combat gender discrimination, encouraging others to do the same
At VidCruiter, ~60% of our employees are female. That’s far above the industry average, and we’re really proud of that!
Please join us in celebrating all the amazing women in both our professional and personal lives. We thank you!