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.
Ongoing Bias Against Women at Work
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. They 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 (a.k.a. Googling). She introduced computational recognition of similar words and “term weighing” methods 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 working in tech is changing. Girls are being introduced to STEM at a younger age, and they’re 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.
Choose to Challenge Inequality
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge. A challenged world is an alert world. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality.
From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.
How can we remedy gender discrimination problems?
- 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!
We’re happy to be working with many organizations, including UN Women, to promote equality in the workplace. Together, we’re paving the way to more fair and representative hiring practices.
Learn more about gender bias in the recruitment process—and ways to overcome it—here.