International Women’s Day 2022: Take-Aways from Our Discussion with Shelly Kramer
In honor of this year’s International Women’s Day, Deem President David Grace hosted a conversation to discuss the issues that women face in the workforce. He was joined by Deem’s Sr. Director of Product Strategy Kirstie McLatchie and Principal Analyst/Founding Partner of Futurum Shelley Kramer.
These two women have spent their entire careers in the male-dominated tech space, which makes them intimately aware of the issues for women in this landscape. While there is still much room for change and work to be done to ensure that women are given the same opportunities, pay, and respect as men, McLatchie and Kramer said that tech giants are paving the way for an equal environment.
“The great thing about working in the tech space is that the biggest voices resonate with all the tech companies,” Kramer said. “The industry giants are doing a great job elevating women’s issues, and that gets the smaller tech companies to pay attention and implement strategies to recruit more women for positions that have historically been held by men in this space. They’re also proving that talk is not enough when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. You need to walk the walk.”
But getting to that next level requires transparency, discussion, advocacy, and for everyone to get on board with equality regardless of whether or not a company’s HR department makes it a goal. It’s up to individuals to recognize there is a discrepancy between men and women, be transparent about salaries, and be open to flexibility in the workplace.
Act like there is a problem
While some people may think we’ve reached the pinnacle of equality already — that there is no difference in how men and women are treated in the workforce — women are still making just 82% of what men make on a weekly basis.
According to Kramer, it’s important for everyone to recognize there is a problem and agree that it needs to be fixed so that women can be compensated fairly in every industry. This awareness should be extended to women who may not even realize they’re not making as much as they could, or that they are qualified and capable enough for that higher-level career move they’ve been too afraid to make.
That is why there is a movement now to be more transparent about salaries, so women not only know what they could be earning but also what they should be earning. To do this, men and women should consider being open and honest about their compensation.
Even during the interview process, recruiters and current employees can let candidates know specifically what the earning potential may be for a given position. Women should be made to feel comfortable negotiating, confident in knowing their worth.
For companies with diversity and inclusion programs, it’s important that these programs have compensation equity goals that are specific and quantified. After all, how can you know if you are enacting change if your results are not measurable?
Companies should offer flexibility
As Covid-19 proved, many jobs can be done remotely. While many individuals returned to the office as the pandemic continues, just as many are reliant upon the flexibility offered by remote work. This flexibility is especially beneficial to women who are statistically more likely to be the chief caregivers to their children.
“There was a tendency before the pandemic to romanticize working from home,” McLatchie said. “But it’s exhausting when the kids are home, too. Having the flexibility to do what needs to be done for your work life and personal life is something many people have gotten accustomed to.
“We’re not going back to the way things were before the pandemic and companies need to understand that,” she continued. “The workforce expects this flexibility and if they don’t get it, they’ll leave, because that time individuals can get with their loved ones is priceless and we’re not giving it back.”
Supporting McLatchie’s statements, one recent survey showed that 84% of surveyed adults who are able to do their work from home consider not commuting a top benefit, and 39% would consider quitting their job if they weren’t offered flexibility to work remotely. Among Millennials and Gen Z, that number went up to 49%.
With two years of proof that remote work can result in higher productivity than when employees were in offices full time before the pandemic, workers have some leverage in keeping the current system. Especially when open positions advertised as remote receive 300% more applications than those that don’t. It appears that remote work is here to stay.
Become an ally for women
When women encourage other women to go for higher positions and support each other on their journey, they help break down the barriers women face in the workforce. To further break down these barriers, it is necessary for men to become allies for women too.
“It’s not enough to just speak up for women, [men] have to show up, too,” Kramer said. “Show solidarity with women and work to make things right. Don’t say that gender disparity doesn’t exist because that mindset is wrong, uneducated, and women don’t want to hear it.”
What men can do is ensure that women are top candidates for leadership roles, offered the same training opportunities as men, and given the opportunity to work in their areas of interest. Most of all, just taking the time to listen, understand, and work together will help close the gap and bring equality to the workforce.
Ensuring women are represented at every level at Deem is a priority, and we’re considered a best place to work for women. Please visit our careers page to see how you can become a valued member of our team, from wherever you are.
Main image credit: Jenny Ueberberg, unsplash.com