Each for Equal. International Women’s Day 2020.
In honor of International Women’s Day, I want to take a moment to reflect on the evolving landscape of the tech industry and, more specifically, the important and growing role that women play in our marketing department at xMatters. There have been significant improvements during my time here as Chief Marketing Officer, ones that I’m proud of. But before I expand on that, I first need to take a moment to explain how the culture of xMatters supported those changes.
At xMatters we realize that the state of the company depends on the quality and life of its employees. In doing so, we are shaping today the company that we want to be a part of tomorrow. We all know that successful companies are made up of terrific employees – so to truly understand what makes us great as a whole is to look at the individuals that create our company and culture. Naturally there are common threads; passion, intelligence, drive, a global outlook, and a desire for balance.
The idea of balance, and more specifically the ways some companies try and compensate for the lack of it, is nothing new. Tech companies have long worked to give their employees fun perks to help ease the demands of the job and make those long workdays more enjoyable. But ping-pong tables, fitness rooms, cafeterias, and fully stocked kitchens can only go so far in creating more balance in a workday.
The real balance comes from balanced representation of those you share the day with. Ideally the world within the company should reflect the world outside it. In order for that to happen, there needs to be diversity and inclusion. There needs to be representation. There needs to be women.
Four years ago, when I started working at xMatters, the marketing team was 80% male; now it’s over 70% female. That’s a big shift. While it would be easy to take credit for it, the truth is it happened organically by hiring the best candidates for the job. The fact that the majority of our applicants were male throughout the process was not a surprise. The tech industry is still a male dominated one, and hiring more men will only keep it that way.
However, hiring more women just because they are women won’t support a change that can be truly championed. Real change needs to start long before a job interview with a potential employer. Mentors, teachers, parents, anyone who is in a position of influence needs to use their power to encourage women to follow their passion without limits so that we can narrow the divide among the applicant base. One can’t help but wonder: if we are getting terrific female candidates and hires now, when the odds are stacked against them, imagine what we could achieve when those odds are evened? It’s a vision for the future that I’m excited about.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Each For Equal. It’s about Collective Individualism. As individuals we’re responsible for ourselves, for our thoughts and actions. But collectively, we can work together for gender equality. If we continue to support and encourage women to get involved in the technology industry, to make sure that they have an equal chance at getting hired, and advocate for equal pay, we are ultimately changing the way the world works at large starting with our companies and teams.
At xMatters we’ve seen how equal opportunity and a commitment to gender diversity have positively impacted the culture and success of our company – not only within our marketing department, but our finance team which is 100% women. And while we will continue to advocate for and promote gender diversity within our company, we also want to fully support inclusion. In doing so, we hope that women don’t just have fair representation at organizations, but that they have a literal and integral voice, as equals…as it should be.