Gender Equity, Diversity & Tech (2022 edition)

Discover the replay of our webinar!

As a gender-equity-by-design company, providing a better workplace for women and contributing to change our society are things we hold close to heart.

It is an honor to receive 3 special guests, who stood up for more equity: Françoise Brougher, David Smith & Daniela Riccardi.

This time together is a great opportunity for all of us to :

  • listen to great leading figures with various experiences and insights
  • spread with simple words better ways to free our voices
  • better understand our cognitive biases and how to act on it
  • give some tips, good ideas & best practices to evolve the workplace and our society

 

Numberly is a gender-equity by design company. Therefore, it was a great honor to have 3 special guests during this hour to talk and raise awareness about this cause that they stand up for.

Françoise Brougher, who was a technology executive at Pinterest, Daniela Riccardi, who is the CEO of Moleskine, author of best-seller book ‘Good Guys-How Men Can Be Better Allies for Women in the Workplace’ –David Smith, to gather the inspiration for our greater audience.

What’s the problem? Gender parity/Gender equality/Gender equity

We are no strangers to the credentials of companies showing a 50% vs. 50% gender parity, however, does that indicate “gender equality”–the ultimate goal, which means the rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether an employee was born male or female? In addition, a step further, does it truly demonstrate that the company provides fairness of treatment for men and women according to their respective needs, as “gender equity” defined by UNESDOC (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)? It’s hard to imagine that in the 1980s your moped could be destroyed completely in the garage just because you attended a male-driven school studying in a male-dominant major and pursuing your ambition, as our speaker Francoise Brougher recalled when she was 14 years old. In the past 40 years, women found a way to adapt to its leadership style and workplace culture, nevertheless, the resentment and unwelcome still exist today in a more subtle manner.

How does it become a problem?

As a default design, human brains are crafted and evolved with unconscious cognitive biases–which allows people to learn & operate faster, to adapt in a highly competitive environment where survival is the first priority. However, nowadays, maintaining this setting as ancient times has weakened our ability to perceive the world subjectively if we don’t train ourselves to evolve.

Notably, there are 4 kinds of cognitive bias related to gender equity, according to our speaker David Smith:

  • “Prove it again” bias, which means women in their leadership, managerial or technical roles are not assumed as competent at the workplace, or their competences get devalued or underscored by the decision makers which are mostly composed by males today, thus women have been constantly asked to prove their competence.
  • Agency–the leadership style bias–namely, if women lead in a typically “masculain” way which demonstrate assertion or influence power in a directive manner instead of a “feminine”way, which is more participative or collaborative, there’s high chance that she would get labeled as “Bossy” or been criticized as lacking strong leader material. On the contrary, male leaders enjoy more flexibility when it comes to leadership style.
  • Maternal wall or Pregnancy bias–Seen women as caregivers and nurturers as a stereotype, female employees sometimes even encounter pay penalty either due to inferior performance or by the fact they disconnect with work for a while if they decide to get pregnant or have maternity leave.
  • Intersectionality bias–Seen women of different color, ethnicity or region as a different group, holds conservative perspectives and finds it difficult to bond or connect with them, somewhat termed as “Monolith”

All the above biases chronically create psychological damage and create systemic inequities like gender wage gap or lack of representation for women in the workforce. Sometimes it seems out of a good purpose, as our speaker Daniela Riccardi told us her experience, the so-called “protectionism” that men have presumptions of women’s situations and decide the best solution for women instead of consulting her. It looks like a “gentlemen” gesture but actually women’s opinion is not heard as an equal participant.

How do we fight for gender equity?

  • Increase Awareness, Recognize More

Silence is the biggest enemy. Most people do not see there’s a problem, thus lack the motivation to initiate any action. In addition, given the particular issue is very much intertwined with intimate relationships, women find it shameful to speak out violence or undertreatment. Efforts are required to step out of our cognitive comfort zone, to disrupt the status quo, to interact more, experience the difference between gender, ethnicity and culture to train ourselves to break the biases.

  • Start from home, walk the talk for next generation

The reason that the issue of gender equity is so difficult to progress is it’s rooted deeply within one’s culture and education, which strongly impacts generations. “The fundamental source of women’s oppression is its femininity’s historical and social construction as the quintessential”, according to Simone de Beauvoir’s masterpiece<the second sex>. Each woman should be a role model, delegate the housework equally, discuss related topics with each family member, share and establish a network where progress can be celebrated, in this way there’s a hopeful future for young daughters.

  • Bring men to the conversation

Gender equity is a fight that requires the union of humanity–both men and women. Most men don’t even realize they inherited a preferable social status than women. Proactively participate in the conversation, criticize peers that hold inferior perspectives towards women, and be vocal about the social issues. Sponsor those outstanding female talents, bring more advocacy of women that perform well.

 

If we took a further look, it’s worth pointing out that gender equity is a leadership issue rather than a sole women’s issue.
Only gender equity, diversity and inclusion are welcomed as a business strategy, an enterprise is able to thrive with endless creativity and vitality, so a society gets a powerful economic engine.