Both International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month are of obvious importance in raising awareness around gender equality; but this movement is a year-long affair. It’s up to both individuals and society as a whole to help #BreakTheBias surrounding gender inequality, female leaders & entrepreneurs, and women in tech, and to ensure that we are moving in the direction of a more equal and more diverse workforce.
I caught up with some of our inspiring customer trailblazers to discuss their thoughts on the matter and what they think we can all do today to help accelerate growth in the right direction when it comes to diversity, equality and inclusion.
For me, the number one thing we can do to help break the bias is to give more females in the industry a chance and a platform to share their voices to the right audiences. We all know being a woman in tech is not always easy, especially as you attempt to rise through the ranks where representation plummets.
Such opportunities would continuously help build a foundation of support, compassion and understanding for what it means to be a female leader or entrepreneur. People would also be able to grasp the various styles of leadership there can be, from the diverse range of female leaders that we already have across the industry. And finally, these opportunities would inspire our younger counterparts to attempt to charter similar paths, as you know, seeing is believing! It is this relentless change that drives the company’s ambitions and helps everyone grow.
Being a female leader can seem like a daunting task for most, and it's probably the reason why we see the most imbalance of gender equality at the senior levels. The advice I would give to any emerging female leader is that your success depends on building a team around you that has your back, that can plug your skill gaps, that enables you to spend time in your areas of strength and who can run your business unit whilst you are working flexibly or on holiday.
It’s absolutely possible to thrive as a female leader in tech if you spend time hiring the right team so everyone gets the right balance and achieves success collectively. I would also highly recommend investing in training, mentoring and coaching to create a support network around you to help you ride the waves by building your resilience and coaching you to perform at your best.
I believe that the number one thing we can do as a society to help #BreakTheBias surrounding gender inequality is to stop treating it as a women’s problem, and putting the onus on women to fix it. Women are always told to lean in, do more, be more confident, and essentially work overtime to reject the pervasive stereotypes and culture of blame that surrounds them.
Solving the multifaceted and systemic challenges faced by women won’t happen overnight. It will take intentional and deliberate action from everyone - in particular the men who still typically hold the positions of power needed to effect lasting change, from business leaders to policymakers.
Women in tech always appear to me to be fierce, powerful, and clever. That can seem daunting when looking at how to develop your own personal career where a sense of self worth and resilience aren’t always taught.
There are many things I have learned, read, or realised over the years about equality, diversity and inclusion that shape my personal approach. As a business leader I have a responsibility to provide opportunity and build confidence within my teams and the more diverse the team I create and the more challenges that I set, the better outcomes we achieve.
Tech as an industry does not accept the status quo and that is exciting. There are excellent female role models in the tech sector leading global corporations, but it is important not to be complacent and to take every chance to both celebrate and sponsor female talent.
The industry is changing and improving rapidly. We all know there are many good things happening when it comes to driving lasting change on gender inequality; from anonymous CVs, language used in job listings, flexible working, transparent reporting and also sponsoring and coaching women internally. Talented women should be given the exposure and sponsorship to thrive. This leads to a culture where people - and women in particular - are often more prepared to put their head above the parapet and say “yes I can do that and I’d love the chance”.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to swap sexes in the workplace for a while, just to see what happens. Do I get taken more seriously? What new challenges will I have? How am I perceived when I challenge someone? We often say walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before judging them so you understand their experiences, struggles, and thought processes.
I think the number one thing I would encourage on a permanent basis is women mentoring men. I know many do, and I would encourage and industrialise this in your organisation. From my experiences, I think the value is in seeing the “other side” and understanding different styles and leadership approaches, to understand more about kindness, compassion and empathy in leadership. The end result in my opinion brings the balance and outcomes we all want for a successful organisation that delivers results and thrives long term.
To learn more about how LendInvest, Supermums, PensionBee, CitySprint and LV= are utilising Salesforce, you can read their customer success stories. To learn more about Salesforce’s commitment to equality, check out our website.