Women’s History Month is a chance to celebrate the women who have advocated for equality in the workforce and the progress we’ve made. In 1950, less than one third of the workforce comprised of women in the United States, and today that number is nearly half.
While the representation of women in the workforce has significantly improved, other metrics paint a different picture.
In tech, only 28% of employees are women. Across all industries, only 36% of women hold leadership positions—and at the Fortune 500 companies, that number shrinks to roughly a quarter.
So, while many argue that equality has improved – for example, people of all genders today can vote or can apply for the same jobs – there is still a huge opportunity to improve equity and continue challenging the status quo. That’s because equality refers to giving people the same resources or opportunities whereas equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach equal outcomes.
To highlight this discrepancy, the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, which is on March 8, is #EmbraceEquity. As part of our commitment to elevating women at AvePoint, in the technology industry and in our communities, we asked our team how they intend to #EmbraceEquity this year. Here’s what colleagues around the world had to say:
1. Speak Up
- Gabrielle Scott, Product Marketing Manager
“Studies show that there are inherent differences in the way men and women communicate in the workplace. If you see a female colleague who may be struggling to make their voice heard or whose contributions may not be getting their due, lend them your voice. Whether it’s something as simple as inviting a female colleague to share their input during a crowded team meeting, or nominating them for recognition in a Town Hall, your action makes a difference.”
2. Ask Questions
- Julie Liu, SVP, Marketing
“A side effect of being human is that we’re not always going to get it right. But we can do better by making space for conversation to ask, and then to listen. The fundamental difference between equality and equity is that equity is built on the unique experience. No matter how we advocate, how much we research, the how and the why of being truly equitable remains a ‘one-size-fits-most’ model. ‘Tell me more about…’ or ‘How can I help with…’ are excellent places to start.”
3. Create a Safe Space
- Kunal Patel, Customer Success Manager
“Taking the theme of #EmbraceEquity into consideration, it’s important to ensure that when we’re in a safe space, we’re giving everyone the opportunity to have their voices heard. Often, even in safe spaces, there will still be people who need a little encouragement to speak their truth. Amplifying voices and uplifting people to feel they truly can be themselves, even if they are not in the majority.”
4. Continue Learning
- Melissa Fingerhut, VP US Talent Acquisition
“As a leader in Talent Acquisition, I am often looked to as an entry way in increasing diversity among our colleagues. Applying DEI in a recruitment practice is not new, but the way in which we do so is continuing to evolve and it’s important to learn where we can connect with talent, what resonates and how we can create an equitable interview process that embraces diversity.”
5. Be Yourself
- Corle Fourie, Office Manager BeNeNord
“Think about how you show up at work each day. No matter your role, reflect on your style, and which values and traits embody you. For example, qualities like empathy, vulnerability, humility and compassion when coupled with directness, clear communication and decisive action can be very effective. Focus on what you want to see more of like women who are thriving and positive leaders that you can look up to.”
6. Consider Future Generations
- Zaira Collazo, Director, Project Management, ACS
“It isn’t just about creating opportunities for women in the here and now but rather setting the stage for a future in which they are already inherent, and do not need extra attention. This is the legacy that we as professional women, mothers, sisters, and allies are trying to leave to our daughters and beyond. The idea that they are not pioneers but rather that the space has already been created for them to succeed.”
Ultimately, there is a lot at stake—but our team is committed to empowering each other and we hope you’ll join us as we #EmbraceEquity to elevate women in technology this year and beyond.