#EachforEqual is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day on March 8. To mark the event, I asked seven female colleagues to share their experiences. I was moved not only by their passion and insight, but also the fact that women with very different backgrounds and careers expressed so many common views. With apologies for compressing their rich contributions into just a handful of sentences and quotes, here are my observations on where we stand today in terms of gender equality, and the challenges ahead.
We’ve come a long way…
As a starting point, it’s heartening that the women we spoke to believe that real progress is being made.
“We are seeing women lead global mega conglomerates. The acceptance and, more importantly, the trust that women can do justice to and successfully lead such organizations has increased. This changes perceptions and will go a long way in helping women feel equally valued in the workplace.”
Priyanka Deshpande, Associate VP, Marketing, DesignTech Systems Pvt. Ltd India (Altair channel partner)
…but we’re not there yet
Barriers still need to be overcome. These include practical issues such as access to childcare and family-friendly company policies. And too many women still feel that they need to work harder to prove themselves, particularly in traditionally male-dominated tech industries.
“Unfortunately, it is still very much the case today that it is the woman who stays at home and takes care of children.”
Dr. Kamila Flidr, Key Account Manager, Eastern Europe, Altair
Stepping into the spotlight
Raising the profile of our women is widely regarded as a priority for Altair. Mentorship, networking, and providing women with opportunities to step into the spotlight as public speakers are all cited as important means of achieving this.
“It is very encouraging to see so many women empowerment initiatives happening at Altair. This is the first company I have worked at that is going the extra mile to ensure equality by raising awareness and coming up with mentorship programs.”
Anusha Rajshekar, Digital Marketing Analyst, Altair (India)
Staying true to ourselves
The struggle to remain authentic is another common theme. However, it’s encouraging that women increasingly feel they do not have to compromise or disguise their core values.
“My authentic self is an immigrant, a mother, and a woman in a highly technical role. And I embrace the facets of my identity that cause me to stick out.”
Annie Ma-Weaver, Head of HPC Partnerships, Google Cloud
Behind every great woman
Mothers, grandmothers, sisters, friends, colleagues and husbands emerge as inspiring figures in the lives of the women we spoke to. The support of those closest to us clearly has a powerful role to play.
“My mother, who is 79 years old, is my role model. She always worked hard, was very professional and had a passion for her job. This made a big impact on me.”
Jane Qian, Channel Director, Altair China
Jobs for the girls
The fight to get more women into tech-based careers starts at school. Engaging with STEM subjects at the earliest opportunity is key to overcoming the idea of ‘jobs for the boys.’
“In school, girls are still encouraged to fall back on topics such as communications, literature and languages. This is changing, but the progress still seems to be too slow.”
Evelyn Gebhardt, Senior Marketing Director, EMEA, Altair
Building networks, building bridges
Naturally I’m pleased to see widespread enthusiasm for my Altair women’s networking initiative. Equally welcome is the fact that Altair is seen as an environment that fosters gender equality. That’s a huge credit to everyone who works here – women and men.
“All of us – irrespective of gender – want to feel motivated, valued and appreciated. These factors directly contribute to workplace happiness and affect the performance and satisfaction levels of all employees.”
Priyanka Deshpande, Associate VP, Marketing, DesignTech Systems Pvt. Ltd India
Equality is a basic human right
Above all else, one message comes through loud and clear: equality is a basic human right. And we recognize that it’s about more than gender.
“Diversity and equality in the workplace means more than just gender representation or empowerment; organizations that truly promote equality and diversity focus on creating workforces that engage employees from different genders, cultures, ethnicities, backgrounds, ages and specialties.”
Monica Relli, Senior Director, Global Learning Programs, Altair
Please consider following and supporting this global campaign on your social media channels using #IWD2020 and #EachforEqual.