As I write this post, we are celebrating International Women’s Day (and did I mention Women’s History Month?). What memorable and valuable insights can I share today?
I can think of more insights that I will not share. Why is that?
- Look, I am just Some Guy. What the heck do I know about what it is like being a woman in the workforce? I do not want to pretend that I have any insights here. I may as well tell you what it is like being a fish.
- I am not a fan of virtue signaling or sanctimonious messages. Who would not be in favor of International Women’s Day? (Answer: There are groups out there that are not fans. They are wise enough to not publicize that fact.) Every organization with a communications department and social media arm is already out there proclaiming their support. That is a good thing, but I favor actions that accompany the words.
I will share this. I have worked with many women in nonprofit technology roles over the past 10+ years. I have enjoyed the experience. And I have learned from it.
What Have I Learned?
On this International Women’s Day, what have women taught me?
- I have learned to listen. I have expanded my definition of listening to go beyond when words begin and end. What do the silences mean? When is a woman inviting me to see things from her perspective?
- I have practiced being comfortable with silence. Maybe I am excited to share an answer (“the” answer as I see it). Are there other answers I have overlooked? Is there something I can learn here? Silence has a way of letting these alternative thoughts rise to the surface.
- I have tried to empathize with women in their roles at technology leaders. This has been tricky. I want to treat these women as No Different From Me. But they are different. They are not me. I want to acknowledge that difference. And then work past it.
What Can I Do to Support Women?
As I said earlier, I am going to skip the greeting card pablum this International Women’s Day.
I have written before that I believe in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Why? Because I believe that a diverse workforce builds resilience into organizational culture. DEI provides room for more points of view, which sparks innovation.
On this International Women’s Day, I prefer to spend more time looking ahead than looking at how far women have come. I saw this list from a tweet earlier today and wanted to share it. These all sound like constructive steps we can take to advance the cause of International Women’s Day. (Hat tip to @ValaAfshar at Salesforce.)
- Hire more women.
- Promote more women.
- Celebrate women leaders.
- Fund women entrepreneurs.
- Mentor more women.
- Sponsor more women.
- Equal pay for equal work.
- More women speakers.
- More women in tech.
- More women on panels.
- More women CEOs.
- More women on boards.
The winning team is the one that embraces women and values their contributions. It is the team I want to be on. As the people at Euronext have said, “Equal treatment is not just the right thing to do—it is the only thing to do.”