This week the world celebrated International Women’s Day to promote and forge a better and more equal and inclusive working world. Some individuals chose to pursue a “day without women,” during which women didn’t go to work (or perhaps worked from home) to highlight the huge impact women make on the workforce. Others hosted events, many wore red, and no matter how individuals or communities celebrated the day, the world was talking about an import topic: gender parity in the workplace.
In 2017 Greentown Labs launched an initiative to promote and facilitate a diverse and equitable community. In doing so, we’ve learned a lot. We know we have a long way to go before our community attains the large goals we’ve set out to achieve but we know if we involve our members, sponsors, key partners and other friends of Greentown Labs, we will move further, faster.
On Wednesday, Greentown Labs hosted a meet-up for members of our community to chat over appetizers and beverages about the challenges, barriers, successes and goals women on our team and on our member companies’ teams face—or achieve!—every day.
To ensure and respect our members’ anonymity, we won’t go into detail about the specific challenges they’re facing in the workplace. But in general, they shared that it’s challenging to be the only woman on an otherwise all-male team; that it’s difficult to find female mentors in their industries because the few women who have reached a high level in the industry are often too busy being pulled in a million directions; and they’d like to be more involved in the hiring process to encourage more diversity on their teams.
We also used our meet-up time to talk about things that have helped them as women in the tech workforce. They shared some excellent tips:
- Secure allies who support and understand your value;
- Use articles/expert advice to educate and share knowledge about women’s rights and value in the workplace;
- Be a champion for one another, check in with other women, serve as a mentor, and provide feedback—both celebratory and constructive;
- Find mentors who are male and learn from their experiences and insights about how to best interact with male colleagues in the workplace; and
- Speak up early and often when it comes to diversity and encouraging your teams to be committed—and remain committed—to increasing company diversity.
And finally, we brainstormed some ways to encourage more women to enter the tech industry, ultimately helping move the needle for the workforce at large. Here’s what we’re working on:
- Facilitating more STEM events and mentorship opportunities to continue encouraging the next generation of women in this industry’s workforce;
- Coordinating more conversations and roundtable discussions with women in tech who have achieved leadership roles so we can all learn from their experiences;
- Pushing to be more involved in the recruitment and interview process; and
- Being an active participant in conversations on this topic and encouraging more open communication among teams to help move us all towards a more equitable workforce.
What did you do to celebrate International Women’s Day? Share with us @GreentownLabs. Cheers to a more diverse, inclusive and equal workforce…onward!