How to Empower Women in Tech This International Women's Day
Tech needs more women.
At Torii, we know that the lack of gender diversity in the tech industry is not just an ethical issue; it's also a business issue. It is essential to bring more women, their strengths, and their ideas into modern tech to create better products, drive innovation, and achieve sustainable growth.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality. This year's theme is aligned with the priority theme for the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-67), “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.” In addition, IWD 2023 will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities.
At Torii, a SaaS tech company, we know that change doesn’t just happen. It requires time, attention, and intention. So here are three things we believe contribute to an inclusive and gender-equitable workplace.
3 Components For An Inclusive and Gender-Equitable Workplace
Is your company fully inclusive? Probably not, and that’s ok. No workplace is perfect, but every workplace should work towards continuous improvement. Simply ask yourself a question:
“Is our company more welcoming to women today than it was yesterday?”
How about last month? Last year? Ask yourself those questions regularly.
However, don’t forget the data!
Continuously compare the data of your organization to national and industry averages. For example, while 47% of the United States workforce is comprised of women, women only hold 26.7% of tech-related jobs. And those numbers don’t improve much up the corporate ladder. At the top-tech companies, women hold only about 30% of leadership positions.
At Torii, we constantly track our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) numbers to keep ourselves honest. For example, women make up 42% of our company. However, we also know that 77% of our Directors are women as well. We regularly track promotion rates and the gender ratio at a department level to maintain awareness.
The point of these numbers is not to make everything “even” but to keep ourselves honest and look for potential patterns of bias that can quickly emerge.
Ask yourself, “does the story I tell myself match reality?”
A resource can be access to expertise, recurring speaker events, and training around topics of DEI. A company that invests in resources demonstrates priorities to the entire company and supports those who might feel underrepresented at a different company.
For example, this month, Torii is hosting Tzameret Fuerst to share her renowned keynote, Vision, meet RealityTM about turning aspirational vision into an impactful reality.
It is vital to create safe spaces in the workplace for women—a place where women can talk, share, and mentor one another. At Torii, we created a Womens+ Employee Resource Group (ERG). This group is voluntary and employee-led. We come together to talk about anything and give back to younger women pursuing a future in STEM and tech companies overall, whether in sales, product management, engineering, customer experience, marketing, or finance roles.
Looking Forward: The Future
The workplace is one battleground for equality, but it’s not the first. The fight starts much earlier in a young person’s life.
At Torii, we recognize the impact of early access to technology. That’s why we’re collaborating with local groups by donating laptops and monitors to organizations focused on fostering young women in STEM. Along with mentorship programs, these efforts help provide access to knowledge and technology to empower the next generation of innovators regardless of their gender or socio-economic status.
We also recently hosted an event where we brought high school girls to our Torii office to discuss career paths within the tech industry and foster their passion for participating in the STEM world.
This International Women’s Day...
For many companies, DEI initiatives are a checkbox to tick—an obligation to fulfill. But for Torii and me, it is so much more. I remember moments, inflection points in my life, where the path to tech seemed closed to me and countless others. Today, on International Women's Day, we seize the opportunity to acknowledge our past and pave the way for an inclusive future. A future where no one is held back due to artificial boundaries, and everyone has the opportunity to become the next pioneer in history.