It’s International Women’s Day, and some of the amazing women who work at Envato took the time to reflect on the occasion.
How it’s impacting their lives and careers, what challenges they’re facing, and where the opportunities are.
We’re also proud to take the #pledgeforparity at the heart of this years celebrations.
Anthony and Fabiano are among the men at Envato committed to working as allies for parity and equity for their female colleagues.
Kate Hunter, our Organic Search Manager, is experiencing the pipeline problem first hand.
“I’m trying to build a brand new team but only 5% of my applicants are women and none were able to be progressed past first round interviews,” she says.
“I want to feel I’ve done my due diligence before hiring, and hire equitably. But not having a single female candidate makes me feel I’ve not done enough. We need more.”
Selina Ife, Envato’s Communications Specialist has recently returned to work after having her first child.
“The world isn’t currently geared towards working parents,” she explains.
“Childcare is expensive, so it’s easy to see why many women and families would feel it’s in their best interest financially to stay at home with their children, which leads to (mainly) women retiring without enough retirement savings.
“Childcare workers generally aren’t paid particularly well, yet they are what keeps economies moving – without them a huge percentage of people cannot work!
“If you want to stay at home with your children there’s a limited amount of time you can take off from work before you risk backtracking steps in your career. So at some point families have to make a whole lot of choices that are really hard and you feel very conflicted about what is ‘right’ for yourself and your family.
“All of this relates as much to men as women, but it seems to be the women who bear the brunt!”
Yet Selina also see rich opportunities.
“We’re seeing great role models from women working in technology, who are showing that being a woman (and having a family) aren’t necessarily barriers to success and making an impact,” says Selina.
“Technology is also helping improve our capacity for flexible working, which helps women and men manage family needs around work needs and protect their careers.
“The democratisation of learning that technology has also supported has given women the freedom to learn skills from their home that can help them get into careers that wouldn’t be otherwise available – and to earn an income from a home or remote environment. And that income flow can start to change everything.”
Our co-founder Cyan T’aeed is optimistic about the future and stresses the importance of putting yourself out there as a women in business and technology.
“I know of so many exciting initiatives geared towards getting young women into tech – organisations like Code Club, Code The Future, RoboGals, and even Just Start IT get young women excited and engaged with tech and tech entrepreneurship,” she says.
“I feel really hopeful that we’re going to be flooded with amazing diverse talent in the next five to 10 years. That’s incredibly important because it is estimated that more than five million jobs will disappear in Australia in the next 10 to 15 years due to technological advancements. We will, however, see new employment opportunities in STEM, so the work these organisations are doing is truly critical to women and society overall.
Girls in Tech founder Adriana Gascoigne at an Envato Women in Tech mixer in February 2016
“Our challenge is to do everything we can to encourage young women and other diverse groups into STEM. As companies we need to become truly inclusive. As individuals, I think the biggest thing we can do is to show up to events, take on speaking gigs, say yes to management roles, participate in hack-a-thons, be on that panel, mentor, advocate, and be heard. I didn’t show up for years because I didn’t feel like I was skilled or confident enough. It seems like a lot of us feel like that. But young women need to see more examples of women in tech. They need to be included, supported, and inspired. No matter what stage we’re at, that is something we can all start to do right now.”
Envato Community Manager Natalia Manidis also calls out the scarcity of accessible women role models at both the peer and senior levels.
“These women are so crucial not just for highlighting what’s possible, but also providing invaluable support – be it in the form of advice, encouragement or eye-opening insights.
“For example, I had one of my most significant aha! moments when a former female manager told me about women’s tendency to self-select out of the hiring process (women only apply if they meet 100% of the qualifications compared to 60% for men). This powerful little stat made me rethink not only my approach to job hunting but the entire structure within which we’re operating.”
Fiorella Rizza, who works as Digital Content Producer at Envato, also stresses the importance of interrogating assumptions about yourself and the world.
“Look at the great examples we have, at Envato and in the tech industry overall, of women turning challenges into opportunities. They all have one thing in common. They didn’t wait for someone to hand them the opportunity, they just thought they’d be able to give it a try.
“You might find out that the greatest challenge you are facing as a woman lies within you, and it’s all about how you perceive yourself. Sometimes we don’t see the opportunities around us because we just don’t believe we’ll be able to seize them. Turning a challenge into an opportunity means, to me, starting on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. The more aware I become of my strengths, the more I am able to find great opportunities – at work and in life in general.”
Digital Marketing Specialist Rebecca Chen says self-perception has an outward impact.
“I think one of the biggest challenges for women is to change perceptions, that women aren’t as good at things certain things, and/or are better at other things than men – whether it be STEM, cooking or driving. But the only way to change the perception, is of course, to take everyone along for the ride; regardless of gender identity, age or race.”
Envato’s Quality Media Specialist Kate McInnes drops this awesome thought-bomb.
“When I was growing up, we would observe International Women’s Day at school. It was celebrated with discussions about career prospects and how to ‘break the glass ceiling’. 16 years later, we’re still talking about the same issues. Inclusive workplaces shouldn’t begin and end with attractive maternity leave packages and better representation of women in management. It’s a great starting point, but it shouldn’t be the end game.
“From my perspective, the collective unconscious is still looking at women as married mothers and often overlooks the complexity of life. The big question is, how can we make every day better for all women? What does a post-patriarchal workplace look like? How can I, as a woman, contribute to and encourage improvements for the benefit of all?
“I’m a proud ally of the LGBTI community. When we talk about making the workplace better for women we cannot overlook other social factors. We need to widen the discussion to be a better workplace for all people. Women are many things at once, and intersectionality is vital to the discussion of modern women’s issues. If we don’t look at the bigger picture, I’m afraid that the only advancement for women will be to the benefit of a very specific kind of woman. The advancement of women is about removing the divide between people who benefit from the status quo and people who don’t, men included.
“Women in technology should not be viewed only as women who are developers. It sets up a narrow view of the industry. Technology is arguably the biggest change to the global economy since the industrial revolution. We need diverse representation in all areas of technology, from development to management, support, growth and strategy. Focusing solely on women in development roles sets up a system that is advancing the career prospects of those who want to – and have been – lucky enough to study in the field of computer programming. Doing this could further widen the gap between the haves and have-nots.
“Companies in the tech space have an opportunity to draw up the blueprints for a better working environment for all people in all departments, which in turn has a flow on effect to all industries. On the whole, tech as an industry has an appetite to do better, and that’s one of the most exciting things about working in this space.”
I’m with Kate. While we can’t drop the ball on the smaller stuff (cumulatively it is – and needs to continue – making a difference), it frustrates me that the conversation around women in technology and the workplace can be very narrow. Women aren’t one thing and conversations about women in economic contexts or the tech sector can’t risk ghettoising themselves by focusing on a single need or archetype. What about female CEOs? What about women who lead teams? How can we work together with male allies to shake off the unconscious and, sadly, conscious bias that persists when those women step up to do their job.
And just as we ask others to, we need to check our own privilege and remember that many women around the world are focused on simply staying alive.
How can we bring those women with us on the journey?
Envato Events Specialist Meegan Jia-Good says IWD is the perfect catalyst to have proactive conversations.
“Today is a great opportunity to reflect on our own personal journey and talk about it openly. Do we feel connected, included and equal to our male colleagues? Have we positioned ourselves for success in our jobs? What can we do today to move one step closer to our career goals?
“Be encouraged and inspired by other successful and happy women in your life and celebrate them today.”
Happy International Women’s Day to our Envato team all over the world, our community, and to the women changing the world everyday, not just today.
You may also like: Envato named Coolest Company for Women
Photos: Steven Zwerink, Valerie Everett, Chany Crystal, Daniel Gregoric.