IWD is a chance to celebrate women’s achievements and to encourage taking action against gender inequality around the world. As a woman working in tech and as a mother, I want to express my thoughts on IWD’s campaign theme of Embracing Equity. Embracing Equity is a global movement that brings together individuals, organizations and communities to create a world where all people can live in dignity and freedom.
While equality means everyone is given the same resources and opportunities, equity calls attention to the idea of fairness and justice in society, where individuals are given what they need to succeed. It's about recognizing the potential of everyone to contribute to the betterment of our society and our world.
At the individual level, embracing equity starts with personal reflection and a willingness to challenge one's own biases and assumptions. This can involve education and awareness-raising around the issues of inequity in our society by actively seeking out diverse perspectives and engaging in meaningful dialogue with those who hold different views and that have different life experiences.
This day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity and diversity. Equity in representation is more than a moral issue. There are a number of studies1 that have shown that companies with more diverse teams perform better2 than those with less diversity.
As a woman, I have seen this inequality in many stages of my life, including seeing very few women in higher management throughout my career. In my experience, women can do a lot if they get the support and encouragement they need and deserve. Throughout my career in the technology industry, there were often times I was the only women, or one of a handful of women, on large IT team. During my tenure at these previous organizations, I would be one of the last to get promoted, regardless of the quality of my work or long hours I devoted to the job.
My promotions and compensations were impacted because of maternity leave, or the concern of a few managers that I was not as committed to my job due to the need to take care of my kids or just by being female. Throughout this time, I felt like I was excelling at balancing my workload while raising my children. My work was very appreciated but not awarded nor rewarded.
The past experiences taught me a lot about inequalities women often face in the workplace. It was clear to me that my professional growth was being impacted by an incorrect perception of my capabilities or career path desires. The fear that my commitment to the job would be impacted by motherhood.
As I started my career at KIOXIA, these past experiences motivated me to be more proactive and firm in my career goals. I started discussing my aspirations with my managers and fought for bigger challenges and opportunities. Luckily, I am now in a position where my dedication was appreciated, and my ability to balance work and motherhood was not questioned.
It’s important that we as women recognize that we are strong, mentally capable and are excellent at multi-tasking. By joining the LeadHERs affinity group at KIOXIA, I have also been able to gain so much knowledge from my fellow members, guest speakers and outside learning opportunities. We need to take on new challenges and seek help from different groups and mentors when we need it along the way. We should be ready to actively speak in meetings, seek new challenges and ask for opportunities that help expand our own personal and professional growth. It could even be volunteering to write your first blog. With encouragement from friends and colleagues, like that of my LeadHERs group, I was able to do just that.
We know there are countless ways to get involved in Embracing Equity — from participating in an event, volunteering your time or money, or taking action on important issues facing women, girls, and other individuals deserving greater equity around the globe. Embracing equity is about creating a world where everyone has an equal chance to succeed and thrive. It requires acknowledging and addressing systemic barriers, valuing diverse perspectives, and engaging in ongoing self-reflection and action. By working towards equity, we can build a more inclusive, fair, and just society for all.