The fact that we still mark International Women's Day, means women still have much to fight for. In some areas of the world it's the right to vote, drive and work. In others it's the right to make decisions about their body, expect equal pay, and have a voice in how the world is being shaped.
As a child, I had no idea that I was growing up in a world where I was not equal. It simply never crossed my mind. The young don't see inequality. There is of course an awakening, as a teen, through school, and then in later years when I entered the workforce and found my employers were consistently men, and that my salary at various points was lower than that of my male colleagues. It seemed an unfair battle to wage, and one that has been fought by women long before me, who continue to slowly but surely change the world.
Role models and mentors are key
There is no shortage of extraordinary men who have mentored women. Plank is led by two wonderful male leaders who have ensured their team is diverse, and that equal pay for equal work is clear and transparent. At Plank, almost 50% of people including backend and frontend developers, designers, directors and project managers are women. To say that's unusual in the tech industry, would be an understatement.
I was extremely grateful to join Plank as its first marketing and communications director. My voice is a new one in the leadership of the company, and I feel that it is valued. As Plank grows, it continues to strive for diversity, and that commitment should be emulated by others in the industry.
I am also supported as I seek out the company of other women leaders to exchange, engage and learn with them. There is something about the shared experience of being a woman that offers a unique perspective. Differences that should be celebrated and encouraged. With few role models during my early working years (but strong and beautiful colleagues!), I vowed to offer young women all the advice, encouragement and compassion that I could. I truly believe that you give back what you are given, and I hope that will continue on down through the generations. It's important that women in particular learn early on, that encouraging each other, not competing with each other, makes us all better. Showing young women what's possible instills hope, and hope is a very powerful force.
Leaders of the future
While the percentage of women working in tech is still far too low, the number of leaders is even lower. There are still far too many companies led by men alone. Too few entrepreneurs, CEOs and leaders are women, and women's voices are painfully absent from boards and decision making entities. Encouraging young women to explore and engage within this industry is crucial moving forward, to bridge that divide and provide a more balanced, equal industry for us all. Everyone benefits when there are more diverse voices, no one loses when equality is a priority.
The theme of Equality for this year's International Women's Day, is an opportunity to highlight what should have been ours all along. It's an opportunity to collectively shout, as loudly as possible, for change. Change on so many fronts, including encouraging women to explore tech, promoting them as leaders and allowing the youngest among us to grow up in a world without boundries.
Happy International Women's Day from all of us at Plank.