Tech leaders share their thoughts on this year’s International Women’s day theme—#BreaktheBias—and how we can break biases in the workplace.
industrytoday.com, March 9, 2022
Regardless of the promises of equality echoing throughout the headlines for International Women’s Day, there is still a lot of work to be done to eliminate gender disparities.
Juniper Emnett, product manager at Wisetail
“For a long time, through many different fights for equality, the responsibility to strive for change is often put on the group that’s facing oppression. However, the biggest impact often comes when those with privilege set it aside and focus on making changes in their own minds and communities. #BreaktheBias is a call-to-action for those who hold biases or recognize them in organizations and take the responsibility to right the ship.
At Wisetail, one way we break the bias is ensuring that all team members are offered time off and support for things that have previously been characterized as ‘women specific.’ Things like doctors appointments, sporting events or school commitments have flexibility for all genders, and Wisetail empowers all employees to be the best parents, partners and valuable participants in their communities that they can be.
It takes work and intention to break habits, biases and thought patterns that view people who aren’t like you as less valuable, less worthy, or less qualified. It’s uncomfortable work that can initially leave you feeling ashamed of past behaviors and beliefs, but persist, because a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination is a bright light at the end of that tunnel.”
Ryan White, director of client success, Wisetail
“To me, #BreaktheBias starts with allyship and accountability. As we celebrate this years’ International Women’s Day, it’s more important than ever to adopt practices and attitudes that help to eliminate gender bias. This means, we must hold ourselves accountable for treating all of our colleagues the same regardless of gender and create opportunities for individuals based upon merit. We also must ensure responsibilities and pay are offered equally to everyone who is qualified and diverse opinions are celebrated and encouraged.
Throughout my career, I’ve worked with and for many amazing female leaders, and the perspective they bring to the workforce is invaluable. Having diverse teams with differing backgrounds leads to true synergy and drives innovation. Without including those who bring different life experiences and levels of expertise, companies will be putting themselves at a disadvantage without realizing it.”
Ali Knapp, president at Wisetail
“As this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #BreaktheBias calls for a world where female voices are amplified, celebrated and valued. Our backgrounds, education, culture and experiences all create and influence biases, so we must continually challenge ourselves to recognize and question how we can make influential change. The strongest way to #BreaktheBias is to focus on decision-making and how we can organizationally build processes that mitigate bias in the workplace.
We have to bring critical awareness to existing biases in the workplace such as hiring, promotions and evaluations. This awareness can then drive process improvement to create criteria driven measures. Creating accountability among all employees is another key part of enacting change in the decision-making process. At Wisetail, we are a team that values diversity as we continually seek out viewpoints and experiences different from our own while centering empathy on our quest to uncover and solve problems.
At the end of the day, whether it’s work life or home life, it’s all life. We’re all humans and we bring our humanity, bias and backgrounds into our places of employment. Awareness and education only reach so far before actionable steps must be taken. No matter what level you are, holding yourself accountable and making sure your bias doesn’t affect your decision making is a critical step in preventing gender bias.”