As our country celebrates the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote, many of us can’t imagine a United States that would deny voice to half its citizens. Yet, as our president prepares to issue a proclamation designating August 26 as National Women’s Equality Day, as each president since Richard Nixon has done, one can’t help but wonder if the day has been misnamed. Women are grossly underrepresented in government, across the executive suite, and recent statistics show that although the pay gap is narrowing, women still only make 85% of what their male counterparts are paid. It begs the question: can we truly ever achieve equality? According to Susan Wojcicki, one of the tech industry’s greatest leaders, the answer is a resounding yes!—if we pay attention.
Current CEO of YouTube (owned by Google since 2006), Wojcicki started as Google’s 16th employee, and helped build the tech juggernaut to multi-billion dollar status. More importantly, however, she’s helping to break the glass ceiling of the tech world, and challenging us to think in terms of “how?” rather than simply, “what if?” In a Vanity Fair essay addressing the lack of female representation in the tech industry, Wojcicki states that while Human Resources departments play an integral role in creating a fairer work landscape, they must have the commitment and personal attention of workplace leaders to succeed. “It really needs to come from the top,” she says. “You need your entire management team to realize this is important—that we’re going to be a better, stronger team if we have diversity.” A large part of this, she argues, is paying attention to obstacles underrepresented groups face, then doing what you can to eliminate them. She offers two pieces of advice:
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Do you believe your organization could do more to create equality in the workforce? Have you made changes that are working? Please share your ideas and comments, below!