Since Susan Fowler’s account about her time at Uber was published last month, I’ve been thinking a ton about women in the workplace. I feel like I’m doing a good job of supporting women at both Zenman and our sister company, Bigfoot Web. Our web development team is made up of 75% women (100% at Bigfoot), and 50% of Zenman (and Bigfoot) are women, stats that I’m very proud of. We have an industry-leading maternity leave (16 weeks), flex scheduling for moms, and a monthly Girl Power Lunch to talk about how we can empower and support each other. While we may be doing better than some, it’s not enough until our entire industry and the world at large are on the same page. Fowler’s post reminded me that there is still a much larger conversation to be had, and every single company needs to be having it.
I’ll admit, I’ve been very fortunate in my career trajectory to not have run into acute gender stereotyping or harassment. I’ve been supported by my peers and doors have been open to me based on my work ethic and talent without regard to my gender. Keith Roberts, Zenman’s founder, has been one of my biggest champions, giving me opportunity, support, and trust that has allowed me to excel. In turn, I am determined to create and maintain an environment at both Zenman and Bigfoot that hires the best of the best, and supports all team members equally. Because of this, it never occurs to me that women could possibly be considered different than, or less than, or anything other than equal. It shocks me when women have a much different experience and equality is not the case.
Recently, a colleague from another company in our shared workspace told me a story about an interaction with a client and team member that left her in tears, questioning her self worth. I was angry that harassment could be happening in the same building where I work so hard to create an example of equality and fairness. In that moment I realized: Being an example is not enough. It’s merely a start. As a human being, not just a woman, it’s a requirement to champion equality in every aspect of our lives until it’s no longer a question.
I work every day with a team that is innovative, passionate, and the hardest workers in the business. Their drive is only surpassed by their talent, and half of them are women. It’s an awesome place to work and it’s important to me that both Zenman and Bigfoot set an example of the value and power that equality brings to the workplace.
I am super proud of our teams and am now committed more than ever to make sure that the equality conversation doesn’t end with only setting a good example, but extends to helping other companies that may be missing the mark. What does that look like? The first thing I’m doing is looking for an expert in these issues to come and give a talk for our whole workspace. Know of someone I should call? Please share. Stay tuned for our plan to make sure we’re doing all we can to make equality a given.