As we continue to read about the global pandemic's disproportionate impact on women, one group has said enough is enough when it comes to promises of gender parity and instead seeks fast change at the very top.
Girls in Tech, a nonprofit looking to narrow gender disparities in the tech sector, says change won’t come unless there is a shakeup in boardrooms across the U.S.
Here’s the organization’s gender parity ask of the American tech sector: Ensure that at least half of these companies’ board members are women, and follow through with such change by the end of 2024.
“Empty statements and performative initiatives will never erase the systemic institutional bias holding women back in the workplace. For too long, the business world — and particularly the tech sector — have stymied efforts to allow women to the top of the corporate ladder,” Girls in Tech wrote in an open letter posted earlier this week.
From this group’s perspective, lasting change cannot occur without rapid structural change. Women will continue to be underpaid and undervalued as long as a company’s leadership is made up of mostly men, the group asserts.
Most estimates suggest women currently make up 30 percent of boards of directors in the U.S. There has been an uptick in women’s representation over the past few years, but that percentage is pretty close to the salary gap many women in working science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields face. One study concluded that women in these field earn about 25 percent less than men on average while performing the same work.
But this quest is not only about addressing unfair pay, according to Girls in Tech. The group also cited research from one of its partners, the global consultancy McKinsey & Co., which in a recent report posits that gender diversity is a policy that can help a company build a competitive advantage. The benefits of having more women leaders run the gamut from increased mentorship and role modeling to more inclusive decision-making, the report found.
As for the short deadline, Girls in Tech suggests this time frame for tackling gender parity in America’s boardrooms is actually generous. “The average board appointment term is eight years, so there are more than enough upcoming vacancies for tech companies to achieve this goal,” the group concluded in its letter.
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Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010, and became its Executive Editor in 2018. He's based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas. He's lived in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He's an alum of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California.