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Empowering everyone: How Fearless champions women with inclusive policies for all

The Baltimore-based software company believes that when no one is made to feel "other," the whole company thrives.

The Fearless team. (Courtesy Fearless)

This is a sponsored guest post from Fearless. Fearless is a Company Builder client.

The tech world — and the corporate work environment in general — have long grappled with a glaring gender disparity, with women persistently underrepresented and facing systemic hurdles.

The influences of unconscious bias, lack of role models, and family-unfriendly policies create an insidious mix that whittles away at retention and prevents women from reaching their full potential. However, I’ve also witnessed how companies taking a proactive, multifaceted approach can reshape this narrative.

By intentionally fostering an inclusive culture that celebrates and empowers women, the technology industry has an immense opportunity to unleash a vital source of innovation, perspective and leadership.

Creating an environment where women feel truly supported and empowered needs to be a top priority for organizations committed to developing and retaining female tech talent. In my nearly four years at Fearless, I’ve seen the company put a concerted effort into cultivating this.

It goes beyond just talking about gender diversity or having a few women in leadership roles, though representation does send a powerful signal. Fearless’ executive leadership team is stacked with impressive women breaking through ceilings — Digital President Alka Bhave, Chief People Ops Officer Tracy Curry and Chief Brand Officer Bethany Halteman. Their presence signals an environment where women’s voices and ambitions are truly valued.

The company embraces a goal of 50/50 gender parity, making it clear women unequivocally belong. We believe representation matters across all departments, and work daily to achieve our goal to have woman-identifying people make up half our overall team.

Learn more about Fearless

Actioning a vision

A goal is nice, but meaningless if you don’t have a plan and path to achieve it.

Businesses must put sustained action behind their inclusive vision, and develop policies that holistically support the needs of their entire diverse workforce — not separating women into an “other” category.

Fearless crafts initiatives that benefit everyone’s hybrid lifestyles, family situations and professional growth.

The most progressive companies understand this. They implement family-friendly policies like generous paid family and medical leave — not just maternity leave, which can single out new mothers.

Around 9 of 10 fathers in the US take some time off work for the birth or adoption of a child, per Department of Labor statistics, which is fantastic. But 70% of them take 10 days of leave or less — not fantastic. Other studies have found fathers who reduce their work hours or leave work for family reasons may incur a “flexibility stigma.”

Offering flexible work arrangements helps all employees, parents or not, integrate their professional and personal lives seamlessly.

When no one is made to feel “other,” we all can thrive.

In 2024, Fearless started offering up to 12 weeks of fully paid family and medical leave for welcoming a new child into your family, caring for an immediate family member with a serious health condition or caring for your own serious health condition. This benefit is an expansion of the parental leave we previously and still do offer.

Invest in your people

We take people’s careers seriously and support them beyond the role they are in today.

Each year, we invest in our teammates’ professional and personal growth by providing a budget of up to $1,500 to put towards classes, travel, conferences and materials, plus unlimited access to LinkedIn Learning and discounts on certain programs at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

We’ve created opportunities for mentorship and goal setting to support career growth at Fearless at all levels.

Robust internship programs are a great way to invest in future female leaders. I run Fearless’ summer internship program (applications are open through April 8 — apply here!). Nationally, fewer than one-third of interns are BIPOC, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. At Fearless, 80% of past interns were BIPOC, and 46% identify as female.

Not only do we invest in great talent and we also want to keep them to continue their growth at Fearless. Currently, 60% of our interns that converted to full-time hires are women.

Our 10-week paid program provides college students and recent graduates with real-world experience in and knowledge of the government tech industry. It offers a full-time, paid, hybrid summer internship that will give you not just technical skills, but a broad variety of professional skills, such as interviewing, creating resumes, and networking for job readiness.

Creating spaces

Where Fearless directly celebrates women is through empowering internal initiatives that bring us together as a community.

The monthly “Women in Tech” sessions hosted by Engineering Lead Parissa Eggleston create a safe space to share perspectives and advice on issues we uniquely face. The “Ladies of Fearless” Slack channel allows us to converge, celebrate each other’s wins and inspire collectively.

These dedicated spaces are critical because dismantling systemic hurdles takes a village of supportive voices. I’ve witnessed the impact firsthand through my work helping onboard our future female tech talent as an intern coordinator — providing hands-on skills training, mentorship and a powerful sisterhood.

No workplace is perfect, but I’ve found an authentically inclusive culture at Fearless. One where my voice is amplified, not subdued. Where my ambition is propelled by policies benefiting everyone’s multifaceted lives and identities. Where accepting anyone’s true self as an asset is core to driving innovation.

Learn more about Fearless

Companies: Fearless

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