An open letter to the tech community: Do these 4 things to demand gender parity in boardrooms - Technical.ly DC

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Mar. 8, 2021 2:21 pm

An open letter to the tech community: Do these 4 things to demand gender parity in boardrooms

On International Women's Day, the nonprofit Girls in Tech calls for half of any board in the industry to include at least 50% women by 2025.
This is an open letter from board members of the San Francisco-based Girls in Tech, which has a D.C. chapter. The nonprofit is dedicated to eliminating the gender gap in tech.

Dear members of the tech community,

Women in the workplace will continue to be undervalued and underpaid until there is 50/50 gender parity in boardrooms. It’s time to demand Half the Board in the tech industry and put a deadline on it: Dec. 31, 2024.

It’s that simple.

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.

Change will only happen when disparities are corrected at the highest levels.

It starts with Half the Board and the pledge to end the gender disparity in tech boardrooms.

A recent McKinsey & Company study suggests that women exhibit leadership traits for tackling future global challenges at a higher rate than men. When examining the relative importance of these leadership traits, women were observed to outnumber men in frequently displaying inspiration, participative decision making, expectations and rewards, people development, and role modeling.

Globally, women make up less than 20% of boards. And women with Ph.D.s in mathematics and computer sciences report median salaries of $101,500, while men report $125,000.

Half the Board = no more empty promises.

True diversity in the boardroom is the only way to meaningfully improve work conditions and ensure equality for women and other underrepresented communities.

Please join Girls in Tech in calling on tech companies to commit to fixing their corporate board structure to comprise 50% or more women before 2025.

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That’s a little less than four years. The average board appointment term is eight years, so there are more than enough upcoming vacancies for companies to achieve this goal.

Gender parity in the boardroom will not happen on its own. We can’t do it without you.

Add your name now, make the pledge to Half the Board and help end systemic discrimination in tech boardrooms. Follow our progress on Twitter and LinkedIn. Then encourage your CEO, colleagues and friends to also make the pledge. Don’t be afraid to speak up and advocate for this important cause.

The Girls in Tech board members below have signed the “Half the Board” pledge in their personal capacity. We ask that you join us on this journey by adding your name.

The Half the Board pledge

Girls in Tech has outlined four easy things individuals can do immediately:

  • Approach your company’s CEO and board — by email, in a town hall or other appropriate forum — to respectfully encourage them to make the Half the Board pledge on behalf of the organization.
  • Write your governor and elected state officials asking them to propose legislation for the state’s appointed boards and committees to be composed of at least 50% women, as well as to create incentives for companies headquartered in your state so that there is positive reinforcement, not punitive measures, in reaching gender parity in boardrooms
  • Share the pledge with friends and colleagues, and ask them to put their words into action by making the pledge and working within their organizations to make the 50/50 by 2025 goal.
  • Partner with your company’s leaders and offer input on the strategies, processes, policies and tools needed for the company to reach the 50/50 by 2025 deadline.

Girls in Tech is asking organizations to pledge to:

  • Thoughtfully and passionately advocate with fellow leaders within the company to make the Half the Board pledge and create a viable plan for achieving the 50/50 by 2025 goal.
  • Reassure employees that they will not be penalized for speaking out about injustices. Women’s views must be respected and appropriately acted upon, and top leaders must consistently and forcefully reinforce the ethical and business need for representation that is intersectional and inclusive of all overlooked and nontraditional groups.
  • Foster environments that actively encourage constructive dissent. Embracing openness is critical to identifying, and ultimately addressing, concerning situations. Commit to not punishing individuals who speak up to help identify problems. Commit to being open and transparent in how the situation will be addressed.
  • Plan in advance for upcoming board vacancies by proactively identifying, recruiting and training women and nontraditional leaders for future election to the board.

To make the Half the Board pledge and help end systemic gender discrimination in tech boardrooms, visit HalftheBoard.com.

The Girls in Tech board members below have signed the “Half the Board” pledge in their personal capacity. We ask that you join us on this journey by adding your name.

With gratitude,

  • Adriana Gascoigne — CEO and founder, Girls in Tech
  • Sandy Carter* — Chairman of the board, Girls in Tech
  • Jonathan Abrams* — Member of the board, Girls in Tech
  • Donna Boyer* — Member of the board, Girls in Tech
  • Sastry Durvasula* — Member of the board, Girls in Tech
  • Julie Mathis* — Member of the board, Girls in Tech
  • Sanjay Mehta* — Member of the board, Girls in Tech
  • Raquel Tamez* — CEO, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
  • Alyson Welch* — Member of the board, Girls in Tech

*Individuals have signed the “Half the Board” pledge in a personal capacity and their participation does not necessarily reflect the views or participation of the organizations for which they work.

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