SAN FRANCISCO, March 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Girls in Tech, a global nonprofit working to erase the gender gap in tech, calls upon organizations to commit to gender parity in their boardrooms by 2025. Half the Board: 50/50 by 2025 asks organizations and individuals to commit to taking action to ensure women comprise at least 50 percent of corporate boards in the technology industry. The campaign launched today as part of the organization's efforts supporting Women's History Month and International Women's Day.
A recent McKinsey & Company study found that women, more frequently than men, exhibit leadership traits that are highly applicable to future global challenges, including displaying inspiration, participative decision making, expectations and rewards, people development, and role modeling. Furthermore, another McKinsey & Company report finds "gender diversity is correlated with both profitability and value creation." Both reports demonstrate the necessity of companies to add women to the boardroom, both for the sake of fairness and the well-documented, positive financial impact on the bottom line that comes with diverse workplaces.
Compounding historical obstacles facing women in tech are new challenges brought by the global COVID-19 pandemic that risk eliminating decades worth of progress in the gender equality movement. The soon-to-be-released Girls in Tech 2021 study, "The Tech Workplace for Women in the Pandemic," found alarmingly high rates of burnout among working women with male bosses, with 85% of female respondents working at organizations where the top executive is male reporting being burned out, compared to just 15% where the top executive is female.
It's become clear that the problems can only be fixed at the highest levels and that starts with Half the Board, and erasing gender disparity in tech boardrooms by Dec. 31, 2024.
"Systemic institutional bias has held women back from the boardroom far too long," said Adriana Gascoigne, founder and Chief Executive Officer, Girls in Tech. "We must not relent until employers take actionable behavior to achieve true equality for women. The business world, and particularly the tech sector, have stymied efforts to allow women to the top of the corporate ladder. We need to do more to support women in the workplace, and Half the Board marks the beginning of accountable advocacy."
The Half the Board open letter to the tech community:
March 8, 2021
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: December 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.
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 by December 31, 2024.
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.
Adriana Gascoigne Chief Executive Officer 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* Chief Executive Officer, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)
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.
The Half the Board pledge:
Girls in Tech has outlined three 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 www.HalftheBoard.com.
About Girls in Tech Girls in Tech is a global non-profit that works to erase the gender gap in tech. Today, every industry is a tech industry, with a need for people of all skills and backgrounds. We offer education and experiences to help people discover their unique superpower and hone it. We aim to see every person accepted, confident, and valued in tech—just as they are.
The Girls in Tech board of directors is chaired by Sandy Carter, VP, AWS WWPS Partners and Programs, and composed of Jonathan Abrams, Co-founder and General Partner of 8-Bit Capital; Donna Boyer, SVP Product at Teladoc Health; Janice Bryant Howroyd, ActOne Founder & CEO; Candi Castleberry Singleton, Twitter Vice President of Diversity Partnership Strategy & Engagement; Kim DeCarlis, CMO of PerimeterX; Laura Drabik, Guidewire Software Chief Evangelist; Sastry Durvasula, Global Chief Technology and Digital Officer, McKinsey & Company; Adriana Gascoigne, Founder and CEO, Girls in Tech; Mayumi Hiramatsu, VP at Amazon Web Services; Sanjay Mehta, Chief Cloud Officer, Tackle.io; Julie Mathis, Communications Lead, Girls in Tech; Darrell Mockus, CTO of The Myers-Briggs Company's Innovation Labs; Stephen Snyder, CFO at Addepar; Raquel Tamez, CEO of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers; Susie Wee, CTO at Cisco's DevNet; and Alyson Welch, VP of Sales at Twilio.