As the Canadian tech industry continues to underrepresent women, an issue the pandemic only exacerbated, it’s important to celebrate female voices in the industry. In Canada, there continues to be inequities as this demographic is largely underrepresented among Canada’s largest sectors.
Less than 25% of all C-suite executives are women, only 4% identifying as women of colour and as recently reported, women were only 52 of the 533 named executive officers among Canada’s 100 largest publicly traded corporations in 2021.
The progress made for women at the executive officer level needs to continue to be spotlighted as the numbers are abysmal for “visible minorities” such as women, specifically, women of colour. While International Women’s Day does just that, how can we honour these voices year-round and create an industry that offers women greater space?
This year, Techcouver spoke with 5 members of the tech industry who are driving representation as leaders in their fields and carving a new path for the next generation of female leaders. Here’s what they have to say.
Bahar Miraftab, Director of Marketing and Communications at Sonderly
“IWD gives us an opportunity to reflect on the leadership of women and honour the incredible work of female leaders, while also spotlighting female role models to young girls.
At Sonderly, we educate awareness of not only cultural, but also internal bias through providing a platform for children with mental health and ASD. Women to this day still shy away from tech and sales industries due to lack of diversity and inclusion. We must put women on the same level as their successors, but also provide a safe space to properly address any concerns related to one’s identity.”
Tiffany Jung, COO of Commit
“IWD is an opportunity to celebrate women and our achievements, individually and collectively, as well as a needed reminder to ourselves and our allies that we still have work to do to #breakthebias.
Commit is a remote-first tech company that is spearheading company culture innovation to empower female voices. We focus on flexibility and default trust through our inclusive atmosphere (40% self identifying as women, 50% self identifying as a visible minority) to attract and retain women at all levels. At Commit, I make a point of speaking up for myself and other women to model what empowerment looks like with our CEO, Greg Gunn, following my lead in allyship.”
Shir Magen, CEO of HomeStars
“International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of women and our efforts to empower women year-round.
It’s also a time to reflect and give thanks to the bold and brave women before us who, with no representation to strive towards, still forged the path to their own success.
At HomeStars, we empower women’s voices by ensuring women and people from other marginalized groups have equal opportunities to thrive, develop and rise within our organization. As a leader, it’s important to me that women don’t fear being penalized or passed over for a promotion because of maternity leave, or feel like they have to choose between their families and work.
This approach is why women proudly make up 60% of our HomeStars leadership team.”
Alice Davidson, Chief Legal Officer at Mogo
“This year’s IWD theme of #BreakingtheBias demonstrates gender inequality continues to prevail, and there’s more work to be done.
When it comes to supporting female voices in the workplace, I can’t emphasize the significance of mentorship enough. I’ve been fortunate to have had an incredibly supportive female mentor throughout my career and have always vowed to pay it forward.
It’s also important to elevate women’s work as most are reluctant to self-promote. Women’s voices need to be further amplified by highlighting accomplishments, and supporting them in achieving their goals.
At Mogo, we’ve always celebrated our Fempire as a group of results-driven female leaders who get the job done. I’m proud to say we’ve created a workplace that empowers and listens to women.”
Katie Stevens, Managing Partner at Talk Shop Media
“To me, International Women’s Day is a day to reflect on the women who have come before us, and the women who are yet to come.
At Talk Shop, 87 per cent of our team identify as women. It’s a day to celebrate our team that was built by women, built on women, and built for women. It’s a moment to recognize the power in women and stand in solidarity with others around the globe.
It’s also a time to uplift other marginalized groups in the pursuit of true equity and inclusivity. It’s a chance to acknowledge the progress made, but the long journey that lies ahead.”