It’s terribly unfortunate that even in this day and age, women have yet to be completely incorporated in the tech world. The territory is still considered male-dominated, with women occupying less than 30% of tech jobs, according to the Huffington Post (July 2016). There’s a correlation there with a series of disturbing harassment cases that have been covered heavily by the media in the last few years. It’s clear that many women suffer from ongoing harassment and discrimination in their workplace.
From the corporate perspective, not only is this level of women-unfriendliness wrong from a moral perspective, it’s also bad business sense. Creating an environment that is unfriendly to half the population means passing over huge wells of talent. The tech companies that are able to build collaborative teams of happy people that spend their time focused on working together are the ones with the greatest power for lasting success. But what does an inclusive environment look like?
I have gathered a few of Kaltura’s female employees in tech-focused positions, and asked them what they think makes a friendly and productive workplace:
Danielle Filin, Solution Architect, 4.5 years with the Kaltura family:
“It might sound as I am stating the obvious, but my first thought would be equality in hiring, promoting, and day to day management.
To me, equality means evaluating employees on merits and performance. Focusing on the ‘What’ rather than on the ‘How’ means less emphasis on traditional business hours or working from the office. This allows each and every employee, men and women alike, to create work-life balance that accommodates personal schedule without affecting their careers.
In workplaces that do not allow this flexibility, more often than not the employees that are the first to be affected are women. As society expects women to take the lead on household chores and childcare we are sometimes setting women up to fail.
I believe that Kaltura’s global nature enables that flexibility, allowing employees to complete their tasks and do their job in a productive and effective manner.”
Rotem Haber, PS front-end OTT team leader, 2.5 years with the Kaltura family:
“Even in a harassment-free working environment, women still suffer from hidden bias, especially in managerial positions.
The fact that Kaltura employs a significant number of women in managerial positions helps greatly to reduce this built-in bias by creating a gender balanced environment which is naturally more women friendly. So I would say that the power is in the numbers.
In addition, I believe that establishing an “open door” policy where any employee can influence company processes and roadmap plans, greatly increases social and organizational employee involvement thus directly contributing to the general friendliness of a workplace, regardless of gender.
I would like to see more internal communications between different teams when it comes to manning positions, and maybe even make it a company policy, as I am a strong advocate of internal recruitment and I believe it is one of the most prominent things that deem a workplace as friendly.”
Eliza Sapir, iOS senior core developer, 4 years with the Kaltura family:
“In my opinion, Kaltura is considered an extremely women-friendly workplace, especially thanks to our strong women leadership – I believe that the fact that one of the co-founders happens to be a woman dictates the tone of the entire organization.
Flexible hours and assessments of employees based on performance to me are just symptoms, by-products of something that is engraved in the heart of the organization which results in higher awareness of incorporating more women in positions that are otherwise considered “masculine”.
Not from applying affirmative action, nor from a place of being “that company” that hires women, but rather from a built-in worldview of equality that trickles down from the most senior management and is deeply embedded within the organizational DNA.
Looking forward, I would like to see Kaltura market itself more as a women-friendly organization, as we might be missing out on less brave\self-secure but perfectly competent women. Knowledge of Kaltura’s women-friendliness may encourage such women to apply themselves more to several positions here without fear.”
Maya Schnaidman, Senior product manager and a certified “playing big facilitator”, 1.5 years with the Kaltura family:
“I find it difficult to encapsulate my entire view of the subject to a couple of sentences, as women equality is extremely close to my heart and I there is so much to be said and done on the subject. Even though our society in the West is nominally equal – there are no laws that allow for discrimination, sometimes women still carry patterns that stop us from thriving fully in a workplace.
One example of such a pattern is a phenomenon called “The confidence gap”, described in depth by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Studies in several large corporations showed that women applied for a promotion only when they believed that they met 100% of the qualifications needed to the job. Men, however, applied even when they thought they could meet 60% of these qualifications. In several other studies in Cornell and Washington State University it was shown that women constantly underestimate their own achievements and abilities, especially in science-related fields. For example, when a group of Cornell students was asked how well they think they did on a quiz on scientific reasoning, the female students gave themselves 6.5 on average and men gave themselves 7.6. In reality, the score was almost equal: 7.5 for women and 7.9 for men.
It is very important for the confidence gap to be addressed from both sides – employers and employees alike. Organizations who truly strive for gender equality should establish gender gap awareness training programs for managers and proactively reach out for qualified women when an opportunity for a promotion comes up. On the other hand – women should learn to detect the confidence gap within ourselves, and to calibrate our auto pilot, which often is set on “underestimate” by default.
Gender equality in the workplace is critical not only for our businesses and our society today. It is critical for raising a next generation of confident girls, who will not hesitate to contribute their talents in every area of human creation, including those considered predominantly male today. “You can’t be what you can’t see”.
To conclude, it seems that all roads lead to more women representation in diverse positions is the key role for a workplace to be considered women-friendly.
It doesn’t derive only from the strong women presence, but mostly from the side effects of that presence – the general attitude towards mothers, women managers and executives, flexible hours, and the general friendly atmosphere it creates.
At Kaltura, we strongly believe in supporting all our employees, and it’s paying off. When employees are given flexibility and respect, the result has been smoothing functioning teams, a highly productive environment, and deeply loyal staff. Doing well and doing good turn out to be deeply connected.