Choose to break barriers.

By: Raquel Wilson

Hear our women leaders discuss how they’re lifting and inspiring a new generation.

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It’s International Women’s Day, and as we celebrate our progress, we also take time to challenge the barriers we still face so women and girls have an equal opportunity to succeed. Breaking down business barriers is only one part of the equation towards equality and equity, but a significant one. When we invest in our women at work and inspire young girls, we’re investing in our future.

Sam Hammock, SVP of Global Talent, Meghna Sinha, VP of Artificial Intelligence and Data, and Kiarah Leite, a former adfellow who supports Sales Operations, discuss the barriers women face in the workplace, how we can support women in STEM and their challenge for the next generation of women.

Women in the workforce

While progress has been made for women in the workforce, the 5.4 million women who lost their jobs in 2020 are a testament to how far we still have to go. Even without a pandemic, women are challenged with meeting the expectations of work with the added pressure of balancing demands at home.

“What I am frighteningly aware of, is we are on the cusp of a crisis as well, with women leaving the workplace due to the pandemic and the stresses being put on lives,” said Sam. ”We need that infrastructure in the system, what are the programs and benefits? We had paid home leave and so many things we have offered to support but a lot if it is leading with empathy and compassion. Do I see you, do I know what you’re going through?”

The science of the future

The future is being built with technology including artificial intelligence, and it’s important that women and young girls are inspired to be a part of it. Only 12% of women researchers are women in the artificial Intelligence field, according to a 2018 study from Wired & AI, and 69% of young girls don’t consider it as a career according to Generation STEM.

“When you think about designing the heart of the technology, designing the brain of the technology, getting it to help humanity, imagine how great it would be if we had more girls also doing this,” said Meghna. “It's not just about writing lines and lines of code but it's also about building new technology that supports a society.”

A new generation

Programs such as adfellows help foster opportunities for diverse new talent. Sixty-eight percent of adfellows are women, creating a pipeline opportunity for them to have a seat at the table, but it's important that society is ready to hear what they have to say when they get there.

“When I think of having a seat at the table, I think it's something as women we have to continuously ensure that we're being heard and being listened to,” said Kiarah. “There's a huge difference between someone hearing your voice and the sound coming out versus listening and digesting what you're saying.”

Continue the challenge

Honor the women who have made strides towards the progress we see today and keep the momentum by continuing to challenge the areas that have yet to fulfill the promise of equality. We can do this by having meaningful conversations to learn about the disparities women face, taking action by mentoring or volunteering for the development of women and young girls and calling out inequality when you see it.

Be on the lookout for more conversations like these that will share the perspectives of a diverse group of women with different backgrounds but the same goal: moving the world forward for a better tomorrow.

About the author(s):

Raquel Wilson is a former adfellow and now on her way to becoming a communications pro. You can always rely on her to have a good book recommendation and a latte she probably paid way too much for.

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