No matter how fast the tech world is developing, there’s one area that Silicon Valley just can’t figure out: diversity and inclusion. Companies often tiptoe around this subject like a ticking time bomb and even ignore the lack of women and minorities in their workforce.
But the numbers can’t lie. Companies need to stop hiding behind their token minority.
A study conducted by LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Company, which surveyed 20 million employees and 462 companies across all sectors in the U.S. since 2015, shows that not enough women are making it through the pipeline toward leadership in the workplace.
19% of white women and only 4% of women of color ever make it to the top, while white men represent 68% of C-suites. Here’s a clearer visual: 1 in 5 senior leaders is a woman, and 1 in 25 is a woman of color.
Safe to say, we’re starkly underrepresented in the workplace. We’ve gotten used to filling in that one special spot in the room reserved for us as the “only”: the only woman, the only black woman, the only queer woman.
HomeLight wants to be the change
On May 23, 2019, HomeLight held its first Girl Geek X event, which highlighted the accomplishments of several women at the company. Our everyday lunch spot was transformed into an empowering space for them to share their stories of how they achieved leadership in male-dominated workplaces.
Watch this video to see the full HomeLight X Girl Geek event
Girl Geek was co-founded by Angie Chang and Sukrutha Bhadouria, two powerhouses who saw the need for events that give women a platform to share their ideas and experiences. They work to provide opportunities for mentorship and recruitment of underrepresented women and minorities that are often nonexistent in their workplaces, especially in tech.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that men make up 80% of tech executive teams and take up 70% of positions in the general workplace. That’s a lot of men…
Sure, there has been an increase in women and minority recruitment in tech companies, but the main issue lies in retention. This rise in employment is minimized by the steady departure of the same people, mostly women.
But you just got there. Why leave?
For more than two-thirds of women in the workplace, microaggressions are still a daily reality. 36% of all women face unnecessary scrutiny for their experiences in their area of expertise, while 42% of black women and 34% of lesbian women need to constantly show more evidence to prove their competency.
If that weren’t enough, a study by the Kapor Center found that 1 in 10 women in tech reported unwanted sexual attention at a job they recently left. That’s why.
Girl Geek and partnering companies want to rectify this sexism in the workplace. They give a voice to successful women and minorities who want to fight for those who have been left behind.
At HomeLight X Girl Geek, presenters spoke on the theme of integrating data and human emotion to empower decision making. Each discussed what they’ve done at HomeLight to bridge tech and emotion in their projects and argued that regardless of how important data is in their positions, human connection is imperative to success in the tech world.
“Everyone has had such varied experiences,” says Mai-Linh Lai, Director of Paid Search at HomeLight. “Being able to hear their advice and takeaways helped me to get to know each of them a little better.”
She emphasized how their anecdotes reminded her of how fortunate she is to work with such an impressive group of women in tech.
Sandy Liao, Head of Talent at HomeLight who was also a speaker at the event, underlined the significance of not only having presenters in technical positions, but also in all other functions of the company. Their departments ranged from administrative to engineering, talent to design, and it’s clear that in every position, the combination of data and emotion is essential for success.
Every woman at HomeLight HQ had a part in preparing for the event and together they created a supportive community for women to learn from and support each other. HomeLight X Girl Geek stressed the need for more conversations and events that bring people of diverse backgrounds together: this is how we learn to recognize inequality in the workplace and foster productive changes.
HomeLight is committed to creating a well-represented and meaningful workplace for everyone. And while we are proud of our collaboration with Girl Geek, HomeLight acknowledges that the company still has much room for growth. In order to continue the momentum, we must recognize the disparity in our own leadership and make the inclusion of women and minorities a priority of HomeLight. We urge everyone to do the same.