Taking Action to Promote Gender Equality – Our Journey
This International Women’s Day, our Chief People Officer, Vera Babat, shares important work we’re doing to create a fair and safe workplace
Since 2019, our People Care team has focused on formalizing the actions that until now had been taking place naturally within Abstracta regarding non-violence and the equal treatment of women and men. One of our first steps in order to make our interest in the subject manifest and public was to be part of the network of companies in alliance with the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles. This made it possible for us to participate and receive training from the UN Women and the “Win-Win” Program which provides insights from others’ experiences, action plans, innovative tools.
By joining the network, we promised to regard its principles for women’s empowerment as our “north star,” guiding our actions and policies:
Within the Action Plan designed for 2020 to 2021, an important pillar is to formalize and clearly transmit one’s position regarding policies of gender equality and non-tolerance of violence. We agree that it is important to be explicit in the values and actions that we want to reproduce and not simply trust that they will occur naturally.
Below I’ll share what we’ve elaborated as policies and actions and how we’ve managed to promote them so far in the hopes that you can take them as inspiration for your organization as well.
How Are We Promoting Gender Equality in Abstracta?
Pay Scale System
To make sure there is an even playing field regarding compensation, we created a payscale that we use as a tool to review and adjust the salaries of all the women and men that make up our team. By using the same ruler to analyze each individual’s skills, experience, quality of work and their cultural fit, we managed to reveal a real and transparent vision regarding the roles and their corresponding pay, avoiding possible gender pay gaps.
We are also currently using the Diagnosis for Equal Remuneration (DIR) tool by UN Women. According to weps.org, it is “a new self-evaluation tool developed by UN Women for companies and organizations committed to equality. It supports them in assessing whether they are applying the ‘Equal Pay for Equal Value Work’ principle in line with the ILO Convention No. 100.”
Our team of Leaders (43% women and 57% men) and the C-Suite (60% women and 40% men) are diverse and work as strong networks, where members know each other, and rely on each other’s unique strengths. We value and continue working to train and empower more women to fill these roles that have a great impact on organizational strategy.
Executive Board with a Female Presence and Gender Perspective
With a strong male imprint in the entrepreneurial and IT sector, locally and globally, Abstracta has a 25% female presence on its Board of Directors. The Board of Directors was formed from the very beginning with our co-founders and three years ago, they decided to welcome a woman to its team, with the desire to integrate a feminine perspective into strategic decision-making. This partner, Sofia Palamarchuk, was chosen for having driven emblematic growth within Abstracta and today, she leads Apptim as its CEO, a startup born from Abstracta.
In recent years, our Executive Board has participated in several trainings and awareness-raising spaces to gain a greater understanding of several of the gender-based inequalities that arise.
We feel that to have a full life, it’s necessary to feel capable of integrating work and personal projects well. We have a variety of mechanisms (flexible hours, work from anywhere, the option to work part-time, a team of psychologists, among others) to be able to work and organize ourselves in a way that Abstractans can all be where we want to be, for example in raising our children or caring for loved ones.
In this way, we promote the quality of life for women and men, including those who are fathers and mothers so they can actively engage in parenting in everyday life. At every company function and celebration, we warmly welcome employee’s families. For example, we host an annual getaway to a ranch in the countryside for barbecuing and picnicking. We love it because we meet entire families and it promotes an environment where we break the bonds of pure office relationships and get to know everyone as more than just colleagues.
ReconverTIte: Women in Testing
Seeking to contribute to the decentralization of quality job opportunities, we’ve sought to build bridges with other towns, far from the capital, in Uruguay where there are many talented people. Betting on fostering a movement and inspiring more companies to follow the lead, we put our knowledge, experiences and place in the industry to give visibility to inequities and provide alternatives.
To help make more opportunities accessible in more remote areas, we developed a project called ReconverTIte. Through it, we offer free training in software testing and complementary transversal skills as well as mentoring and support in the search for work that doesn’t result in women having to uproot themselves.
Abstracta team members and their families can enroll in different courses under the umbrella of software testing from performance testing to test automation to the fundamentals like white box and black box testing for free through our educational platform. In this way, we promote the generation of new learning and work opportunities for women and men.
In 2020, 73% of those who learned via Abstracta Academy were women.
Zero Tolerance Policy Against All Types of Violence
Going hand-in-hand with our work to promote gender equality, we are explicitly declaring ourselves against all types of violence and harassment in the workplace. We actively promote and encourage strategies to avoid these situations and we hope this work creates more fair environments inside and outside the work environment. Through a gender perspective approach, we seek to detect and dismantle discrimination in all its forms. Not only do we have special actions to put forward to eradicate violence and discrimination, but also on a day-to-day basis, we work towards eliminating micro-agressions that are often times normalized.
Our Actions Thus Far:
- We implemented an Anti-discrimination policy and created a Code of Conduct that all employees have access to
- We created and communicated our Intervention Policy to promote safe spaces for reporting situations
- We hosted internal talks about unconscious biases and created an article about it in our employee portal
- We created episodes on The Everything Else podcast about interculturality, diversity and how biases and gender roles come into the workplace
Moving Towards a Brighter Future for All
Undoubtedly, all this is part of being a little more aware every day about two issues that we come across every day. I believe it is possible to build, with everyone’s help, a healthier, more genuine and tolerant future. This year will require more action and work in this regard, but we hope to share this spirit with other companies in the industry.
Tell me, what are some of the initiatives that your organization has started that you think more companies should implement? We’d love to hear about it.
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