Happy International Women’s Day (IWD). This is a day that has been celebrated for over 100 years to recognise the achievements of women, the progress made in terms of gender equality, and a reminder of what still needs to be done. This includes achieving equal pay for equal work, removing the glass ceiling and eliminating discrimination. In fact this year’s IWD theme #pressforprogress is all about how we need to continue the push for gender equality in its many forms.
Inspired by Rosie the Riveter
For IWD this year our Xero women across the globe have been inspired by Rosie the Riveter and are standing together to #pressforprogress. Rosie is one of the most iconic images of ‘working women’ and ignited a social movement in the US after becoming the face of the campaign during World War II to encourage large numbers of women into the workforce. It was a significant moment in history as it proved women could do ‘a man’s job’ and do it well.
Fast forward to today and women have come a long way in terms of achieving greater gender equality. However, there is still a way to go particularly in an industry like ours. We know that in the tech sector women still make up less than 30% of the workforce and have to overcome more obstacles than their male counterparts to be successful.
Pressing for progress at Xero
At Xero we have an unwavering focus on diversity and inclusion. Led from the top, one of our strategic priorities is ‘to lead diversity and inclusion inside Xero and across our community’. While we know diversity is a broad concept, gender diversity is a priority for us and we are passionate about getting more women into tech and ensuring that once onboard they can thrive.
We currently have around 40% women at Xero which is above the industry average. However, there’s more work to do to ensure we continue to track in the right direction. To help us do this we have concentrated our efforts over the past 12 months to:
- Appointed a Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion @bindy
- Develop a new Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) policy focused on recruitment, flexible work, pay equity and championing D&I in the community
- Roll out diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias training for our people across the globe
- Create Flexible Working Guidelines, pilot training on these for our Managers, and share the stories of how our people are working flexibly across the business
- Sponsor or support initiatives like Code Like A Girl, Tech Girls Movement, Girl Geek Dinners, Grad Girls, Diverse City Careers and a Return to IT pilot
Spotlight on our female Xero customers and partners
This year for IWD we are celebrating not only our Xero women but we’re putting the spotlight on our female Xero customers and partners who are shaping the world of small business across the globe.
We know there is a global phenomenon of record numbers of women launching and running their own small businesses. A trend that is not slowing down. Women are turning to entrepreneurship because it provides what they are looking for, including flexibility, autonomy, alignment of work and personal values, and the opportunity to fulfill their potential. It’s awesome to see so many female entrepreneurs forging their own path and running successful businesses and Xero is here to serve and support each one of them.
Celebrating International Women’s Day
For IWD this year I joined the panel at our IWD Breakfast Event at Xero Melbourne. We had Fairfax Small Business Editor, Cara Waters, hosting the panel which included a number of our fabulous customers and partners who discussed the achievements and challenges of women in small business. Many of our other Xero offices across the globe have also hosted IWD panels, morning teas and more as we all to stand together to celebrate our achievements and #pressforprogress.
There’s lots to do… but in the simple words of Rosie the Riveter ‘we can do it!’