Embrace Equity in Celebration of International Women's Day

For International Women's Day, we are celebrating Sojern's women in STEM.

March 7, 2023

Wednesday, March 8th is International Women’s Day (IWD). IWD is an annual opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about gender inequality and discrimination, and find ways to create a bright future for women around the world. This year’s IWD theme is #EmbraceEquity. We are so thrilled about this theme here at Sojern because it’s something we strongly believe in and work toward, especially given the gender disparity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers.

Equity “recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.” At Sojern, we want to ensure our teams have the resources they need to be successful and feel like valued team members. Here’s a glimpse into the current state of STEM and what we’re doing here at Sojern to increase equity. We'll also introduce you to a group of Sojern women who will share their experiences of working in STEM.

Understanding the Current State of the STEM Workforce

There has certainly been progress in increasing diversity and inclusion in STEM, but we’re not yet where we need to be, yet. Currently, women make up 48% of the workforce in the United States, but only 34% of the STEM workforce. Latina, Black, and Indigenous women make up 17% of the population, but earn 14% of STEM bachelor’s degrees. However, they represent less than 10% of the STEM workforce.

While women—minority women, in particular—are not fairly represented in STEM, those working in the industry are subject to racial and gender earnings gaps. According to Pew Research, men’s salaries in the United States are nearly $15,000 higher than white women, and nearly $33,000 more than Black and Latina women. The STEM gender pay gap in Europe rose from 7 to 17% last year. Meanwhile, women in South and West Asia hold a mere 18.5% of STEM research positions and 23.4% of positions in East Asia and the Pacific. This data shows we have a long way to go to achieve equity in STEM.

Creating a Safe and Welcoming Space for Unique Perspectives 

At Sojern, we’re making a concerted effort to create a diverse and inclusive environment that makes our employees feel safe, valued, and welcomed—ensuring equity for all. 

Preeya Patel, Vice President, People notes: “As a new member of the team at Sojern and an Indian American woman, I am so proud of the company’s commitment and active effort towards equity. Leading the People function, my mission will be to continue to make Sojern a top destination for the best talent and employee experience across our globally-distributed workforce. 

How do we achieve that? To me, it's simple. We embrace you… your whole self, and forge an environment where you feel safe and motivated to share your unique perspectives and experiences, and have a deep sense of belonging within the organization. We must walk the talk. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is deeply rooted in our values, philosophy and People programs, including rewards and recognition, performance management, and growth and development. 

One of the best pieces of advice I received early in my career was, ‘find people who don’t look like you and learn about them’. We’re building something truly amazing here at Sojern and I believe that the more we get ‘uncomfortable’ and engage in real talk across all levels, functions, genders, and ethnicities, the closer we get to truly embracing equity.” 

Embracing Equity and Growth with SoEmpowered

It’s important to us that all Sojern employees feel protected and heard at work. We created SoEmpowered to build an intimate, trusted, peer-to-peer network that fosters professional and personal growth for women through mentorship, seminars, and events. We also have a Slack channel to keep the conversation going outside of network events. Not only does SoEmpowered give our Sojern employees a safe outlet to build relationships, it also creates connections that help them succeed. 

Currently, as part of SoEmpowered, we are offering a Communication & Leadership Series: Claiming Your Path with Jenn Garcia. This series of workshops help Sojern employees develop self-advocacy and leadership skills. During this program, participants explore how they can use their unique strengths and experiences to shape their leadership style and take ownership of their careers and lives for success and fulfillment. 

Sojern Women Making Their Marks in STEM

Jessica Cook, Staff Data Analyst, Insights

“I was incredibly lucky to fall into Analytics at a time when little background experience was expected. I learned nearly everything on the job. Seeing female leaders, especially in STEM positions at Sojern, is a motivation for me and impacts how my team functions on a day-to-day basis. For instance, we use phrases like ‘I feel’ and get buy-in by asking what others think about x,y,z plan. I think we have high-level coordination across our entire team that is driven by these slight differences in communication styles.”

Hazeline Furing Gallaza, Senior Technical Operations Specialist

“Ever since I started working as a developer, I've been on a team where the majority are men. I had to prove my worth and worked really hard to work my way up. Working with Sojern made me feel like my voice really matters and my contribution is valued. I feel proud to work for a company that supports equality. Seeing women in Sojern who inspire, excel in their field, and make an impact not only to the organization but also on our clients motivates me to continuously improve myself and make sure to contribute more in tech.”

Susan Hickey, Senior Manager, Information Technology

“I've been at Sojern for four years now and it's been both rewarding and challenging—especially in IT at a time when we experienced an almost overnight move to remote working due to the pandemic, in addition to the effects this had on the travel industry as a whole. However, Sojern IT was already in a strong position to support a diverse and widespread workforce and we quickly adapted. Our cloud-based technology strategy was perfectly aligned to adjust to this situation.

Working in IT and our new hybrid environment, we can be drivers for change across the organisation. By listening to our internal customers and anticipating their needs, we can identify continuous improvement opportunities. Sojern encourages us to upskill and seek out additional training and therefore, be forward-thinking and lean into new technologies.

I thankfully work with a fun, yet hard-working team, where mutual respect exists, and collaboration is the cornerstone of our success.”

To learn more about Sojern’s culture and core values, check out our careers page. Who knows, you just might find your next role!

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