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3 signs your employer actually wants gender equality

All companies have not evolved equally. Some are actually striving to reach equal gender representation in technology, while others are riding the momentary wave of hashtags and good intentions.

No matter where a company is in their quest to level the playing field, there are 3 things I have found that immediately signal their commitments to making gender equality a reality.

Note: Some of these observations apply specifically to benefits common in US-based employers. I'd love to hear your opinions on what employers in other countries can do to signal their commitment in the comments.

1. Diverse Hiring Team

A gender and racially diverse hiring team immediately tells me the employer in question has made an effort to include multiple perspectives in the interview process. Including these varied opinions reduces the chance that implicit or unconscious biases lead to ruling out qualified candidates. Especially in tech firms where "culture fit" is sometimes placed above skills that can be learned later, these biases can destroy all hope of representation if not appropriately hedged by the decision-making team.

2. Equal Leave Benefits

Paid parental leave is not a legally guaranteed benefit in the US but is one of the more commonly offered perks of employment. Unfortunately, this perk can work against women because they might have the audacity to use it. Two otherwise equally qualified candidates will be separated by the fact that the woman could disappear for a few weeks or months because of a new child while the man may not. If a company offers - or, even better, encourages everyone to use - equal parental leave benefits, that potential prejudice goes away.

3. Transparent Promotion/Role Criteria

Even if a company does a decent job hiring gender diverse candidates, they still may not promote or hire them into positions of leadership at equal rates. A lot of role requirements can be soft, squishy targets like being a "go-getter" or a "code warrior". That leaves plenty of room for bias and subjective interpretation. If a company mixes in some metric-based, hard targets, it becomes a lot easier to objectively compare candidates. It also becomes easier for the employee looking to get promoted because they have something solid to aim for instead of relying on catching the right eyes at the office happy hour.

We have come a long way in recognizing the importance of gender equality in the workplace, but there's still a lot of room to grow. These are my thoughts on how an employer can signal greater commitment to that growth, but are ultimately just opinions. I'd love to hear yours below!

Cover image borrowed from Unsplash. Thanks to Christina @

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