Today, 73% of women experience bias at work and less than a third of employees recognise it. Bias can be deliberate or unconscious, but regardless the outcome is the same. It makes it tougher for women to climb the ladder and can negatively impact their careers.
Businesses should open the conversation around gender inequality and women’s issues at work. Therefore, as part of our support for International Women’s Day “Choose to Challenge”, we invited our female leadership to discuss their views and share their experiences.
We caught up with Emily Georgiadis, legal director for the commercial legal team for our first International Women’s Day Ringside. Emily is an enthusiastic and energetic Australian who has lived in the UK for nine years. She speaks Japanese and loves to travel.
What’s been the driving force to get you where you are today, and have you benefited from having any personal mentors?
Determination, perseverance, and the ability to adapt when required. To be successful, you need to be dynamic and willing to change to suit the conditions. I haven’t really benefitted from any formal mentors. I’ve made the most out of the experience from those around me (both men and women) and adapted it to my style.
Mistakes and success come hand in hand. If there’s one thing you take away from reading this, it’s that you must accept that you will make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. The belief that someone was “lucky” or just “fell into a role” is usually unfounded. That person likely worked very hard, managed adversity, learnt from mistakes, and deserved the role. To achieve success, you must really crave it – you need to be prepared to fall and pick yourself up to get there.
What advice would you pass on to other women to help them progress and overcome issues associated with ‘the glass ceiling’ in our industry?
- Get involved
- Be bold and heard
- Make sure you’re a part of the decision
Stick with these things and stop thinking of yourself as different. It’s wasted energy focusing on how many men are in a meeting compared to women from my own experience. Instead, you should focus on getting your voice heard and being a strong contributor.
I’m not sure whether I’ve been lucky or perhaps times are changing, but I’ve never experienced “the glass ceiling.” Sure, most of my senior reports are men, but that will change over time as women climb further up the ladder. While most of the senior management I deal with are men, I’ve never felt like I wasn’t heard or that I was disadvantaged in any way. The lack of female representation in leadership roles encourages me to work harder.
Are there any initiatives from inside or outside RingCentral you think make a substantive difference in addressing the gender pay gap and open up opportunities for females to progress in their careers?
In the UK, parents can share parental leave. In my case, the statutory right is 12 months leave and I was able to share that leave with my husband. I took four months of maternity leave, and my husband took the remaining eight months. This has had a tremendous impact on the gender pay gap because it allowed me to get back to work sooner and focus on my career.
There is a much smaller pool of women in tech, so we need to actively support them so they can reach senior positions. It's not good enough to say there are no females to hire. Click To Tweet
Why do you think we still have so few female leaders (vs. male as a percentage of total leadership) in the technology sector?
We’re not doing enough to push women up into more senior roles in this industry. There is a much smaller pool of women in tech, so we need to actively support them so they can reach senior positions and get them the coaching they require. It’s not good enough to say, “there are no females to hire.”
I am also a big supporter of promoting from within and allowing existing employees to shine.
Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share on International Women’s Day and the topics we’ve discussed today?
Expecting that you will feel positive and empowered 100% of the time is unrealistic. Accept and appreciate that life is a journey with many challenges.
Take on those challenges head-first and problem-solve to understand how to grow. This culture of comparison or that things come easier to others is such a waste of energy. By focusing on those around you, you will miss your path and where you are going. Never feel alone in your struggles. No matter who you are, we all face adversity at some stage; it’s how you overcome it that makes you a strong and successful individual.
Accept and appreciate that life is a journey with many challenges. Take on those challenges head-first and problem-solve to understand how to grow. Click To Tweet
One piece of advice from Emily that will stay with me is that everyone faces struggles during their careers. It’s how you choose to overcome them that matters. Unfortunately, self-doubt and imposter syndrome are some of the things people struggle with at work, especially women, women of colour and the LGBTQ+ community. The way to tackle this is ensuring diversity exists throughout a business. The more we see people of the same gender, ethnicity or background succeeding in the workplace, the less likely we will experience imposter syndrome.
Thank you so much to Emily for sharing her honest views and advice for the Ringside #IWD2021 Ringside series. We’ll be hearing from Fatima Chawdhury for our next episode later this week.
Originally published Feb 22, 2021, updated Mar 01, 2021