The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #EmbraceEquity. Today, we often hear about the importance of equality and having equal opportunities ─ but that isn’t enough. At commercetools, our workforce is spread across six continents and represents a diversity of experiences, views, and cultures that positions each individual uniquely in their communities. This is why we’re focusing on true inclusion and belonging through a number of initiatives led by our amazing diversity, equity, and inclusion team and our employee resources groups (ERG).
We all have different challenges we face, but when you have a group of people you feel you can connect with, you’re going to be more comfortable presenting your true, authentic self. And, as a result of sharing your struggles, collaborating and learning from one another, you’re able to grow on a professional level. This is why our ERGs are so important
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leader, Americas
I, alongside Marlies Isabella Riepl, our Senior Global Alliances Marketing Manager, founded the Women in Tech (WiT) ERG with the following goals in mind:
Providing support and growth opportunities
Reducing intersectional biases and raise awareness of their impact; and
Fostering healthy dialogue on issues, challenges, and solutions within the global demographic.
To achieve this, we’ve grown an amazing group of over 120 women including our ERG sponsor and commercetools CMO, Jen Jones. Today, we ask five women across the business how they #EmbraceEquity and what it means to them starting with Jen!
It’s important to understand the distinction between equality and equity. You can’t achieve equality without embracing the equitable and inclusive practices needed to bridge unequal gaps. As a leader, embracing equity means recognizing that everyone’s personal, cultural, and professional circumstances are different, and that those factors can have an impact on a perceived output. This was especially apparent during the height of the pandemic where the impact on women ─ particularly caretakers and those of color ─ was significantly more severe. For example, 3.6% of women were unemployed in January 2022 with 5% identifying as Latina and 6% as Black women. Women with disabilities had it worse with 8% being unemployed.
Executive sponsor for Women In Tech and commercetools CMO (New York)
Happy International Women's Day! Throughout my career, I have often been the only woman around, whether reporting from the frontlines of the war in Iraq, or moderating a panel on the future of the European Union. I've learnt to navigate the workplace while holding true to my identity as a woman, and one of African-Asian origin. That's why it is so important to me that we all #embraceequity. I have always tried to actively lead and support an inclusive and equitable company culture, through serving in ERG programmes, Diversity Councils and mentoring initiatives. We all need to take ownership when it comes to building diverse teams and creating workplaces that give all of us the space to show up as ourselves.
Communications Manager, EMEA & APAC (London)
Being a woman working full-time in the tech industry while also being a parent to a school-aged child means I’m constantly juggling multiple things and at different speeds. Sometimes, things are running smoothly and productivity is at an all time high. However, that can flip in a moment when there has been an accident in the school yard, difficult homework is due, or anything ─ generally helping a small person navigate newness and life can feel big. It’s those days where my productivity is suboptimal. For me, equity means having colleagues and peers who not only understand but also support me through these ups and downs, and celebrate my success when my productivity skyrockets.
Account Executive (Australia)
I chose to co-lead Women in Tech at commercetools because embracing equity is a personal principle of mine. It’s not enough to push for equal opportunities ─ we need to be the change that we want to see by encouraging equitable practices in the workplace and in our day-to-day lives. It means so much to me to have built this internal community alongside Diana where we can talk, share, and help each other bridge inherited gaps.
Co-lead of Women in Tech and Senior Global Alliances Marketing Manager (London)
I think equality focuses more on intention, when equity focuses on impact. Equality may carry the noble intention of being fair to everyone, but it ignores the very different circumstances that people are in and the type of resources each person would need in order to reach the same outcome. Equity takes a more nuanced approach: instead of viewing everyone as the same, it looks at what different people need, and gives resources that are tailored to a person's or a group's unique requirements. This helps achieve the outcome of enabling everyone to achieve success, rather than a select few.
Product Manager, Priceless Team (Germany)