"Organizations need to ensure pay parity. This has to be a top down approach. The leadership needs to ensure that diversity, inclusion and parity are part of the company culture."
D7: Tell us something about eWOW. How is it helping women develop and polish their technical and leadership skills for a thriving career?
RM: eWOW – empowered Women of the World is a platform to empower women around the world to discover, visualize, and actualize their success. We believe that every woman is a leader in her own way – all she needs is an intellectual framework that can help her navigate the path. eWOW provides that intellectual platform to help them with their technical and leadership skills to be successful, to thrive!
The eWOW platform offers leadership workshops for organizations, various online and in-person events, eWOW Virtual Summit, podcasts and Alexa skills.
At eWOW, we take a holistic approach in our leadership workshops. So with our specialized programs for organizations, we address diversity and inclusion strategy execution at the leadership level as well as empower women leaders with the toolkit that they need to be successful.
Our eWOW 2020 Virtual Summit will host over 200 emerging women leaders across the globe this year on April 25, 2020. This “Attend from Anywhere” online summit has 3 core themes: leadership, technology and entrepreneurship. The attendees will have the opportunity to interact with the business leaders from global organizations like Facebook, Google, Roku, Dell and many more. LinkedIn is providing 3-month LinkedIn premium access to the first 150 registrants at the summit.
We have companies like Facebook, Société Générale, Marsh, SureSkills, Origin Learning and KGCloud Advisory sponsoring the event and will be sharing job opportunities at this summit. So eWOW 2020 Virtual Summit will not empower attendees with the knowledge and network to be successful but also access to job opportunities with premium companies.
Soon, we will be launching our eWOW virtual incubator program with a goal of democratizing entrepreneurial education.
The eWOW podcast is already available on 11 platforms and has an audience in over 34 countries. It’s about empowering women on their journey towards leadership. We believe diversity is not just about gender or race but it’s also about diversity of thought and perspectives that women leaders bring to the table.
And our Alexa skills which are available for free for everyone to download through amazon put the power back in your hands to be successful through positive affirmations.
"As fundamental as these notions of equality might seem to you, the reality is that we live in a world that is immensely unequal."
D7: What do you think are the best ways to encourage and assist women to become leaders?
RM: According to Mckinsey Women in the Workplace study 2019, we have seen signs of progress in the representation of women in corporate America. Since 2015, the number of women in senior leadership has grown marginally and the representation of women has increased from 17 percent to 21 percent at C-Suite. Still overall representation of women in the C-suite is far from parity. About 1 in 5 C-suite executives is a woman—and only 1 in 25 C-suite executives is a woman of color.
I believe the low numbers are a socio-economic issue. The discrimination starts even before a girl is born. We start buying pink clothes and dolls for girls, and blue clothes and trucks for boys. We teach our girls to be perfect and boys to be risk takers. And as they grow, the gap continues to expand. Assertive women leaders are labelled as aggressive, bossy, and hard to work with while assertive men leaders become role models. While men are promoted on the basis of their future potential, women have to continuously prove themselves to even be considered for a promotion.
It is even worse when it comes to the tech industry. Women are stereotyped as non -technical, and their development skills are questioned which often shakes their self-confidence. You will be surprised how many women opt for non tech roles after spending a few years in tech roles. It is not because they don't enjoy tech roles. They leave tech roles because they are tired of proving themselves time and again, of their ideas not being heard and of being underpaid. (Women leaders earn as much as 10% less than their male counterparts.) They are tired of the bias that they are not as good as their male counterparts when it comes to technology or leadership roles. Most women give up because they think it is not worth their time or energy to try and change the perception of the industry.
Hence, there needs to be fundamental change in the way we raise our girls. We need to encourage them to take risks rather than being perfect. And we need to partner with schools to educate both boys and girls on women role models. Because what they see is what they become.
Businesses need diversity of thought to create innovative solutions that solve real world problems so they need to put a strategy in place to recruit, retain, and invest in women leaders.
M7: At Deck 7, we aim towards having a more diverse workplace. What do you think companies can do to encourage more women to choose careers in tech and rectify the imbalance?
RM: In 2018 only 20% of all jobs in technology were held by women. While 74% of girls express their desire for a career in STEM, only 18% undergraduate computer science degrees are held by women.
The reality is that businesses are missing out on creating compelling global solutions by not having diversity at decision-making levels, as women’s perspectives are time and time again missed. For example, the health app released by Apple in 2015 did not take into account women’s reproductive cycles.
The key aspect is not to just bring women into the workforce but to retain and to nurture them for leadership roles. When women join the corporate world, benefits that the organization offers to help them manage work-life integration are critical because society still expects them to manage home and work equally. It’s important that an organization builds a culture of inclusion where the ideas presented by the women leaders are encouraged and their achievements are acknowledged. It is also critical that organizations focus on building a pipeline of women leaders at entry and middle management level so that we can create role models for the future. Emerging women leaders will be able to relate to these role models and find inspiration from them. Simple things like ensuring that we have an unbiased performance appraisal system – ensuring women leaders are identified as top talent and their ideas are not shot down makes the organizational culture inclusive.
Organizations need to create an inclusive culture where diversity is seen as an asset rather than a check mark. They need to create a work culture that provides flexible work hours, work from home opportunity, and family leave to support women. And organizations need to ensure pay parity. This has to be a top down approach. The leadership needs to ensure that diversity, inclusion and parity are part of the company culture.
''Businesses are missing out on creating compelling global solutions by not having diversity at decision-making levels, as women’s perspectives are time and time again missed.''
D7: What technology can you not live without?
RM: The maps app on my cell phone and my fitbit. It might seem very trivial but the reality is that I am very bad with directions so when smartphones came, it was life changing for me. The maps app empowered me to travel with confidence. And my fitbit ensures that I get the 12000 steps that I need per day to keep my metabolism where it should be.
D7: What is your superpower?
RM: As I mention in my Amazon best seller book, “Fast-track Your Leadership Career”, I love the word, super power, it has so much energy in it. I have a “Make it happen” superpower. To put it in one sentence: I have the power to look through a situation to identify the problem, create a solution strategy, and get it executed.
I enjoy working on ambiguous and high impact projects. This is how eWOW started. When my book, Fast-Track Your Leadership Career became a best seller in its category within 11 hrs of its release, I started receiving messages from leaders across the globe to take the conversation forward. That’s how the idea of eWOW (empowered Women Of the World) came into being. There is a problem - this world is not equal for all . Equality means equal opportunity. Equal opportunity to happiness, equal opportunity to make decisions about how to live your life, equal opportunity to learn new skills, equal opportunity to create real-life solutions, equal opportunity to be successful, and equal opportunity to give back. As fundamental as these notions of equality might seem to you, the reality is that we live in a world that is immensely unequal.
When we started the eWOW (empowered Women Of the World) initiative in Nov 2018, the goal was simple - To empower women globally. We wanted to provide an equal opportunity for women to learn new skills, network, and to find their next play immaterial of their location, job title, or domain. We set a big goal to reach over 100,000 women in a year. I had no idea how we would reach that number…the how wasn’t important, the why was. The purpose of empowering women globally was so strong that we explored all avenues to inspire women. And if you are passionate about the “why”, the opportunities start presenting themselves. From Alexa skills, to the eWOW podcast (which now has an audience in over 34 countries!!!) and eWOW 2020 Virtual Summit; From speaking at various organizations and conferences globally to advising women-led startups and collaborating with LinkedIn learning to record courses on sponsorship, we leveraged all channels to empower and inspire women globally to be a leader, to be successful, to thrive!