blog 2023 4 min read

disguise embraces equity for International Women’s Day

disguise embraces equity for International Women's Day

At disguise, we value building a diverse team where women feel valued and comfortable to contribute ideas and opinions. For International Women’s Day this year, we caught up with both male and female leaders across our business to hear their thoughts on past and current challenges for women in the workplace and how we can overcome them. This is what they had to say:

1. Hire more women in leadership roles

According to disguise Chief Financial Officer Ryan Sklar, there is a lot of work to be done when it comes to putting women in leadership roles.

“We need to prioritise and celebrate female (and non-binary) leadership to ensure that the organisation reflects diversity values from the top down,” he says.

According to disguise General Manager for the Asia-Pacific region, Ivy Wee, this is a key challenge, as historically most of the top leadership positions for companies across APAC regions are held by men.

“When you prove that, we, as women, can make sound decisions, you gain respect. At disguise, the support that I get from my peers and colleagues is tremendous - even when it is a difficult situation, everyone is really supportive,” says Ivy.

2. Introduce mentoring programmes

disguise runs an internal mentoring programme which connects C-Team leaders with mentees across the business. There are also various mentorship programmes like the Rise Mentoring Programme which are driven by and for women - something heavily encouraged at disguise. disguise’s commitment to gender diversity has been recognised by Rise with their Strive to Rise programme awarding us two diamonds for supporting gender diversity in the workplace.

I have been very impressed with the focus that disguise places on supporting women in the workplace. In particular, I find that the mentoring programmes in place are an excellent avenue for helping women grow in their roles.”
disguise Chief Collaboration Officer Abi Bowman:

3. Work together to overcome role stereotypes

Tom Rockhill, our Chief Commercial Officer has observed that different roles can sometimes be perceived as male or female. 

“In the commercial area, for example, marketing is sometimes seen as a female-based job, and sales is somehow more of a male role. This frustrates me. I know many brilliant female salespeople. I also know men who are fantastic marketers. I don't think gender is the basis for credibility in any role,” says Tom.

When it comes to overcoming stereotypes, Tom believes that we have to check ourselves constantly:

“Ultimately, what helps is to understand each other. So getting our sales and marketing teams all working together really well to understand who does what and how everything fits together, so they can celebrate each other’s successes and work in unison,” says Tom.

Earlier on in her career, our VP of Product, Caroline Cardozo, often felt the need to prove her experience when she worked in a technical role as the only female Sales Engineer, not only in her company but in the global Telecoms industry. 

“Generally, customers were great and knew I was a bit of a novelty which, at times, helped the sales teams I supported, however, there were always one or two people where I really had to prove I knew my stuff and had a right to be in the role. I’d find myself working extra hard with certain customers to ensure I knew the intricacies of the network routes and what was being proposed because they were known for asking me additional questions that they never asked my male colleagues,” says Caroline.

4. You don’t have to do it alone. Identify your allies and cheerleaders

Identifying your cheerleaders and helping others identify theirs is super important according to Caroline

Think about the people you have around you. Who are the people that will celebrate your successes? Or pick you up when you’ve not had a great day? Who is that sounding board you need when you’re working something through? I know who mine are."
Caroline Cardozo, VP of Product, disguise

According to disguise Chief Collaboration Officer, Abi Bowman, allies make all the difference when it comes to overcoming stereotypes.

“In my experience, sometimes it was presumed that I made the tea or was an assistant which was disappointing. Also when the meeting is all men, sometimes they would shake hands with all apart from me! Happily, the positive stories far outweigh the negative ones. Male colleagues that offer to make the drinks or notice if I am being missed out will actively include me. Having allies like that is fantastic and it really helps to break down the stereotypes.”

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