To All Women, Cis and Trans – We See You. We Honor You.
As we come to another year’s close of Women’s History Month, as a cisgender woman, I’ve been doing some reflection and a lot of learning with several women in our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), including the long-standing ExaGals ERG and our newly formed Pride ERG. These employee-led diversity groups have been instrumental in raising awareness about issues and bringing much-needed conversation to the forefront. I’m grateful we create space to lean into these topics here at Exabeam.
Today is the close of Women’s History Month, as well as Transgender Day of Visibility. This has me reflecting on the journey of women in the workplace, especially those in the trans community who’ve had a particularly challenging time lately. 2021 was an incredibly hard year for transgender people and their struggles are incomprehensible.
What can we and other organizations do to be more inclusive of the trans community and why should we care?
The business case for diversity and inclusion
Folks who know me know that I’m passionate about authenticity and believe people should bring their full selves to work. Be human; be who you are; be proud. And bring that whole package to work.
When we’re psychologically safe, an overwhelming number of studies show this translates into better performance, more innovation, and higher revenue. Leading consulting firm, McKinsey, has released study after study proving the business case for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) –– their 2019 analysis released in 2020 found that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile — up from 21 percent in 2017 and 15 percent in 2014.”
McKinsey also found that “the greater the representation, the higher the likelihood of outperformance. Companies with more than 30 percent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30.”
In this article by Harvard Business Review, researchers state, “The business case is clear: When women are at the table, the discussion is richer, the decision-making process is better, and the organization is stronger.” I hope to see McKinsey and HBR researchers start to include transgender people more prominently in these gender studies moving forward.
At Exabeam, we’re consciously leaning into and listening to the voices of trans and cis women as well as our non-binary community. We value diverse perspectives and know this translates into business results, but moreso, it translates into a more fun, authentic and human work experience.
Becoming more diverse and inclusive
The journey to become more inclusive isn’t linear, isn’t defined by reaching an endpoint, and takes continual, iterative tending. On Transgender Day of Visibility, I’d like to share ideas I’ve seen work and practices the transgender communities with whom I’ve worked say make a difference:
- When you ask for gender in systems and forms, include options aside from binary male and female ones. I was so excited last year when the US State Department expanded its gender options to include an “X” option, which is a big step toward being more inclusive.
- Incorporate benefits for transgender people that cover transgender-related treatments. (Happy to share that we’re expanding our benefits and working to incorporate these at Exabeam!)
- Have easily accessible gender neutral bathrooms and normalize everyone using them.
- Ensure your ERGs are inclusive. Sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes our inclusive groups can inadvertently become exclusive! We’re addressing this head-on at Exabeam by making sure we communicate that ExaGals welcomes trans women, not just cisgender women.
- Ensure employees know they can speak up and share their own stories. Last year, one of our employees shared a story about her struggle to accept the transition of her transgender nephew Marz.
- Pronouns matter. Use people’s preferred one, and if you make a mistake, apologize quickly and sincerely, then move on. If you don’t know someone’s pronouns, ask with kindness and respect.
- Ensure your code of ethics lays out respect for everyone, regardless of gender and those who don’t conform to a gender.
Let’s recognize that talking about gender-related topics can be sensitive, so we as leaders want to be mindful to create safe spaces for people to express their experiences and their ideas. We’re all learning together.
Speaking of learning, I know navigating gender identity terms can be confusing for those unfamiliar, so here’s an excellent article from NPR that helps explain gender terms.
There’s so much we can do to create more diverse, inclusive, equitable workplaces and ensure everyone knows they belong. While small actions might seem trivial, they make a difference and are essential in creating thriving, inclusive spaces.
To everyone, happy Transgender Day of Visibility. I’m proud of Exabeam and proud to be a part of this day.
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