Celebrating Each for Equal
IIBA celebrated this year’s International Women’s Day with a Women in Business Analysis panel webinar. Moderator, Jodie Kane, Business Analysis Consultant, asked our panelists Barbara Carkenord, Principal Consultant at Carkenord Consulting, Lora McCoy, Professional Services at BIS, and Reydan Yasar, BA Competency Lead at Sony Eurasia to share their thoughts on the importance of gender equality and diversity in the workplace. In this lively and interactive discussion Barbara, Lora, and Reydan shared their personal experiences, strategies, and philosophies for balancing work/life and navigating real life challenges throughout their careers.
IIBA believes we have the opportunity to accelerate equality and opportunities every day in our interactions. The theme of this year, Each for Equal speaks to what we can each uniquely contribute to through our work in business analysis.
In this webinar our panelists dig a little deeper to share how they have overcome obstacles to achieve their current success, what has shaped their thinking and ways they have advocated for others and had others advocate for them in their career journeys.
The key inspirational takeaway that I gleaned from this raw and insightful discussion was that the three keys to personal success for all genders is self-belief, self-love, and having the courage to take risks.
“The theme of equal for equal reminds me of one of my favourite quotes from Brian Stevenson (equal justice initiative), “The opposite of poverty is not wealth. The opposite of poverty is justice.” So, when we talk about “each for equal” not necessarily everyone is [being] equal but everyone having equal opportunity to achieve whatever we can in our lives.”
“Empowerment of women will enable a collectively intelligent society and is key to helping us solve major problems of today. I think we need to proactively find ways to achieve the gender equality.”
“It’s less about direct equality for me. It’s about fairness, it’s about justice. I appreciate the differences between us, and I prefer to leverage those differences. I’m more about the equality of opportunity. Equal situation, equal capabilities, equal effort - deserve equal consideration. Its more about fairness and justice.”
Watch the free recording of Women in Business Analysis webinar.
Following are some additional questions posed by attendees that the panel were unable to answer in the allotted Q&A time:
Q: How can women be heard without being accused of being too honest or too aggressive and still have respect of both female and male bosses? This question also applies to working with technical colleagues or direct reports who may not give you the professional respect you deserve if you do not have the same technical skills or those working with people who put you in a “small” position.
A: Often when we are direct with others we can be misunderstood. One way to overcome this is to be upfront and listen. Sometimes women are viewed as being more emotional. A good way to have crucial conversations and objectively approach challenges before sharing your views and being emotionally engaged is to get the other person to share their views.
Q: Do these strategies also work for introverts? Are there any tools you can recommend?
A: Some people consider themselves introverts while others consider themselves a mix of introvert and extrovert depending on the situation. There is a great book for introverts Barbara Carkenord recommended called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.
Q: My challenge is the women around me in my workplace are the ones who appear to not support me and other women in the workplace. Seems the men are more supportive about taking time as a mom when needed and other responsibilities, but the female leaders are less tolerant. What can women do about this?
A: Sometimes people who feel insecure can react this way and may feel they have to overcompensate. Sometimes a woman may feel she has to be tougher to prove herself. Everyone needs the courage to advocate for themselves and others and to believe in oneself. It can feel stressful at first. Take that first step and see how change can happen with just one small step at a time. It’s normal to feel insecure or have low confidence. It happens to smart, confident women. Believe in yourself and trust your abilities. When it comes to managing parenting responsibilities, are they equally shared by you and your partner? Asking your partner to share the load (if they can) can also help the situation, so it is not always falling on the shoulders of the mom to take time off from work to address parenting responsibilities.
Q: Do you have pay scale survey statistics by race/ethnicity for men/women as well?
A: That’s a good question. IIBA’s Annual BA Salary Survey1 looks at salary by gender and by country but does not currently cover race or ethnicity.
Q: Can anyone speak to experiencing the double whammy of sexism AND ageism?
A: Ageism and sexism are a double whammy for women over 502 according to a recent Forbes.com blog on this subject. A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research3, found age discrimination laws do less to protect older women from both age and sex discrimination. As part of Each for Equal we need to look at the impact of ageism on working women over 50 and how we can work together to break down these barriers.
Q: Have you met a client who doubts the result of the project because you are a woman? How would you handle yourself in that situation?
A: This bias is important to break. It’s not an easy conversation to have. You need to build a level of trust. Start with something small to let you prove the value you can produce. Ask for feedback to see if you can get some positives to understand where the client is coming from and try to build a relationship that allows you to be honest and direct to better understand what their concerns are so you can move forward on the project. A good book to help with these conversations is Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Al Switzler, Joseph Grenny, and Ron McMillan.
Q: How do we make the leaders realize the importance of empathy if they don't feel it within themselves? Also, same question goes for unconscious bias. We work in a fortune 500 where we take these things very seriously on the books but that doesn't reflect in our day-to-day happenings.
A: Empathy is good for the bottom line. When customers perceive your company as empathetic, you will see an increase in sales and more productive, innovative employees. The challenge is getting everyone on board. Start with your team. Thank your employees for their work. Recognize their efforts daily. Treat everyone with respect. Talk to your team and ask them questions. What would make them happy? What do they need? Ask for their ideas. Engage them and listen to them. When employees feel heard and appreciated, they are happier and more productive. Others at work will see the improvement in your team and take notice. Share your learnings with other departments and you should see a shift in culture.
IIBA. 2019 IIBA Global Business Analysis Salary Survey. https://www.iiba.org/professional-development/career-centre/global-ba-salary-survey/
Marcus, Bonnie. ForbesWomen. January 17, 2019. The Double Whammy For Women Over 50 In The Workplace Today. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bonniemarcus/2019/01/17/the-double-whammy-for-women-over-50-in-the-workplace-today/#73a8a864175d
Newumark, David; Burn, Ian; Button, Patrick. NBER Working Paper No. 21669. Is It Harder for Older Workers to Find Jobs? New and Improved Evidence from a Field Experiment. November 2017. https://www.nber.org/papers/w21669