Celebrating, Supporting, and Valuing Women Around the World

Today is International Women's Day (IWD) — a celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the globe. IWD has been globally celebrated in a variety of forms for more than 100 years and was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1975. I have to admit that it’s only been in the last few years since I lived and worked in Bangalore, where it was celebrated widely, that I’ve tuned in to the power of creating a global day of advocacy for women in the fight for gender parity. Being at Elastic has only amplified my belief in its importance and this year’s theme of #PressforProgress is more salient than ever.

Our workforce is truly globally distributed and we now have female Elasticians in 16 of the over 30 different countries in which we work. We are also a high-growth technology company and, unfortunately, not immune to the well documented challenges for women in tech. Celebrating International Women’s Day and standing in solidarity with women around the world is important to us. Creating a gender-diverse and supportive workplace, wherever that place may be, is something we take seriously.

So what does that look like at Elastic?

Over the past two years we’ve doubled-down on our recruiting efforts to attract and hire more women by partnering with hiring managers, building our talent brand through social media campaigns that showcase flexible working schedules and a supportive environment, plus using tools like Textio to create more compelling job descriptions and awareness around the impact of gendered language. That focus and effort is reaping terrific benefits as we’ve seen a 6% rise in female Elasticians overall — including a 4% increase of women in technical roles. Over the past six months, over 30% of our hires have been women. In addition, we’ve welcomed Betsey Nelson to our Board of Directors.

But that still leaves us with company-wide statistics that we aren’t satisfied with — we have only 24% women overall and 10% in technical roles at Elastic. And I am the only female executive on the leadership team.

We can and we will do better.

But hiring women is only one piece of the puzzle. Creating an environment where women can thrive and develop in their careers over the long term is another key component. Like any complex problem, creating such an environment is a product of myriad inputs: developing meaningful opportunities for women to advance, ensuring our company culture values kindness and where compassion is the norm, staying engaged with the broader tech community, implementing policies that support flexibility in the workplace, and, most importantly, being honest about where we can do better.

Supporting the Conversation

Last week we hosted our third Women’s Breakfast as part of our Elastic{ON} 2018 user conference. Each year it gets better and better as we learn and engage a broader cross-section of our community. The house was packed and we owe special thanks to the three women who came and shared their stories with us: Madhura Dudhgaonkar, who spoke openly and honestly about her process of learning how to give and receive feedback with grace; our own Rashmi Kulkarni, who shared her best practices confronting gender-imbalance through volunteering and engagement; and Tracy Osborn, who showed us how she handles anxiety, makes meaningful connections, and remembers her own self-worth as she approaches salary negotiations.

Later in the day, we held a meet-and-greet as well as a “Birds of a Feather” session focused on Diversity & Inclusion. It’s always encouraging and empowering to spend time with anyone else who is as passionate about  belonging (in the workplace) as we are!  These sessions inspired us to think about how how we can bring the “show on the road” and hold these types of forums during our Elastic{ON} tour stops — one day conferences held around the world — to extend the reach of our conversations around Diversity & Inclusion.

Empowering Elasticians

At Elastic we #PressforProgress by continuously assessing our programs and policies to ensure that we create the support networks our employees need to be successful. From evaluating pay across the board to ensure it’s equitable to providing forums for Elasticians from all walks of life and having open, honest, difficult discussions in a safe space to making sure our leave policies support our Elasticians during the good and hard times. We don’t always get it right but we will always keep trying.

To that end, I’m thrilled to announce that we are extending our paid parental leave to 16 weeks of 100% paid leave for parents at Elastic — moms or dads. This leave can be taken at any time within the first year of (new) parenthood. We know families come in all shapes and sizes. We strongly believe that offering an equal amount of time for paid paternity- and maternity-leave globally at Elastic means that we are fostering a more inclusive and diverse environment and sending the right message: everyone, regardless of gender and circumstances, is entitled to spend precious quality time with their child. Everyone, regardless of gender, is entitled to be a dedicated parent as well as a successful professional. Creating opportunities for women in the workplace goes hand-in-hand with creating opportunities for men in the home and allowing them the time to be dedicated, hands-on dads.  We believe this new policy is a big step in the right direction.

Being the Change

The World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report research tells us that gender parity is over 200 years away. That is a shocking statistic. In the end, it takes each one of us — women, men, and non-binary people engaged in purposeful collaboration and thoughtful dialogue to accelerate these efforts. While our actions at Elastic may feel small in the grand scheme of things, I believe that our individual and collective efforts do make a difference. As Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 

Although there is much work to do I’m proud of the steps we are taking at Elastic to create a more equitable future for all.