Want to Build a More Equitable World? Start at Work.

There’s no cookie-cutter way to build an inclusive culture, which is why Built In LA connected with local tech leaders to learn how they’ve approached the challenge of overcoming gender inequality.

Written by Adrienne Teeley
Published on Feb. 25, 2021
Want to Build a More Equitable World? Start at Work.
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In December 2020, companies around the United States continued to tighten their belts due to the severe economic impact of COVID-19. As a result, CNN reports that 140,000 jobs were lost in that month alone.

Every one of them belonged to a woman. 

It’s a staggering statistic, but illustrative of a phenomenon that has only grown in intensity since early last year. Women, particularly women of color, are leaving the workforce in greater numbers than men as childcare demands have skyrocketed and industries traditionally dominated by women continue to be hit hard by the pandemic. 

This crisis will likely take years to recover from. 

There are, however, rays of hope: Increasingly, companies are committing to taking action and building a more equitable environment that attracts and, importantly, retains diverse talent.

There’s no cookie-cutter way to build an inclusive culture, which is why Built In LA connected with local tech leaders to learn how they’ve approached the challenge of overcoming gender inequality. We learned that with the right policies, it’s possible to eliminate the pay gap, map out transparent frameworks for promotions, reduce bias and provide robust support systems for parents. 

In light of the recent jobs report, these policies are more important than ever. 

 

weedmaps
Weedmaps

 

Madeleine Castillo 
People Operations • Weedmaps

When it comes to working toward equity in the workplace, Weedmaps aims to walk the walk. According to Madeleine Castillo, a people operations leader, the company has rolled out benefits packages to support every employee, designated salary bands to ensure equal pay, inclusive job postings that attract diverse talent and more. 

 

First, what steps has your company taken to identify areas of improvement when it comes to gender equity in the workplace?

We’ve standardized systems and procedures that touch the employment experience and opportunity, ensuring fairness and dramatically decreasing the opportunity for bias. Examples include companywide leveling and salary bands, inclusive job postings, standardized candidate assessments and more. We’ve also invested in customized training at all levels to educate our workforce on the identification and prevention of discrimination, harassment and bias in the workplace, along with communicating our robust, multi-pronged reporting options.

 

What actions is your company taking to overcome gender inequity in the workplace? 

In addition to ample intentional sourcing, we work to ensure that all who identify as women are valued, heard and have equal opportunities after they are hired. From executive sponsorship of our womens’ employee resource group to providing supplemental and company-paid family planning and fertility benefits to auditing policies like parental leave, Weedmaps lives its commitment to gender equity.

We don’t view women, or any group, as a monolith.”


How do you ensure policies, programs and initiatives around gender equity take into account issues of intersectionality?

We don’t view women, or any group, as a monolith. For example, increasing paid maternity leave for a birth mother is a worthwhile investment, but doesn’t impact women who adopt or foster. We’re aware that access to restrooms that correspond to gender identity is a health and safety matter — and we take that seriously. 

Our health maintenance organization (HMO) plans are a strong fit for some of our female population, while others need the flexibility of a PPO. Our people operations team, a diverse group of women, regularly examines our compensation package, our culture, employee opportunity and the employee experience through an equity lens.

 

Responses edited for length and clarity. Photography provided by companies listed.

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