Choose to Challenge – celebrating International Women’s Day
A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequity. We can choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. From challenge comes change, so let’s all #ChooseToChallenge.
For the team at OneStone, it’s more than a day of cheer at the office. It’s a commitment to take action throughout the year to support women. We believe equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue and we believe gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive. OneStone leaders, Emmy Evans, Merissa Purnomo, and Megan Petermann recently came together to discuss their thoughts about creating an inclusive world for women and some of the challenges facing our world when it comes to gender biases.
Merissa Purnomo: The pandemic has impacted women differently – especially working moms. It has amplified existing gendered fault-lines both at work and home. Many working moms have the greater burden of childcare, managing schoolwork with distance-learning, all while working from home.
Megan Petermann: We have a responsibility to invite other women to the table and even deeper – those who may not look like us. So how can we forge a more gender-equal world? Making sure, as women in leadership roles, we ask other women to share their opinions.
Megan Petermann: It’s the small things that keep the stereotypes around. We’ve all been in a situation where someone is describing a woman they don’t like and we need to ask ourselves if the adjectives being used are gender biased? For example: if a woman speaks too much in a meeting, she’s aggressive. If a man does, he’s confident.
Merissa Purnomo: I often ask myself this question – If this person was male, would I think the same thing about them?
Emmy Evans: It’s a lot of the little things that stack up. At first you ignore and the more you hear it, the more you notice and start to care. I’ve given pause and have been grateful that OneStone looks at our values every quarter and we evaluate our policies with the idea and hope that we’re encouraging inclusivity toward me and all women at our company. For a company to create gender parity there has to be recognition and desire to change.
The numbers don’t lie, according to this study, the reason that women don’t speak more in meetings is the fear of being perceived as too dominate and controlling – which is what happened when they spoke up. Adam Grant recently wrote in The Washington Post, “People expect men to be assertive and ambitious but women to be caring and other-oriented. A man who runs his mouth and holds court is a confident expert. A woman who talks is aggressive or pushy.” It’s a harsh reality that women believe they need to be silent and more polite or risk jeopardizing their careers.
In the ecommerce industry, what stereotypes or biases do you believe exist and how can we smash those stereotypes?
Merissa Purnomo: I work in operations and I’m also an engineer – both very male-dominated fields. I light up when I see a resume come through from a woman. I would love to continue to promote my field to other women.
Megan Petermann: I come from Club stores and most of the club managers are men. I feel like there is an opportunity to open this up to more women. It’s important for other women to see women in leadership roles so we can aspire to be like them. I’ve noticed that some of the best leaders, during the pandemic, have been women and I believe it’s because women have to deal with differently difficulties at home. Just as the pandemic has accelerated ecommerece, we are seeing women accelerated in leadership roles.
What will you challenge this year?
Emmy Evans: From my role in HR, the challenge for me is not just having a diversity strategy, but an inclusive culture. I love this quote from Verna Myers: “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”
Merissa Purnomo: My goal is to continue to help women at OneStone through mentorship and help women succeed.
Megan Petermann: My goal coming into a new place is how do I foster a place of empowerment. How do I make sure the team members we currently have feel empowered, have goals and aspirations. As our team grows how can use my power to connect and bring different thought processes and experiences.