Gender Equity in IT Panel by Zalando Women in Tech Employee Resource Group

Three Women in Tech leaders discuss Gender Equity in IT on a discussion panel organized by our Women in Tech Employee Resource Group.

photo of Anja Bergner
Anja Bergner

Employer Branding Manager

Posted on Apr 12, 2023

Our panelists on stage, from left to right: Ana Peleteiro Ramallo (host), Tian Su, Joyce Chen

As part of their week-long International Women's Day event series, the Zalando Women's Network and the Zalando Women in Tech Employee Resource Groups recently held an event to discuss the challenges that women in tech face in the workplace and to share ideas about how to overcome them. We welcomed women in tech leadership to the panel, who shared their experiences and insights into the world of work: Joyce Chen, VP Engineering Beauty; Tian Su, VP Customers, and host Ana Peleteiro Ramallo, Director of Applied Science.

Joyce Chen shared her past experience of being the first woman engineer in an all-men engineering group. She acknowledged that unconscious bias education has made progress over the last 10 years, and that she now has the language to describe what she went through. However, she also noted that the ratio of women to men in engineering, particularly in leadership positions, is still not good enough. To overcome this, Joyce shared the importance of mentoring, sponsorship, and reskilling.

Joyce also acknowledged that she often feels like she needs to work harder to prove her worth in a field dominated by men. She highlighted that this is a common feeling among women, and it stems from historic biases that still exist today. "To overcome this feeling: network, seek mentorship, believe in yourself, and empower yourself to achieve greatness."

Tian Su highlighted, "Men have historically been in leadership positions and therefore shaped society's perception of what good leadership looks like. This is why leadership is often seen through masculine traits. By bringing diversity into leadership, we can get different leadership styles, which can be beneficial for everyone." Tian also discussed the challenges in a former company of being the only mother on her team, which meant that she was not always able to attend social and training events after work. However, when she shared this with her former team, they realised that they hadn't considered this at all! They took the time and care to understand her situation, and they improved.

Ana Peleteiro Ramallo explained, "The way we think we need to behave at work is shaped by the leadership styles we see around us. It's important to bring clarity and your own perspective to your manager in order to help them understand your point of view".

Our panelists on stage, from left to right: Ana Peleteiro Ramallo (host), Tian Su, Joyce Chen

The panelists also discussed the importance of role models, allies, and mentoring in helping women to succeed in the workplace. Joyce stressed the need for sponsorship and support, and encouraged allies to speak up and amplify women's voices. Tian noted that her husband is her biggest ally, and that intentional outreach from colleagues who are men can also make a difference. Ana emphasized the importance of finding allies who understand you and are willing to listen.

The event then opened to a Q&A session, and the panel was asked how to build resilience and overcome unconscious bias. Ana stressed the importance of communicating your perspectives and raising your voice when necessary, while Tian suggested taking conversations to a 1:1 setting to create a safe and open environment. Joyce emphasized the need for transparency and training, starting from the interview stage.

Overall, the event was a great opportunity to share ideas and support women in the workplace. By continuing to have these conversations and advocating for change, we can work towards a more equitable and inclusive future for all. Thanks to the Zalando Women's Network and the Women in Tech Employee Resource Groups for organizing this session, and the panellists for sharing their experiences and thoughts with us!

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