By Martina Šíp Vlková | 8.3.2024

Overcoming gender stereotypes: Our steps towards workplace equality

Culture – 6 min read

Three smiling women working by the computer

Happy International Women's Day! We wish you equal pay, zero stereotypical jokes, and a workplace where you're not the default note-taker just because you're the only woman in the room. We want to see real change in the world, and here at Applifting, we're doing our part. Curious about how? We were too!

That’s why we went to the ladies' Slack channel (yes, it's a real thing) to hear their thoughts and opinions on working in the tech industry. Below are some topics that arose from our discussion and the steps we're taking at Applifting to ensure fairness and inclusion for everyone. 

Frontend developer programming by the computer

Tereza Šimková, frontend developer and team lead: From salary mystery to salary transparency

Tech is still a predominantly “male” field, and I’ve often found myself as the only girl on the team. I've always had to carve out my space and authority a bit, but I think that's something guys deal with too—it's more about personality differences than gender. Luckily, I didn't experience any inequalities between me and other male colleagues, but to be honest, I don't know if we were paid equally or not. In my previous job, pay details weren’t disclosed. 

I'm not a fan of the whole “salary mystery” thing. Oddly, talking about pay is often off-limits, yet—and let's be honest—salary is a major reason we all work! It creates a feeling that some people might be earning more without clear reasons—whether due to being able to talk their way into a higher salary or gender differences. At Applifting, I don't feel this way. Mainly because the pay is transparent, and we know how much everyone earns. 

Here's how it works: We have competency models for all roles where each level of seniority has a corresponding pay scale. At every level, there are clearly defined hard skills and soft skills an Applifter should possess to receive a raise. Everyone gets a mentor to guide them through the process, and together they decide when an Applifter is ready to move up. It's pretty awesome! Thanks to this, we all have the same opportunities to grow, and everyone knows how to advance their salary. 

Female CFO working by the computer

Veronika Bringlerová, chief financial officer: Part mom, part professional—a full-time heroine

Being part of a company where men make up most of the team was new to me. I was all the more surprised when I found an environment at Applifting that I had never encountered before. It's not just about the friendly atmosphere, the interesting field, the teal spirit, and transparency, but also about equal pay and competency conditions regardless of age, education, or gender. At Applifting, every opinion matters. My experience is that a woman's voice was never taken as seriously and had to be defended much more than a man's. Here, however, it's different, and thanks to this realization, I've been able to get to where I am now.

The most important thing for me is the tremendous flexibility and support I feel here. It allows me to work full-time as a CFO and as a mom. In my previous job, I encountered gossip and unfair views when my little girl was sick a lot, and I couldn't go to work in person. Working from home was seen as slacking off, even though I was fulfilling my duties just the same. Here, I can adjust my working hours so that I can function at 100% on both fronts and enjoy it. Working from home at Applifting is not a swear word and is, in fact, commonly used. You can read more about that in our articles about workplace flexibility.

I also appreciate that we have an environment where children want to be. I've often heard, “Mommy, I want to go to work with you!” We even have a beautiful kids' room packed with toys and games, where they like to play. I can work peacefully knowing that my child is safe and happy. I wish more moms could experience a work environment that supports their professional growth while respecting the role of motherhood. For the first time, I feel like a heroine who is fulfilling her professional and motherly dreams without guilt.

Head of People Care Team is smiling

Jana Procházková, head of People Care Team: Challenging gender norms together 

Whenever I engage in discussions about gender inequality, I come across two types of reactions: men often don’t see why it’s still a relevant topic, while women frequently recount past negative experiences. Many women hesitate to speak out due to fear of being labeled either as a “feminist” or “difficult”. On the other hand, a lot of men view themselves as champions of equality, puzzled by women's concerns.

At Applifting, we have a lot of mechanisms ensuring equal opportunities for everyone, so why do we still discuss such topics? Because the reality outside our doors is often different, and we shouldn’t shy away from addressing it. I believe any effort to raise awareness is important, and it's beneficial for us all. It works like a support group for our female colleagues. Sometimes, just sharing past experiences in a safe space is a big help. Women who have encountered bullying at work are more sensitive to certain jokes or comments and blame themselves for allowing this toxic behavior to happen. I believe this sharing makes them feel heard and understood. 

While discussions among women are very beneficial, real change requires inviting all parties to the chat. So, I make it a point to discuss these issues with my other colleagues. It's not formal or structured—I just like to occasionally bring it up during lunch or coffee breaks. For example, we talk about what our female colleagues might have experienced in their previous jobs and why it is not acceptable. I am very pleased when I see my colleagues reflect on the topic. Consequently, women no longer have to fear appearing too “weak” or unnecessarily “emancipated,” and colleagues understand that this topic is still very much alive in society. 

Diving deeper into the topic of equality

We hope these three perspectives on equality also gave you some insight into what our teal company culture looks like in practice. Thanks to our transparency, clearly defined competency models, and all-around flexibility, we're giving everyone the fair shot they deserve. We know that gender equality is still an issue, and we are trying to share our equal principles with the world, so next time it won't be an issue. Meanwhile, we're curious: Do you feel you have equal opportunities at your workplace?

For anyone interested in diving deeper into teal principles and our company culture, we're an open book. That means we are completely open-sourced, feel free to check out our culture on GitHub, and read “Reinventing Organizations” by Frédéric Laloux for more insights.

Before we wrap up, we've got to give a massive thanks to all the incredible women at Applifting. While we've highlighted three voices today, it's crucial to recognize the contributions and presence of all our women colleagues. Applifting simply wouldn't be what it is without them. 🩵

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