A woman smiling siting in a chair

Every year, March 8 marks International Women’s Day. As a tech company, we want to put special focus on the incredible women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In Canada, women make up just 23% of the science and tech workforce despite the fact that 34% of people with STEM degrees are women.

While this obviously a number we’d love to see increase, we realize that positive social change takes time. We can’t force everyone, everywhere to encourage more women in STEM (although there are tons of great initiatives happening already), we can always have an impact on our small sphere of influence.

Starting with right inside the company.

Pay raises and promotions based on performance, not gender

A good place to start when it comes to elevating women is to look beyond gender and see what each individual brings to the table. Focusing on ability and merit, regardless of gender, race, religious background, etc, means that everyone has equal opportunity to advance. That’s why we pay based on a band system, ensuring that everyone is paid solely based on their skills and experience. Each person moves up the pay tiers as they become more specialized.

In that same vein, we promote capable women. In 2023, 25 people received promotions, 24 of whom were women. In total, 64% of our company’s leaders are women.

Flexibility reigns

Another key factor in promoting women in STEM roles is looking after their physical and emotional needs outside the workplace.

Work your hours from wherever you are

Not only are we work-from-home, but we’re work-from-a-coffee-shop, work-from-your-kids-soccer-practice, or wherever you have a WiFi connection. Heck, even if you need to get some working days in on the first few days of your Mexico vacation because flights are cheaper on a Wednesday, go for it.

The point is, if employees need to log on late, or log off a little early to take your kid to gymnastics or make sure the horses are fed, or it’s been the most stressful day and you simply can’t anymore, it’s no trouble.

Rethinking “interruptions”

While we work to live, we don’t work to survive. Up until the industrial era, the 9-5 workday didn’t exist. Life was intertwined with work and both were seen as valuable. That’s why when a kiddo gets sick and mom needs to focus her attention there, it’s no problem. Appointments and last-minute emergencies won’t dock mom or dad’s pay or personal days and oh my word, do we love it when kids show up in meetings!

We don’t expect you to sacrifice the important things in life in the name of corporate profits. Kids, pets, and family and friends come first.

Respect the rest

Rest and downtime is extremely important, and we recognize that staying healthy outside of work hours makes happy, more productive employees. In addition to being WFH, we also have a Right to Disconnect Policy, meaning when your workday is done, you’re not expected to respond to any Slack messages, emails, or phone calls.

Employees can also check in to a network of coworking spaces on company dollars if it’s closer to school pick-up, mom just needs a break away from the house, or your work bestie from the other side of the country is in town.

We also give unlimited sick days for moms, dads, AND kids, plus ample vacation and personal days—including summer hours to get a jump on that July long weekend traffic and make the commute a little less stressful.

Empowering others to do the same

Over the past few years, we’ve partnered with several organizations to make tech more accessible to underrepresented groups — including women. Since November 2022, our largest impact initiative to date, ICT Boost, has been removing barriers and supporting individuals through a whole range of pathways into fulfilling tech careers. To date, over 1,200 women have participated in various ICT Boost initiatives. One such initiative is our collaboration with Tellent to host career masterclasses for women and to offer the Propeller Experience, a fully funded, four-week virtual coaching program and collective that helps mid-career women discover what they truly want from their careers. So far, 150 women have graduated from this program, with 99% reporting increased confidence in the workplace.

While there is still room for improvement for women in tech, we believe that making a difference starts with us. From there, we can help other value-aligned companies do the same. Whether it’s ensuring pay equity, knowing and showing that kids are a blessing and come before work, offering flexible work hours and ample job advancement opportunities, or simply being there for the women of Lighthouse Labs, women are welcome and needed within our virtual walls to make this a better place for students and employees alike.

All that to say, Happy International Women's Day.

To read more on some amazing women in tech, from our alumnae to current employees, check out the links below.