International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women across the globe and marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year, the theme is #ChooseToChallenge – which brings light to gender bias and unequal treatment women have faced in the workplace and beyond.
At Extreme, we are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. Our teams and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) work to cultivate an atmosphere where all employees thrive because of their differences, not despite them.
Why does gender diversity matter? We believe it’s a key area to focus on because ethically being an inclusive company is ethically the right thing to do, and of course, it makes logical sense that a diverse and inclusive employee base with a wide range of approaches and perspectives would be more competitive in a global economy. As luck would have it, there is also a statistically significant correlation between greater levels of diversity and a greater likelihood (21%+) to outperform relevant industry peer groups on a very key financial metric, profitability.
Our first ERG was our Women’s Leadership Council. As the leader of the Women’s Leadership Council, I am excited to share more about the initiatives we’re working on.
When we launched our Women’s Leadership Council three years ago, the number of women at Extreme Networks was around 18%. This isn’t an uncommon percentage in technology companies, but we set our sights on specific goals to increase the number of women at Extreme. To attract and retain female employees, the Women’s Leadership Council worked with the executive team and HR to implement female-friendly policies, strong professional development opportunities, on-the-job leadership training, and a formal mentorship program. I’m proud to share that in less than three years, we are nearing 25% – a 30% increase overall.
Another goal is to increase the number of women in leadership roles within the company. According to McKinsey & Company, men are 3x more likely to pursue a leadership role than women due to the invisible barrier on the corporate ladder called the “broken rung.” The broken rung phenomenon describes the biggest obstacle women face on the path to senior leadership as the first step up to manager. To combat this challenge, our Women’s Leadership Council is rolling out mentorship and advancement programs to make sure our women feel empowered to enter leadership roles with the confidence and support system they need to succeed. 75% of our functional areas have already seen an increase of women in leadership roles.
Thanks to focused initiatives around engagement, empowerment, and enrichment, the Women’s Leadership Council is able to set, work towards, and accomplish our goals. Below is a deeper dive into our initiatives.
Hats off to our leadership team for making diversity and inclusion as well as gender parity a priority at Extreme Networks. Without their genuine support in these initiatives, our programs would not be successful.
This International Women’s Day, I hope you take the time to both celebrate the accomplishments of women around the globe as well as give gratitude for those specific women that laid a foundation down that shaped your walk into the person that you have become. Being a part of a diverse community brings depth to our culture and depth to our soul. It’s a much more powerful way of being. Together we really can climb steep mountains and discover greener pastures.
There has never been a better time to be at Extreme Networks! If you’re interested in joining us, I encourage you to visit our careers page and learn more about our diversity and inclusion initiatives. Please stay tuned for more updates from Extreme’s Women’s Leadership Council, Extreme’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, and the many more Employee Resource Groups at Extreme.