We know it’s not enough to say we need more women in the workforce but it’s also not enough to put a percentage at its growth. While that percentage rightfully holds meaning, its weight is only determined when you keep peeling at that onion.
But let’s still talk about those percentages. According to Deloitte Insights, women represent 32.9% of the overall workforce and 25% represent women in technical roles in 2022¹. According to Grant Thornton, the global proportion of women holding senior leadership positions grew to 31% in 2021, which is the highest it has ever been².
Here at LaunchGood, a crowdfunding platform, we have an overall workforce that consists of 44% women. Our leadership team is 50% female and 14% of our technical roles are held by women.
These numbers are comparatively higher to the industry standard and here I’d say “the numbers speak for themselves,” but there’s more to it. I got the chance to speak to some amazing women at our organization from new hires to veterans and from current aspiring leaders. We talked about the importance of women’s empowerment, the significance of female leadership, and the advantage of having a backbone of supporting women and men behind you.
How do you feel empowered working at LaunchGood?
The most interesting observation I had while talking to these women is that they naturally spoke about their experience as an employee, not necessarily a female employee. They all spoke of the team and struggled to define their experience as a woman at LaunchGood. Sobia Hussain, the Zakat Product Marketing Manager, says
“Our critical thinking is valued regardless of gender. We all have a space at the table and are valued equally.”
She relays to me that she feels empowered to fully embrace her role because of the sort of backup she receives from all her colleagues.
Zainab Husain, the Business Marketing Director says “success at LaunchGood is 100% merit based” and that speaks to how employees’ expertise is judged at face value and not dictated by gender.
What are the benefits to having women in leadership?
LaunchGood’s leadership team is 50% women and that’s excluding the women holding various different leadership and management positions. I had the honor of speaking to one of the women that make up this number. Maria Arshad, the Chief Product Officer, has a breadth of experience working and growing her career in engineering. As a woman in STEM, she has been the minority frequently in professional and academic settings.
Arshad says “Organizations, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, are not usually inclusive, where decision-making can often be one-sided. It’s important to have a good shura, council, and get people to give their input.”
The aspiring leaders that I spoke to mentioned their appreciation for the encouragement they receive from management to bring their whole selves forth and for being given autonomy over tasks and projects.
I asked Samiha Saeed, Associate Product Manager, who is also a recent hire, this question of the benefits of having women in leadership. She expressed how having female leadership is important to her because she then has role models whose struggles and experiences align with hers. It is not common to see Muslim hijab-wearing women lead in their respective organizations and/or communities. Being a part of multiple minorities, these individuals are met with many obstacles and their perseverance and resilience is what inspires other women.
How can women support other women in their organizations?
The usual workplace environment for women consists of snide comments, undermining their potential, and not being included in important conversations, to name the least. The female employees of LaunchGood that I spoke to never mentioned once that they felt out of place or unheard. This does not mean that it does not take place but the opposite was conveyed to me repeatedly. What I received from my conversations with them was how much they feel that they are all experts in what they do and that’s how they are treated.
According to NPR, 38% of all women experience sexual harassment in the workplace. The women who experience sexual harassment, 97% are reported to be from men³. It isn’t unknown that we are a remote organization, however, we host frequent in-person retreats when COVID allows. These retreats are met with enthusiasm and togetherness. One of my colleagues noted how the men were so respectful of her space and maintained courtesy, as well.
These responses spoke a lot about our company’s culture, which is based on the Barakah Culture. The Barakah Culture at LaunchGood is based on Islamic principles (values & beliefs) and on creating a work environment rooted in the sense of belonging and the focus on an inspired future. We anchor our actions in purpose and Islamic values so we can focus on helping the greater Muslim ummah.
It is the treatment of women in the workplace that truly determines the strength of these statistics. After interviewing my colleagues, I can conclude that our treatment of women means more than the percentage present and if anything it provides that depth to the number. There is always room for improvement and as our Barakah Culture suggests, we must always strive for ihsan, excellence, without becoming complacent. Inclusion is not measured by a number that’s reported externally but how the women that make up that number feel.
Ramadan is a great time to fundraise on LaunchGood. Whether it's for causes that support women's empowerment or anything else that you're passionate about, our team is here to help you make a difference in the lives of others this Ramadan. Click here to get in touch with our team today.
- Women in the tech industry: Gaining ground, but facing new headwinds. (2021). Deloitte Insights.
- Women in business 2021: A window of opportunity. (2021). Grant Thornton.
- 70+ Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Statistics. (2021). Etactics.
Zara Khan is an Influencer Marketing Specialist at LaunchGood. She loves journaling, café-hopping, volunteering and making a positive impact in the world.