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4 Questions Worth Asking on International Women’s Day

Women at Planview share how they celebrate diversity and empowerment today and every day.

Published By Liz Llewellyn-Maxwell
4 Questions Worth Asking on International Women’s Day

Nearly 115 years ago, Clara Zetkin set a vision: that every country, every year, would celebrate women on the same day.

The group that Zetkin rallied in Copenhagen then — about 100 passionate women from 17 countries — has grown exponentially. In fact, International Women’s Day (IWD) is now an official holiday in more than 25 countries, with thousands of marches, debates, concerts, and talks taking place each year.

Planview is proud to participate.

Led by the Women@Planview Employee Resource Group (ERG), we’re hosting seven events in our offices around the world this month, from Bangalore to Vancouver. Plus, we’re joining the conversation on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

To recognize the official theme for IWD 2024 — “inspire inclusion” — we asked several women at Planview to share how they celebrate diversity and empowerment today and every day. Here’s what they said.

1. How can we foster a sense of belonging for women from diverse backgrounds? 

Picture of a smiling woman in red glasses

Antara Kundu

Product Manager, based in India

Conversation fosters a sense of belonging like nothing else. A few months back, I met a feisty lady in her early sixties. Despite our age disparity, we gelled well. The lady had held a very high position in the largest government bank in India. She spoke at length about the first decade of her job life, when women officers were rare in the Indian banking sector.  

I learned about her frequent interstate transfers, exposure to customers and colleagues from diverse social backgrounds, the many ways in which gender bias manifested in her surroundings, and how they could never hold her back.

I felt as if my journey as a woman professional is a continuation of her journey to boldly claim a space in a male-dominated world. 

Photo of smiling woman in dark blue blouse

Sophia Grace

Sr. Customer Success, Leader of ERG Women@Planview and ERG International based in Scotland (originally from Denmark)

It’s not just about creating a welcoming environment but also recognizing the value diversity brings to our organization’s growth and innovation.  

I’ve found that implementing diversity and inclusion programs not only educates us about biases but also opens up avenues for new perspectives and ideas. These programs have allowed me to appreciate the rich experiences that women from diverse backgrounds bring to the table, sparking creativity and innovation in our team.  

Additionally, establishing peer-mentorship programs that pair people from different cultural, educational, and work experience backgrounds has not only provided valuable support but has also enriched our professional development by exposing us to different leadership styles and approaches.  

By embracing diversity, we not only foster a sense of belonging but also fuel our organization’s growth and innovation. 

Photo of a smiling woman in front of a polka dot background

Aya Bark

Solution Consultant, based in the US (originally from Lebanon/Jordan)

To really foster a sense of belonging, I’ve found that it’s crucial to have and show genuine interest in other people’s cultures; to educate ourselves; and to never judge. Let’s face it, we’re all in this together. The more we can learn from each other, the better. As we learn from our experiences and grow as individuals, we also bring much of that to our community.  

As a woman who has experienced various social and professional cultures, I realized that, beyond the various international traditions, women everywhere aim to be top contributors at work, at home, and in their society without limitations or constraints.

So, let’s prioritize understanding, equality, and empathy. Let’s steer clear of stereotypes and preconceived notions. Instead, let’s celebrate the beautiful essence of human experiences. By doing so, we create a workplace — and a community — where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to succeed.

2. How can men and women break down barriers for women – together?

Photo of a smiling woman in front of a tan brick background

Tina Dankwart

Sr. Solution Consultant, based in England (originally from Germany)

The pandemic and lockdowns showed that breaking down barriers for women has to include breaking down barriers for men.  

It could start with how we view parental leave. In many parts of Europe, we can take parental leave, which applies to either parent. Yet, a lot of men fear they could be seen as “not taking their work seriously” if they do. Leaders must show the way. Take parental leave and set a good example for other men. Show your work-life balance.  

It will pave the way for all genders and tackle the myth that you “can’t have it all,” which is what puts a lot of women off the top careers. 

Photo of a smiling woman with a varied background

Ridhima Rajpurohit

Sr. Manager, Managed Services, based in India 

To genuinely promote inclusion and break down barriers for women, men and women must actively engage as allies and supporters.

For example, men can advance women’s equality by advocating for equal opportunities in leadership positions and challenging workplace biases. Simultaneously, women can uplift and amplify each other’s voices by creating mentorship networks, celebrating achievements, and establishing safe spaces for discussing shared experiences and concerns.

Through collaboration, empathy, and mutual respect, men and women can together create environments where gender equality thrives, paving the way for an equal future. 

Photo of a smiling woman in front of an abstract painting

Yessenia Zavala

Sr. Manager, Sales Development, Leader of ERG Pride, based in the US (originally from Mexico) 

Allies can engage in continuous education about gender biases and systemic inequalities to better support women. This includes challenging discriminatory behaviors, supporting policies that promote gender equality, and actively participating in discussions and actions that amplify women’s voices.

Providing mentorship, amplifying women’s achievements, and advocating for equitable policies are practical steps toward creating a supportive environment for all women. 

3. How can we promote global solidarity for women from all backgrounds?

Photo of a woman smiling in front of an abstract painting

Prabha Gupta

Sr. QA Engineer, Leader of ERG Women@Planview, based in the US (originally from India) 

The international community is taking action to promote global solidarity and inclusion for women from all walks of life, but the work is far from being done. Unfortunately, we have regressed in our effort to uplift and advance women in certain parts of the world, which is both worrisome and sad.

A lot more collaboration and active steps must be taken to continue bridging the gender gap. International organizations, governments, and other groups must step up and create and execute policies that promote gender equality and empower women globally.

Photo of a woman smiling in front of a tan background

Mara Puisite

VP, Transformation Solutions, Leader of ERG Women@Planview, based in the US (originally from Latvia) 

One fundamental approach is fostering empathy and understanding in our interactions. As we engage with people from different walks of life, it’s vital to recognize that we may not have the full context of their experiences or challenges. 

I’ve personally found that simple acts of kindness, such as asking open-ended questions like “How are you?” and creating a safe space for genuine conversation, can make a significant difference. By actively listening and showing support, we not only strengthen interpersonal connections but also contribute to a culture of inclusivity and belonging.

Furthermore, extending grace and offering support without judgment can go a long way in building trust and solidarity among individuals. It’s essential to acknowledge that everyone has their unique struggles and backgrounds, and by demonstrating empathy, we can foster a sense of community and support for women worldwide. 

4. What cross-cultural initiatives for promoting a global sisterhood inspire you?

Photo of a smiling woman in front of colorful architecture

Swetha Lakshmesha

Sr. Manager, Customer Success, based in India

Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with a remarkable organization that champions job opportunities for women across various backgrounds: #jobsforher.

Founded by Neha Bagaria, this initiative focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce. They aim to reintegrate 100,000 women into employment by providing mentoring, support, and fostering allyship among women. 

Photo of a smiling woman with a person in the background of the room

Tanya Quach

Strategic Customer Success Manager, based in Australia

The Women’s March originated in the US, but it has gained traction worldwide. This is a true demonstration of promoting a sense of global sisterhood.

While I’m not an active participant, I find it very inspiring that they’ve been able to raise such global awareness and connect women all over the globe to unite as one, and tackle issues around women’s rights. 

Photo of a smiling woman in glasses with an abstract painting in the background

Olena Palinkashova

Customer Renewals Specialist, based in Northern Ireland (originally from Ukraine)

One of the largest groups I know is the UN Women’s “HerForHe” campaign, which is a global solidarity movement that calls on men and boys to become advocates for gender equality and women’s rights. 

Also, I would like to make a small recommendation for a book called Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez, which is “exposing data bias in a world designed for men.” I found it to be a great, eye-opening read packed with facts and insights, and written with a touch of humor and flair. 

Inspiring Inclusion, Today and Every Day

The decision to inspire inclusion supports a vision — much like the one forged almost 115 years ago — of a world that’s free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. So often, uncovering the role that an individual can play in a global movement starts with curiosity. What can one person do to make a difference?

The questions in this blog post offer a place to begin. How you answer them today, on International Women’s Day, can shape how you might answer them every day. And those everyday actions are what is going to change the world.

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Written by Liz Llewellyn-Maxwell Sr. Manager, Content Marketing

Liz leads the go-to-market content team at Planview. She worked at LeanKit prior to the company being acquired by Planview. With more than a decade of Lean-Agile marketing experience, Liz passionately believes in the transformative power that applying Lean-Agile principles can have on teams and organizations.