Much is said this month about the commemoration of International Women’s Day. Social media posts, organizational activities, advertisements, and media articles vindicate the efforts of millions of women who struggle every day to build a more egalitarian world for all. Yet, what we don’t always mention are the significant efforts within organizations to provide equal opportunities for men and women, a task that requires will and determination.
The technology & innovation sector is no stranger to this reality; although the figures have improved in recent years, it is clear that there is still a long way to go. Aware of this situation, the utility and telecommunications software company, Open International, has taken this issue seriously for a decade and has developed an organizational culture aimed at meeting the sustainable development objective of gender equality and equity, promoting an environment with fair conditions for women. Despite projections that indicate that by 2025 there will be a deficit of 162,000 professionals in the IT sector and that currently only 22% of graduates in the industry are women, Open has managed to increase the participation of women in its development center in Colombia by more than 20% in the last two years.
More than believing in a preferential policy, Open International is convinced that talent and intelligence are equally distributed and that the valuation of men and women should be based on merit and the quality of their work. For this reason, the company guarantees that everyone has the same growth chances within the organization. This has allowed them to make significant progress in terms of women’s leadership, as stated by Sandra Cardona, the company’s Organizational Wellness Head, who says, “I am perhaps a good example of the equitable environment that Open promotes; I started as an intern 15 years ago and today I am one of the many women who occupy a leadership position in the organization. It is satisfying for us to know that 33% of our people are women and that while only 20% of all Latin American companies have female CEOs or Top Managers, our presidential committee is made up of 30% of extraordinary leaders who are in charge of highly important areas of the company such as Sales and Finance”.
Nevertheless, the construction of an equitable environment is not limited to equal opportunities for professional development, but also expands to salary policies. According to data from the PAR 2021 Ranking, in the participating companies, there is still a gender pay gap of 23.54 % at the first level, 30.13 % at the second level and 29.96 % at the third level. In the technology sector, there are differences of up to 15% in the salaries between men and women. At Open, however, they have a different vision and aim to ensure that salaries are equal for all, depending on the position. “We know that intelligence and capacity are not based on gender and that goals and objectives
can be achieved by any of our collaborators, which is why the women at our company receive equal economic benefits as men in the same positions,” Cardona said.
In turn, the Open International spokeswoman highlighted the importance of the role of women in the progress and evolution of the company. “There are women at Open who have been representatives of important achievements of the company, spokeswomen and leaders of successful projects, experts who have developed new technologies, products and services, contributing in turn to the sustained economic growth of the company”. According to the consulting firm McKinsey, if all Latin American countries aligned their gender equality improvement rates, the region could increase its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 14%, or US$ 1.1 trillion by 2025.
Finally, Open calls for the promotion of women’s participation in technology, not only from companies but also from the education sector, which should attract more women to study careers related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Currently, with the boom in digital technologies, more profiles are being sought and both women and men can continue driving the development of the industry. “There is a long way to go but we are the evidence that if we take the matter seriously, we can advance not only in terms of inclusion and equity but also in our growth as a sector. In such a competitive market we hope that more and more organizations will join this message,” Cardona concluded.
About Open International
Open International is a specialized solutions provider in the utility and telecommunications industry with customers in over 19 countries. With its solutions, it has been able to support customer service processes in over 40 million utility, broadband, and telecommunication residential and commercial end customers. We believe that through innovation and commitment, we can empower our customers to enable its digital engine and simplify the way they operate, accelerate new business models implementation, and increase customer engagement. With these core values, we created Open Smartflex, a next-generation and cloud CIS that provides a powerful billing engine, a robust customer care suite, a native integrated CSS, extended meter-data-management functionalities, and an agile mobile workforce management system with a holistic approach to enhance customer experience.