Paving the Way for Women in Product, Data & Analytics and Technology
DESPITE BEING SOME OF THE fastest-growing industries in the U.S., the science, technology, engineering and math-related (STEM) fields remain low in female representation. According to research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the AAUW, women make up only 28 percent of the STEM workforce in the U.S., consistent with the last 30 years. In addition, according to BLS data, women in STEM earn $20,000 less per year than men. While some of this gap can be attributed to pay disparities for the same positions, McKinsey & Company’s 2018 Women in the Workplace report shows a primary driver is the lack of female representation in higher-paying leadership positions in STEM.
During Women’s History Month, Equifax is spotlighting its community of technology-focused women and the employee network groups that play an important role in addressing underrepresentation in historically male-dominated industries like STEM.
Women supporting women
Women Advancing Technology Together (WATT), the women’s network within the Product, Data & Analytics and Technology (PDAT) division at Equifax, aims to empower one another through personal and professional development, working to ensure successful representation and impact within relevant industries.
“To fully live our values at Equifax, we have to foster an environment in which women can promote and empower each other – and celebrate their achievements,” said Alejandra Torchia, Senior Vice President, Technology International at Equifax. “This includes everything from being transparent as leaders with hiring and promotion processes, to promoting dialogue and creating an inclusive environment for our colleagues. As Executive Chair and Champion of WATT, part of our Global Women’s Network, I’m honored to support our leaders and women in furthering these efforts every day at Equifax.”
With over 500 members globally, WATT provides various opportunities throughout the year for women at Equifax to share their experiences and gain exposure to incredible opportunities, helping them to grow, lead and be their best not only at Equifax, but for years to come. These opportunities encompass everything from networking and events to podcasts and mentoring. In 2021, WATT held 38 events, 18 podcasts and more than 13 keynote speakers on topics from and about women.
In addition, Equifax is a proud supporter of Women in Technology (WIT), an Atlanta-based non-profit organization committed to empowering girls and women to excel in STEM-related fields from the classroom to the boardroom. In fact, two female PDAT leaders at Equifax serve on the organization’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Several other members of the WATT network also volunteer with WIT regularly.
“Having the opportunity to serve among some amazing women leaders on the WIT Board provides me the opportunity to shape the mission and direction of WIT and improve the positive impact it has on so many women's lives,” said Andra Milender, Chief Technology Officer at Equifax USIS and member of the WIT Executive Committee. “It’s inspiring to be part of an organization that provides support and growth through every step of a woman's career journey.
WIT is intentional about supporting and uplifting women. The organization is creating programs that support women at all levels of their careers and get more women interested in STEM careers.
“I’m passionate about product and technology development, and I am always looking for ways to encourage girls and young women to pursue careers in a similar field,” said Cecilia Mao, Chief Product Officer at Equifax and member of the WIT Board. “Participating in WIT alongside such capable, smart and energized women has really helped renew this passion for me. I feel lucky to continue my career at Equifax, where women are well-supported in technology and product roles.”
Breaking gender norms and unconscious bias
Faced with cultural and gender modesty norms – and sometimes imposter syndrome – many women struggle when it comes to talking about their own accomplishments. In the continual search for opportunities to empower women and enlighten against stereotypes, WATT joined forces with Google to offer the “I Am Remarkable” initiative for Equifax employees, challenging these social perceptions women face around self-promotion.
Focused on improving self-promotion, motivation and skills of women and underrepresented groups, I Am Remarkable helps address the unconscious bias many employees might experience. The WATT #IAmRemarkable workshops are offered in English and Spanish across the globe – and in different time zones – each month. During the 90-minute workshop, participants learn about the importance of self-promotion and are equipped with tools to develop this skill – both in their personal and professional lives.
“As women, we don’t celebrate our achievements as much as we should,” continued Torchia. “Together with Google, we are proud to help women recognize how remarkable and unique we are – and learn to take credit for it.”
For more information on how inclusion and diversity plays a large role in the Equifax culture, visit our website.