International Women’s Day: Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

By OpenX in Life at OpenX|March 8, 2024

To mark International Women’s Day, we spoke with four women at OpenX on what this year’s theme means to them. The answers ranged from where diversity in tech leadership stands now to their meaningful experiences with mentorship and beyond. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Melanie Tymn, Culture Program Manager

Despite being relatively new to the ad tech industry, I’ve come across the firsthand experiences of other women who have been in adtech for years. Unfortunately, the industry has been known for the challenges regarding gender diversity and inclusion. This year, International Women’s Day focuses on championing women from diverse backgrounds, encouraging them not only to feel at ease expressing their authentic selves in their professional roles but to also be empowered to continue to shatter glass ceilings as they excel in their careers.

At OpenX, I’m incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by so many driven and powerful women who have paved the way for early-career female professionals like myself. I see them as mentors who have continuously reminded me to be confident in my abilities and celebrate my accomplishments without hesitation.

Within OpenX, our Women In Tech employee resource group aims to capture stories similar to those of the inspiring women I work alongside, who have overcome challenges to reach the highest point of their careers. This year’s theme serves as a reminder for those of us in influential positions within the industry to continue raising our voices and actively work toward positive change for every woman in adtech. By actively engaging in education and advocacy, each of us has the power to become an ally within the tech industry, working towards the advancement of opportunities and accomplishments for women across the world.

Stacy Bohrer, VP, US Sales

The gender imbalance in the technology industry continues to persist, especially when it comes to the number of women in leadership roles. According to a Global Gender Gap 2023 report, the proportion of women in C-suite positions in tech businesses stood at just 20%, while the share of women in senior leadership positions has barely changed since 2016. 

Women, especially those from underrepresented communities, need to see that people of all backgrounds can make it to the very top of businesses. Female leaders not only empower others to follow their lead, but challenge stereotypes and help to instill a culture that places value on integrity, emotional intelligence and empathy – an environment where everyone can thrive.

On this International Women’s Day (or month), I salute my independent mother. I can still recall days gone by in high school when my mother would wake me up blaring, “I’m woman hear me roar” before a major test or event. 

I was raised to believe that it wasn’t in spite of being a woman, but because of it, that I could do anything. My mother taught me that doing difficult things despite being afraid is bravery. As a woman in leadership, I force myself to be brave on a daily basis. And that, my friends, is to be woman.

“If I have to, I can do anything. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman”

Anna Hitchins, Director of Account Management, Publisher Development

Since becoming a working mom, I have realized the importance of work-life balance. I recently saw this billboard meme that said: “Twenty years from now, the only people who’ll remember if you worked late are your kids.” This quote really resonated with me as a working mother of 9 year old twin girls.

Rowena Taylor, VP, Publisher Partnerships, EMEA

I always find International women’s day to be a day of reflection, whether I intend it to be or not! This year alongside the fact that there are no more women in senior leadership in tech than there were in 2016, I am also struck by the continuing imbalance in the amount of unpaid support work women are expected to pick up. 

Women are still statistically more likely to be picking up the slack on domestic duties, life admin, childcare, and holding down full time jobs. 

With the added pressure of contributing to initiatives aimed at improving women’s chances of leadership roles such as coaching and mentoring programs, the scales are unfairly tipped. There is often significant value to these programs, not because women need to be fixed or made better for leadership but because who wouldn’t benefit from mentorship, coaching and training? 

I would like to see more Companies to properly recognise and reward the extra work done in this space or genuinely investing in trained professionals to roll out big projects. If a woman in your organisation has worked hard to deliver a program which is to the benefit of gender equality across the business, give her the credit she deserves. 

We also need to ensure men are visibly undertaking this support work of mentoring and coaching too. There is always the expectation that women will be involved in initiatives, so it’s a delight when men pick up the baton.