Shaping an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World

March 8th at 9:00am by Dina Uthman

In many ways, the past year was marked by lots of capable women making giant strides toward greater equality. I'm thinking, for example, of Whitney Wolfe Herd, who recently and at just 31 years of age became the youngest female CEO of a publicly-traded company, Kamala Harris, who in late 2020 became the first black woman ever to be sworn in as U.S. vice president, or Angela Merkel, who has been one of the most defining faces of German (and European) politics. At the same time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation for many women in the world has worsened, being disproportionately impacted. ‘The pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems which are in turn amplifying the impacts of the pandemic’, a policy brief by the UN Secretary-General states. Yet, many female leaders and women’s organizations have risen to the challenge by showcasing their knowledge, skills, and tremendous perseverance to deal with this unprecedented situation. In many ways, the pandemic has once again highlighted the importance of women's participation in all decision- and policy-making processes to ensure the voices of women and girls around the world are heard. 

While these are crucial aspects in achieving equality for women, inequality doesn't only exist in terms of gender. All people deserve the same opportunities and treatment—regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, age, or socioeconomic background. Even though it is vital to make women's voices heard and to commemorate just that on International Women's Day, it is equally important to include all other groups in the discourse as well. And yes, even though some might find this inappropriate on this very day, this also includes men. As a woman in the tech industry, I’m fortunate enough to work in a comparatively young and modern environment that is probably ahead of other industries in terms of gender equality. Nevertheless, the gender pay gap in German tech companies is still at around 19 percent. Unacceptable circumstances like this one, recurring news of unequal treatment in various forms, or sexual harassment in the workplace illustrate why women have banded together to dismantle and counterbalance power structures that men have built over centuries. But if we really want to progress, I don't think there is a way around uniting people across genders (and, in fact, all groups) to find applicable solutions for the future—and this is what I want to advocate for. Even if it is a somewhat overused image: Building bridges instead of walls should be our approach

I am therefore both proud and happy to work for a company that has anchored this idea deeply in its corporate culture and where being different is seen as a competitive advantage. At zenloop, it's not about which gender you identify with or where you come from. It’s about what ideas you bring to the table and the extent to which you feel committed to the shared values that the team has set for itself: Together, positive, excellence, and fast. It’s about giving everyone—no matter their job title, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or age—the chance to raise concerns at any time and being involved in relevant decision making processes. Admittingly, the latter can slow down the decision-making, but it also guarantees an almost grassroots democratic participation of many different people which overall fosters the quality of the outcome. Approaches like this have, for example, automatically created a 60 % female leadership team with different social and cultural backgrounds—simply because the entire company benefits from it. Partly responsible for this amazing development is, of course, our founding team consisting of Paul, Björn, and Lukasz, who has always promoted an environment that enables diversity to unfold by itself.

To find a few closing words: Are we where we want to be today on this International Women's Day in 2021? No, not by a long shot. There is still a long way to go—both from a social and a business perspective. But, thanks to so many equality and civil rights movements, we now have the future in our hands together. And, as I would wish, not as representatives of our gender, but as people striving for a common goal: Equal opportunities for everyone.

About Dina Uthman
Dina is leading zenloop’s sales team. Together with her squad, she advises companies in different industries on building and expanding their experience management. Prior to that, Dina built sales teams at Meltwater and studied communications and business in Augsburg, Bordeaux, and Lisbon. With her background in communication, her approach is driven by a strong employee and customer focus. Dina is a vocal supporter of the value of diversity and advocates for fair and equal treatment in the corporate context.

Dina Uthman

Team Lead Sales