What it Takes to Achieve Gender Equality: Q&A with Noa Geller, VP HR
Alex MargolinMarch 08, 2022
In honor of International Women’s Day (IWD), we spoke to Noa Geller, Papaya Global’s VP HR, about the steps Papaya Global has taken to achieve an even split of men and women across the company.
IWD is an annual celebration of women’s accomplishments and an opportunity to highlight ways to promote gender equality. Noa explained why gender balance is so important and how to #BreaktheBias – the theme of this year’s IWD campaign.
How does Papaya manage to maintain an equal ratio of men to women? How do you create that type of balance and maintain it for the future – in other words, how does Papaya Global #BreaktheBias?
Gender equality was part of Papaya Global’s DNA from the very beginning. As one of the very few companies co-founded and led by a woman – and still Israel’s only unicorn – we have always had a vision of women being an equal part of the company at every level. And that has been at the forefront as we remain in hyper-growth. So I’d say having a vision of equally and diversity is a good place to start.
But it’s crucial to remember, a vision on its own does not bring results. It’s not just the vision that makes it happen. It’s the ongoing commitment, the follow-through. It means paying attention to gender balance at every stage of recruiting. Our jobs descriptions use neutral language so we get as many female applicants as possible.
We work with organizations that promote women in tech to be more visible to women. It also helps that we have gender balance at all of the leadership positions, director and up. And of course, our CEO is a woman, and she’s an inspiring example who breaks every glass ceiling she sees.
I also have to point out, it’s important to track the numbers, especially in a hyper-growth company like Papaya Global, which has tripled in size in little more than a year. We have goals, follow-through, and tracking. All three parts are essential. Because I can tell you, I’ve never seen a company that has just randomly landed on a perfect ratio of men to women. It does not just happen, and there is no magical formula other than following through, checking progress, and making adjustments. That’s why #BreaktheBias is such a great theme. It reminds the world that it takes real effort to create real change.
Why is maintaining gender balance is so important for Papaya Global?
On the most simple and practical level, people are going to feel more comfortable when they are equally represented and not outnumbered. They will express themselves more freely and take more responsibility for their work. We don’t want anyone to feel unsafe expressing a contrary opinion.
The culture at Papaya Global encourages everyone to speak out. It allows people to express themselves freely. That’s a big part of the work environment we are building. We want people to leave their mark on the company, feel empowered to influence decisions at every level.
Gender balance in general have many advantages. It promotes growth because when the workforce is empowered, it achieves better results. It also promotes innovation because they help bring more new and original ideas to the table. Finally, at a time when job candidates often have two or three jobs offers to choose from, more people are going to choose a place where they feel diversity is a real value.
What is your vision of gender balance and diversity in the workplace?
From the start, we embrace the notion that we must think global and act local. Diversity for us is when our workforce in each location reflects its local culture. When we’re talking about gender diversity, that’s going to mean as close to 50/50 as possible.
We work hard to create a nurturing environment for everyone so that deserving people are recognized and promoted, including deserving women. We have many women leaders in the company, and they lead by example for other women. It empowers women to aim higher and be the best they can be.
We all need to work together to #Breakthebias. International Women’s Day is just one day. We work hard to make it happen constantly. It’s a process, a commitment to creating a fair and balanced workplace.
It requires constant reassessment – are we building the workforce we believe in? Are we meeting our goals and values? – and I can’t emphasize enough that there is no substitute for measuring our progress as we go. We don’t want to “feel” like the numbers are more or less balanced. We want to know it, and we have the means to measure it.