Happy International Women’s Day! On this day, we want to celebrate our progress towards gender equality and reflect on what this means in the workplace.
One of the many champions of gender equality within Shape is Danielle Smith, vice president of global human resources. She has been part of the Shape family for seven years, but one of her more recent initiatives—and passions—includes Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Women’s rights have always been a point of interest for her, and she is excited to walk with Shape on the road to gender equality! We sat down with Danielle to discuss this important topic and why she believes it is important.
- Why do you think gender equality is important?
I feel strongly that we will be a more innovative and successful company if our workforce make-up is reflective of our community and customer make-up. Not only does all the evidence support this, but honestly, I am personally more engaged working with people who are different than me.
- What does gender equality in the workplace mean to you?
Equality to me means equal opportunity to excel in the workplace because we’ve helped break down barriers for those who need assistance and we truly value the differing perspectives and experiences that come along with diverse teams.
- How are you (or how have you seen others) working towards gender equality?
I personally have become more heavily involved in women’s networks both inside and outside of Shape as a way to build relationships, understand challenges/barriers, and identify opportunities to help overcome those barriers.
- What challenges have you faced in this area within the workplace?
Honestly, even at an early age I found myself in situations where I felt different. Over the years, I’ve gotten better with challenging myself to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, persistently sharing my voice in respectful ways, and making tough decisions when my own core values were compromised.
- What is one small step people can take towards gender equality today?
Offer to mentor or educate a young female about opportunities in manufacturing. Another small step is to have the courage to speak up if someone’s voice or contribution is going unrecognized.
Danielle is one of many team members at Shape who are passionate about gender equality. We have team members around the globe that are determined to work towards this goal, including our president and CEO, Mark White:
“Gender equality is an important piece of our DEI efforts, and we want to tell the stories of our team members who have encountered progress in our workplace,” said White. “On this International Women’s Day, we also want to express thankfulness for all of Shape’s women and align ourselves with them to create a better, more inclusive work environment.”