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International Women’s Day: Innovation and technology for all

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Kasey Zun

Mar 7, 2023

Today, Wednesday 8 March, is International Women’s Day. I’m taking a moment today to reflect on Xero’s progress towards our diversity, inclusion and belonging goals, and to think about what we can do to continue to evolve them.

This year, the UN Women International Women’s Day theme is ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’. The theme seems particularly relevant to Xero this year, as a technology company working hard to enable equal opportunities for not only our women employees, but also the wider tech community of women.

It also feels relevant as we welcomed our first-ever woman CEO, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, at the beginning of February. 

We’ve made strides in the past 12 months

Last month, we announced Xero was included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the fourth consecutive year. And, last week, we were ranked the best company in New Zealand and the best technology company globally for gender equality by data insights company, Equileap.

It was particularly pleasing to see that our performance in both of these reports have improved year-on-year – a direct reflection of the work we’re doing on diversity, inclusion and belonging at Xero. 

Late last year, our Chief Technology Officer, Mark Rees, signed the Diversity Pledge on Xero’s behalf, reflecting our commitment to ensuring the ideas of our female and diverse employees are not only seen and heard, but officially captured in our patents. 

We’re still a relatively young company, so currently we’re focused on building on the appropriate diversity, inclusion and belonging foundations to set us up for success today and into the future. We’re baking diversity and inclusion into our DNA. Some examples of steps we’ve made in the last year include:

  • Extending the reach of our Women of Xero and Diversity in Tech Employee Resource Groups – with branches now in all of our regions.
  • Introducing Religious, Ethical or Cultural Leave (REC Leave). This empowers our people to swap certain legislated public holidays to a day more relevant to their beliefs, customs and traditions.
  • Launching our new Xero Caregivers Platform, in partnership with Circle In.  
  • Committing to gender pay transparency by reporting our gender pay data in our annual report. 
  • Tracking diversity and inclusion metrics through our employee workforce platform, Workday.

And, as we look ahead to our gender equality targets of 45% representation of women among our senior leaders, our people leaders and all employees by 31 March 2025, I’m encouraged by the progress we continue to make towards these each year.

Inclusion and belonging is everyone’s responsibility at Xero

It’s important to acknowledge that it’s impossible to have true diversity, inclusion and belonging at Xero if it’s solely left to underrepresented groups advocating for themselves. Gender equality isn’t a “women’s issue”. To be truly inclusive, diversity needs to be woven into the fabric of the company. It starts with establishing clear values, and ensuring every person feels connected to  these values, in Xero’s case particularly #human and #ownership. 

At Xero, every single employee is responsible for embracing equality and inclusion, and we’re committed to supplying the tools and resources to ensure we continue to progress in this area. 

We know there is still work to do, but as I look ahead to the next 12 months and beyond, I’m confident we’re putting in the work where it counts.

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