Why Empowering Women is Crucial to Global Business

Women that Rock
Liesl Leary-Perez, Vice President of Women in Localization

The language industry is dominated by women according to Common Sense Advisory. Yet, men still earn 19% more than women. But the real stories aren’t the ones that have been dissected by analysts and research reports. Rather, it’s the stories that women are afraid to share with anyone but a trusted few for fear of being portrayed as shrill and unprofessional.

It’s her story of being passed up for promotions while other men advanced. Or her story of being harassed and then portrayed as “over emotional” when she reported it. And it is also my story. At one point in my career, I was told by a male leader that if I wanted to be more successful, I needed to be more “likeable”. I never shared these stories with anyone until I went to a Women in Localization gathering and realized how important it is to have a safe space to share these stories. As long as these stories remained unspoken, only ever mentioned wearily on long commutes home to spouses or friends, nothing in our industry, or my career, would ever change.

But why does it matter if women are at the top? Putting morality aside for a minute, studies show women-led companies produce superior results than male dominated ones. One report showed that women CEO’s in the Fortune 1000 drove 3 times the returns as S&P enterprises run predominantly by men. According to a recent McKinsey study, “advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth”. The significant impact gender diversity has on success cannot be denied.  If we want to see the localization industry thrive, it’s in our best interest to promote more women to the top.

Women in Localization is not just a place for women to share stories, to be mentored and to be elevated. It’s also a place for companies to learn how to overcome subconscious biases that keep them from being more successful. It is a place to learn how to communicate, collaborate and engage with all employees that leads to better employee satisfaction and the kind of customer service that drives revenue growth.

SDL is proud to be a platinum sponsor of Women in Localization as well as an avid supporter of its core mission and values. Not only has SDL contributed time, resources and money to Women in Localization over the last six years, we have taken Women in Localization’s message to heart. Over the last seven years SDL has transformed from an organization run almost exclusively by white men to an organization where four of the 11 C-levels and 52% of the whole company are women. It is not a coincidence that this transformation has also coincided with a resurgence of innovation with the release of new products like SDL Language Cloud and SDL Content Assistant.

To foster global understanding and support Women in Localization’s mission, please join us on October 10thfor a special luncheon SDL is hosting for Women in Localization as part of our annual SDL Connect Conference. We encourage anyone who interested in supporting Women in Localization’s mission to attend; that includes men, people who aren’t SDL customers and even our competitors. Space is limited so please register here: http://bit.ly/womenl10nlunch

On a more personal note, what I lack in “likeability” I make up for in the firm conviction that women’s voices need to be heard.  To this end, I am looking forward to being the president of the Women in Localization Board in 2020.  Your voices are critical to my success so if you do come to the luncheon, please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself and let me know what more Women in Localization can do to help you succeed.