August 26 is Women’s Equality Day in the United States; since 1972, it commemorates the 1920 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. While the right to vote is one component of equality, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) women were not given the right to vote until decades later. Black women in the United States, for instance, were not given the right to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. To that end, Women’s Equality Day has since expanded its inclusion and encompassed other ways to give all women equal rights and footing.
Earlier this year, as part of our ongoing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work, Turnitin launched four Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): BlackSource focusing on Black employees, LGBTQIA+ focusing on LGBTQIA+ employees, W.A.T.T. focusing on female-identifying employees, and a mental health ERG called Integrity without Stigma. Each ERG serves a community at Turnitin, and we want to introduce you to W.A.T.T.: Women at Turnitin Thriving.
W.A.T.T. highlights and celebrates the work women do at Turnitin. By identifying the needs of our constituency and working with internal stakeholders to update policies and practices addressing these needs, we hope our efforts support women at large.
Rita Kallas, employee founder of W.A.T.T., describes the ERG as “committed to creating a work culture where our female-identifying employees can truly THRIVE and belong, while simultaneously impacting how we as a company do business in the EdTechworld.” W.A.T.T.’s aim is to provide a safe space for female-identifying employees to be their authentic selves and take ownership of their contributions in an environment that fosters their personal and professional growth
At Turnitin, we’ve worked hard to achieve gender parity in both our employee workforce and leadership. Our commitment to diversity is an active commitment, as demonstrated by our global employee metrics.
But our goals don’t end at parity. We’re working to ensure that our environment is inclusive and equitable. And we understand, too, that this work is linked to integrity, core to our business mission.
Launched on International Women’s Day, W.A.T.T. announced a speaker series composed of inspirational women sharing their challenges and advice as leaders in their fields. In addition to bringing in outside speakers, W.A.T.T. has hosted a panel discussion and provided a space for our own inspiring members to share their stories and insights. These activities and initiatives help to support mentorship and identify job pathways that promote professional, personal, and financial development.
We hope this spirit, too, translates into the overall work we do at Turnitin to ensure that learning is always taking place and authentic voices are always upheld. We’re proud to support women’s equality at Turnitin, and while there’s more work to be done to ensure equality in our society, we want to take a pause to support Women’s Equality Day in the United States with the hope that eventually, such a day can be celebrated globally.