Overheard for the first time ever in the Raintree elevator “I will only serve on a Board if at least 50% of its members are women” . The speaker? An extremely senior male legal professional who has held countless executive Board roles. Undoubtedly he has therefore sat through infinite meetings that drag on for hours, with endless egos, conflicts and indecision. The research is clear - diversity not only makes good working sense, it makes good business sense. In a recent study, US companies with more women Board Directors financially outperformed others by a massive 53%. So why do we still have a problem?
At a time where gender and power are increasingly at the forefront of people’s minds (certainly in developed countries) less than 5% of Fortune 500 companies had female CEOs in 2018. Closer to home, Cambodia is culturally a more matriarchal society in contrast to many of our ASEAN neighbours. In most Khmer families with higher income, it is women who have (or are perceived to have) the primary financial role. Yet in our present circumstance, not only are there an overwhelming proportion of male CEOs, but our co-founder has yet to moderate a panel with at least 50% women (the only exception being at women-only events!). Although International Women’s Day is approaching, we firmly believe this shouldn’t be confined to a flippant day of celebrations and action-less media.
Raintree reflects our beliefs in diversity through recruiting in our own team - with 60% of management and 50% of Board members female. But aside from living these values in our organisation, what else can we do? While this is a vast, deep-rooted and complex challenge to navigate, we want to start somewhere. Beginning with a focus on women in the workplace, here are four ways Team Raintree is driving the agenda this month:
#IAmRemarkable: Founded by two women in tech, I Am Remarkable is an initiative by Google to empower women and underrepresented groups to speak openly about their accomplishments in the workplace and beyond, thereby breaking modesty norms and glass ceilings. We are piloting the first ever edition in Cambodia, with an incredible facilitator and friend of Raintree - Anees Hasnain. As part of the Google Cloud Program, Anees is joining us all the way from San Francisco to lead the 90-minute workshop for young female professionals.
Thursday 7th March, the Canopy @ Raintree. More info here >>
Women in Tech Workshop by Development Innovations: As part of DI’s long-standing priority on improving female participation in tech and innovation, this meetup features a number of speakers in an open discussion of challenges they have overcome in the workplace throughout their careers, with the aim of identifying solutions to foster women in tech community in Cambodia.
Thursday 7th March, the Canopy @ Raintree. By invitation only.
Women in Tech Awards: In its second edition, the 2019 awards feature five categories of Entrepreneur, Engineer, Community, Digital Content, and Junior Innovator. The presentation will be part of Digital Cambodia, the first national tech expo powered by MPTC in partnership with NIPTICT, Smart Axiata, and Sabay. Team Raintree will be represented by our very own 2018 Winner - Community Manager, Penhleak Chan. Look out for us on the Startup Stage in the afternoon presenting our tech startup research too!
Friday 15th March, Koh Pich. More info here >>
Friends of Raintree: A whole roster of fantastic events celebrating women are happening this month, so here’s just a few highlights organised by our friends - getting our tunes on at the Women’s Day Concert by Baramey and Sound Initiative, shopping consciously at the Penh Lenh x Dorsu pop-up, including the awesome capsule collection in collaboration with SHE Investments (that’s a *triple threat* female event for you!), and hearing from Female Game Changers at the next edition of Women in Business, an ongoing initiative of BritCham and AusCham.
Various dates in March, links above for more info.
It’s a busy month for gender dialogue in the Kingdom, but if you’re interested to collaborate on future gender or diversity projects later this year, please get in touch with Team Raintree. Because we <3 diversity - not just today - but all year long.