Why Intersectionality Matters at Work

Hosted By Lauren Conaway

InnovateHER KC

See All Episodes With Lauren Conaway

Ep. #935 - Why Intersectionality Matters at Work

In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Lauren Conaway and Katica Roy, CEO and founder of Pipeline Equity, are on the mic. The award-winning leaders, both dedicated to achieving gender equity, talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and the importance of intersectionality in the workplace.

Covered In This Episode

Equity and intersectionality are the new buzzwords in every industry. But what does it mean for employees and employers alike? Why are they crucial for every organization?

Dig into this honest conversation from Lauren and Katica; hear what these CEOs say about the gender pay gap, women in the workplace, and other gender-based issues.

Get Started with Full Scale

Open your eyes to some bitter truths about gender issues in the workplace. Listen to this Startup Hustle episode now!

Startup Podcast for Entrepreneurs


  • Katica Roy shares her personal story and experiences (02:25)
  • Katica’s family background and how it influenced what she does today (07:17)
  • Overcoming challenges in gender-based pay issues (09:25)
  • Pipeline Equity: its company mission and purpose (13:20)
  • What is intersectionality? (14:44)
  • The realities and issues of intersectionality at work(16:45)
  • Why does intersectionality matter? (21:28)
  • Benefits to consider in having a diverse team (24:25)
  • The truth about the gender pay gap (26:31)
  • How to increase equity and inclusivity efforts in your organization (28:44)
  • On equitable skilling for women (31:00)
  • Challenges that intersectional women experienced during the global pandemic (33:14)
  • On women and child care: how we can better support them (35:43)
  • On giving women more opportunities (43:50)
  • Who is Katica’s personal hero? (44:59)

Key Quotes

We have to embrace discomfort in realizing our own bias and ensuring that when people speak up, they are not penalized for that. And that we hear them. So it’s an uncomfortable process.

– Katica Roy

I think it’s really important for our listeners to understand. When we’re talking about issues of gender equity, and introducing intersectionality, we have to change the way we have these conversations. And make sure that we are acknowledging the very hidden harm.

– Lauren Conaway

Most of the solutions we have about gender diversity in the workplace are about fixing women. And women are not broken. The system is broken. Companies need to focus on fixing the system.

– Katica Roy

Sponsor Highlight

This episode of Startup Hustle is brought to you by Full Scale. You don’t need to endure a painful experience when hiring a software development team. Just use the Full Scale proprietary platform and define your technical needs today. It will match you with a fully vetted, highly experienced team of developers, engineers, testers, and leaders.

Moreover, if you have time, check out our list of Startup Hustle partners. These organizations support the startup community and may offer services that your company needs.

Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

00:00.80 Lauren Conaway
And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host, Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHER KC. And, of course, I would be just a big, old jerk if I didn’t talk to you about today’s episode sponsor. Today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. They can help you hire software developers. We know that it’s difficult. They can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And they have a proprietary platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Now, my friends, thank you for coming back to listen to us because we have an episode today that kind of thrills me to the tips of my toes. As you all know, I like women; I like to champion women. I like to support women. I like to talk about things like gender equity, and I like to talk about women in technology and STEMnists. And this all falls very much into things that make me excited and things that I’m passionate about. And today, we have a guest that has just been handed to me on a silver platter. We’re going to have a fantastic conversation with Katica Roy. Katica is the founder and CEO of Pipeline Equity. Katica, thank you so much for joining us today. Yeah, this is gonna be fun. I just want to hop right into it because we’re going to have an onion, and some layers, to peel for sure. And I’m going to ask you, Katica, just tell us about your journey.

01:16.68 Katica Roy
Thank you for having me. I’m excited about our conversation.

01:31.84 Katica Roy
My journey to founding Pipeline. You know, it really is three parts. I will tell them quickly, but all of them matter in terms of how I got to founding Pipeline.

01:39.37 Lauren Conaway
Okay. Setting an expectation. I love it. It’s good. It’s gonna be great.

01:49.80 Katica Roy
Because people say, oh no, three parts. I’m going to be asleep by the end. But I promise you won’t, so first is my family’s history. The second is my place in my family, and the third is my experience in the workforce.

02:03.92 Lauren Conaway

02:06.90 Katica Roy
So in terms of my family story, I am the daughter of an immigrant and a refugee. My mother was an immigrant; she was born in 1939, the year that World War II began on the isle of Guernsey. Which is one of the channel isles of Great Britain. In 1940, when France fell to the German army, Prime Minister Churchill doubted his ability to defend the channel isles. So he evacuated them, and he evacuated children from the channel isles to Mainland England. And my mother was one of those children.

02:42.60 Lauren Conaway
Oh, well.

02:44.29 Katica Roy
She was eighteen months old, the youngest of the kids separated from her mother and siblings. Turned into an orphanage and was adopted a year later. She came to America when she was 21 when she was an emancipated adult for equality and opportunity. So that’s my mother; she was incredibly strong.

03:02.97 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah, just imagine how strong she had to have been to make it through all of that. What about your dad?

03:14.97 Katica Roy
And so, my dad was a refugee. He escaped from Hungary after the fall of the 1956 revolution. His decision was difficult not only because he was risking his life but also the lives of my three oldest sisters, who were around 8 at the time. With the help of Hungarian Freedom Fighters, they walked across a minefield across the border and arrived at a refugee camp in Austria. Less than two months into their stay in the refugee camp, President Eisenhower sent Air Force 1 to bring twenty-one Hungarian refugees to the United States on Christmas Day.

03:55.95 Lauren Conaway
Oh, man, but that’s quite a history.

03:59.64 Katica Roy
It is, and so what one of the keys is. So two really quick things about that one are that, you know, as a parent, I have two kids. They’re what I think about risking your children’s lives. To walk it while watching them climb the stairs of air force one to freedom and that I sit here in this conversation with you and have the opportunity to found the startup Pipeline that I founded because of a person in a position of power.

04:21.90 Lauren Conaway

04:36.52 Katica Roy
Said not on my watch. This will not happen, and that was key to why I started Pipeline, my company.

04:42.13 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, wow. Well, what about your place in the family?

04:47.80 Katica Roy
So my place in the family is that I’m the youngest of kids, five girls, and so a lot of the things that justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for in her lifetime. Were things that I saw impact my sisters and their families and their economy. Well-being so things like the ability to get a credit card as a woman without a male cosigner and the ability to get an apartment or housing without a male cosigner. The ability to get a business loan without a male cosigner. All of those things were illegal in my lifetime, and I watched the reality of them in my family and thought, oh my gosh. This makes no sense. I mean, just to give you a sense of that.

05:35.20 Katica Roy
My oldest sister came here when she was 8. She didn’t speak any English, and ten years later, she graduated as the valedictorian of her high school class. Yeah, these are not people who suffer for intellect, right? And yet she would have.

05:40.92 Lauren Conaway
Oh well, what an incredible family, my goodness. Yeah, for sure.

05:52.44 Katica Roy
Laws that were on the books that barred her from full economic opportunity and the ability to, you know, enjoy that. Not only for herself but also for her family.

06:01.51 Lauren Conaway
Well, so what you’re talking about here is a very, I guess, tactical emotional, spiritual, philosophical reason to be, you know, like how you came to be here and care about things like gender equity.

06:17.17 Katica Roy

06:19.25 Lauren Conaway
And representation and inclusion talk to us a little bit about that journey like you know you have it: an immigrant mother, a refugee father. You know you have older siblings who are clearly just brilliant. How did that background bring you to what you do today?

06:35.86 Katica Roy
So yeah, and then I’ll also add on. Um, my experience in the workforce. So when I was a little girl, like most little girls. Um, I was told that if I worked hard and did well in school, I could be anything that I wanted to be.

06:55.21 Katica Roy
And we are well intended when we tell little girls that, and it’s not true, but we do, but it’s not true like it’s not true. Yeah, like you can be anything you want to be will not really yeah.

06:58.81 Lauren Conaway
I think we almost believe it too. Yeah, we kind of like it and in an abstract sort of way, but you really can accept, you know, society. Yeah.

07:15.13 Katica Roy
And we don’t teach them about the biases that they’ll face that those biases are not about them or their worth, and we don’t teach them how to combat those. I’ll talk about how I do that with my daughter in just a minute, but I want to do something.

07:18.36 Lauren Conaway
Right? Right.

07:32.10 Katica Roy
So I know I was a political science major undergrad in economics, and I learned a lot about women’s rights. I was an intern in Washington DC, and then when I got to the event, I met Gloria Steinem and then when I got to the labor force but I just don’t know that this really applies. And you know I just really fundamentally had taken that ethos of like if I work hard and do well in school I can be anything I want to be so I turned really from supporting women’s rights not that I didn’t support women’s rights I just didn’t really see it.

08:00.12 Lauren Conaway

08:07.37 Lauren Conaway

08:09.14 Katica Roy
And it’s current applicability with really the hand and focused on building my career with the idea that my gender wouldn’t impede my opportunity.

08:19.30 Lauren Conaway
Right? So there was a fundamental misunderstanding of like external forces that could prevent you from being everything that you wanted to be that is that accurate.

08:27.25 Katica Roy
Um, yes I will say experience. That’s very accurate and experience is a great teacher.

08:36.82 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, you know the world tells you know often enough and you come to expect it kind of deal now I completely understand. Um, well so how did you? How did you overcome that?

08:48.70 Katica Roy
So the last part is sort of my experience in the workforce which is that I’m a breadwinner mom who fought to be paid equitably twice and one I am the sole breadwinner for a family of four. I ah I will tell you one quick story. Um, which is that.

08:56.74 Lauren Conaway

09:08.54 Katica Roy
When I was on maternity leave with my daughter who’s my youngest. My boss was optimized which is a fancy word for fired and when I came back, I was asked if I had a team that I was managing. Two days after I came back from maternity leave I was asked to take on a team two weeks later. My male colleague who was a pay grade higher than I was was asked to take on one additional team and he also received additional compensation for that new team and I received nothing so I went to HR and my new manager and said how do I ah.

09:32.77 Lauren Conaway

09:38.41 Lauren Conaway

09:45.78 Katica Roy
Like how do you want to make it like this is a great opportunity. Wonderful timing. How do you want to make me whole my competition compensation and nothing happened for two months and I was a litigation paralegal. It was my job out of college and I thought something there has got to be something on the books that makes this illegal.

10:01.20 Lauren Conaway

10:03.58 Katica Roy
And so I found the Lily Ledbetter fair pay act which changed the statute of limitations for equal pay and it changed that essentially from when the decision was made around pay to when you are actually paid, and then the statute of limitation starts over every time you’re paid.

10:12.78 Lauren Conaway

10:21.10 Katica Roy
So I called a jar and said this is a Lily Ledbetter issue every time you pay me the statute of limitation starts over what do you want to do about it and so there was a pregnant pause on the other side.

10:29.35 Lauren Conaway
Oh my gosh. What did they say?

10:37.63 Katica Roy
And then what happened was they came back to me. They increased my level, increased my pay and gave me back pay and it was really in that moment you know, certainly it’s a story of success.

10:43.80 Lauren Conaway

10:52.37 Katica Roy
But also I thought, why do I research my rights in order to be treated fairly like I was a top performer. I’ve been promoted 7 times in 8 years, clearly a top performer and still like I’m having to fight this and it was really in that moment.

10:53.21 Lauren Conaway
Right? Like why is this not the expectation. Oh yeah, for sure.

11:09.23 Katica Roy
That is my journey to Pipeline began. It took me a while longer to actually find the Pipeline but it was that catalyst and then the understanding because of course I’d also inherited two teams so I inherited all the inequitable pay issues on those teams.

11:14.98 Lauren Conaway

11:25.23 Lauren Conaway

11:28.41 Katica Roy
I thought this was a huge issue and we need to figure out how to actually solve it once and for all.

11:33.29 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, yeah, that’s really Fascinating. Um I find it particularly Interesting. So some of our listeners know some of you might not. I actually have my very own special joy of a litigation situation with a gender-based hostile work environment. Ah so I understand I feel like I understand your story a little bit more than most because much like you.

11:52.89 Katica Roy

12:02.57 Lauren Conaway
Ah, that experience and some others certainly kind of galvanized my sense of purpose around gender equity and representation in the workforce. So I hate to hear those stories, but I absolutely love to learn about the women who become advocates.

12:04.40 Katica Roy

12:22.55 Lauren Conaway
And activists for their own success and for all women really everywhere and all marginalized people I mean let’s be real a win for one of us is a win for all of us. Yeah, well so tell us about yeah tell us about Pipeline.

12:24.10 Katica Roy
Um, yeah.

12:32.34 Katica Roy
That’s right.

12:38.38 Lauren Conaway
You know I’m curious about your day-to-day life. What’s your purpose, your mission?

12:43.24 Katica Roy
Our mission is to bend the arc of history and make gender equity a reality in our lifetime we started with the idea hypothesis I’m a gender economist and a researcher by Trade I so.

12:56.78 Lauren Conaway
Um, I just want you to know that when I formed innovators the way that I talk about that is that I had a hypothesis. I was like if we do this then we will see this and ah so I love that you’re speaking in scientific inquiry terms. That’s awesome. Bring it on.

13:16.19 Katica Roy
But what is the idea? I was on a podcast and I was asked if we ever had thought that we’d ever closed the gender pay gap in our lifetime and I said well not till we make it an economic issue and then I thought oh I think I can do that and so our hypothesis.

13:16.40 Lauren Conaway
But do that some more.

13:35.34 Katica Roy
Pipeline was that if we looked at the economic opportunity of equity, not just equity is the right thing to do. We could actually excuse ourselves, change the conversation and massively accelerate our time to equity.

13:42.31 Lauren Conaway

13:48.45 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, yeah.

13:50.84 Katica Roy
And so we are around the economic opportunity of equity. We actually started with research. We did a research study across 29 countries and what we found was that for every increase in intersectional gender equity. So gender. Plus race and ethnicity and age.

14:11.84 Lauren Conaway
Yep, so so so intersectionality is when you identify with multiple marginalized identities. So so a woman who also identifies as black who also identifies as LGBTQIA.

14:16.50 Katica Roy
Um, yeah.

14:27.28 Lauren Conaway
Those are layered layered identities of marginalization, and so you have them they require special care that just wanted to make that clear.

14:34.17 Katica Roy
Yeah, yeah for sure and I think for you know for folks um to go to yeah and then I’ll talk about what we found. But what is really important to understand and maybe will be that. We do not all have the same starting line if you’re a heterosexual white woman. You have a different starting line than a Black woman. You have a different starting line than an LGBTQ Latina like and then if you’re over the age of 30 like all of those things affect.

14:53.21 Lauren Conaway
So sure.

15:00.80 Lauren Conaway

15:07.41 Lauren Conaway
So yeah, so.

15:11.72 Katica Roy
Where your starting line is. That’s why the intersectional lens matters.

15:15.31 Lauren Conaway
Well, I think it’s important to note and I love so much that I’m talking to you because I’m like Yay we can speak the same language, but I do think that it’s really really important to note that as you are navigating intersectional identities. One of the things that you have to keep in mind is that the default identity is always the one that takes historic precedence. So I’m and I’m going to give an example of this for our listeners. So just as if for instance, back in.

15:39.40 Katica Roy

15:48.72 Lauren Conaway
It was about a year ago. We celebrated the 100 year anniversary of the women’s right to to vote and to women’s suffrage in the United States and everybody was all excited about it talking about how awesome it was that you know hey 100 years that’s amazing but what you have to remember. Is that we were actually marking a very different milestone. We were marking the anniversary of white women getting the vote and so you have this dominant narrative that takes over and it completely ignores the fact that most women of color.

16:12.14 Katica Roy

16:26.55 Lauren Conaway
Didn’t have unfettered access to voting until the voting rights act, and even then you’re dealing with communities that often deal with redlining and voter suppression and you know rules and regulations that are definitely racially based and so. We have to and I’m so sorry I’m going on this late tangent. Ah, but I just think it’s really important for our listeners to understand that when we’re talking about issues of gender equity and we introduce intersectionality, we have to change the way we have these conversations and make sure that we are acknowledging the very hidden harm.

16:46.60 Katica Roy
Um, it’s okay.

17:04.91 Lauren Conaway
That we can cause by completely ignoring someone else’s lived experience right? Katica, are you with me? Yeah, let’s hear it.

17:12.43 Katica Roy
I’m with you. I will add quick things on that and then I’ll tell your leaders. We actually found in every one that the other piece around the centennial of the amendment. Is that in 13 the supreme court decided a case which essentially struck the validity of Article 4 which was the main reinforcement for article, which were essentially all of them and I’m doing this at a high level.

17:42.70 Lauren Conaway

17:44.88 Katica Roy
All of the efforts in historically discriminatory voting districts to block people from voting and we have seen that ah play out in the elections and millions of people have been removed from Voter Rolls. So it’s really important to understand that. Um, 1965 has actually now been rolled back.

18:15.69 Lauren Conaway

18:19.70 Katica Roy
We are in an election year. I know that this is not a political podcast. However, however, yeah, however, if we are truly to be a democracy where every voice is heard and every voice matters.

18:22.87 Lauren Conaway
Go ahead and say that they give me a little bit of latitude here. So, go ahead.

18:36.81 Katica Roy
And we are a beacon of light for the world which was what was represented to my parents. Then we have to end that voting and having your voice heard is foundational to democracy; nothing, no other issue matters.

18:50.11 Lauren Conaway
That’s right.

18:55.40 Katica Roy
If you cannot be heard and so understand that not only like we have rolled back the progress that was fought to ensure that all women had the right to vote.

18:55.32 Lauren Conaway

19:11.84 Lauren Conaway
Yep, and it is ongoing. It is complicated and deeply harmful. Ah you know the systemic form of oppression that we impose and so yeah I just feel that. Let’s have these conversations, and that’s why Katica is here today. Now, one of the reasons that Katica is here today is because of the generosity of our sponsors. Today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. We know building a software team can be hard. But finding expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult. When you visit FullScale.io, you can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available developers, testers, and leaders are ready to join your team. It is just that easy. Visit https://fullscale.io to learn more. Now, friends, these are the kinds of conversations that fuel me. So, Katica, you’re gonna have to forgive me. I’m just getting so excited. But let’s go ahead and hop right back into it now.

20:13.96 Katica Roy
No worries.

20:20.29 Lauren Conaway
I know I’m going to pull an audible here katka and you’re going to have to. You’re just Goingnna have to bear with me guests, friends, and listeners in pre-show prep. I usually tell our speakers and our guests that the episode title doesn’t really matter. We can always change it if we end up having a different conversation, but I’m going to ask the question in the episode title because it’s the question that I really really want to ask you Kataica and I’m going to ask you why intersectionality matters.

20:50.86 Katica Roy
So I will ah top line it and then I’m going to go into some detail. So intersectionality matters. So that’s what you were talking about. We people are not invisible.

20:56.90 Lauren Conaway
Let’s wait. Let and let’s get granular.

21:08.57 Lauren Conaway

21:10.27 Katica Roy
If you as a company focus on for instance, gender equity as one pillar racial equity as another pillar. What happens is that you leave women of color out. Because if you do not look through the intersectional lens then your gender equity Efforts will be focused on white women and your racial equity Efforts will be largely focused on black men. Not that it’s not important however women and women of color will be left behind.

21:33.50 Lauren Conaway

21:38.89 Lauren Conaway

21:46.97 Katica Roy
I want to share a couple more pieces. Um, just – quick thing in our research that we did, and we’ve collected over a billion data points since then what we found was that for every increase in intersectional gender equity. So gender plus race and ethnicity and age There’s a 2% increase in revenue. What Pipeline is and then I’ll talk about what we found through an intersectional lens is augmented decision making so much like you would use Google maps or ways to get from point a to point b we actually do the very same thing. But for companies, people make decisions, so we actually get in front of the decision.

22:09.19 Lauren Conaway
So sure.

22:26.61 Katica Roy
Ah, before it’s made so internal hiring Mobility pay performance potential and promotion run those decisions through our algorithms and if we find any inequity we make a recommendation. So for instance in my experience like with my um. Story around fighting to be paid equitably I never would have had that experience had the company had Pipeline because my pay would have been run through the Pipeline platform and they would have said there’s a gap here from an intersectional lens. One of the things that we found. Is that the promotion Gap doubles for black women? So we measure Upward Mobility and what we found is that on average men are promoted at a rate of 21% greater than women when you look at that through an intersectional lens so specifically for black.

23:15.39 Lauren Conaway

23:22.60 Katica Roy
Women that gap actually doubles, that is men are promoted at a rate of 42% greater than Black women.

23:31.91 Lauren Conaway
That’s crazy, so let’s talk about data though because you’re talking about very serious pressing issues and again I like to keep on wanting to add context so listeners just bear with me here. But one of the things that we have to remember.

23:36.15 Katica Roy

23:49.11 Lauren Conaway
Data has shown time and time again that organizations that employ and use and leverage diverse teams perform better and so there’s a bottom line benefit, right?

24:00.93 Katica Roy
Yeah, and we focus on the top line. But yes, we focus on top line revenue.

24:07.10 Lauren Conaway
Well so so but there is a clear demonstrable benefit to employing diverse teams and yet still there is a gap so talk to us about why that might be and what in particular, what Pipeline can do to help eradicate that.

24:22.47 Katica Roy
Our system and our workplaces are equitable by default. They do not value everyone equitably so I was an executive.

24:29.51 Lauren Conaway

24:39.51 Katica Roy
Before I launched Pipeline clearly very committed to equity but I had to choose to be equitable, right? What Pipeline does is actually flip that so that companies that have Pipeline are equitable by default.

24:46.47 Lauren Conaway

24:58.10 Katica Roy
And what I mean by that is that all of those decisions running through the Pipeline platform if I receive a recommendation as a manager and ah, it’s recommending for instance hey. Lauren needs to be paid. You need to change Lauren. You need to increase Lauren’s pay and she needs to be paid in this range. I may have a good reason to reject that recommendation. But if I am rejecting that recommendation, I am choosing to be equitable.

25:27.00 Lauren Conaway

25:29.40 Katica Roy
That is a very different decision making model and because of that, what we have actually found is that on average, companies who use the Pipeline platform increase equity by 67% in the first three months on the platform.

25:43.93 Lauren Conaway
Wow! What does that look like?

25:49.31 Katica Roy
Ah, so let me know we often talk about the gender pay gap. Ah, here’s ah, here’s the thing that we found and then I’ll talk about what that looks like we’ve actually. Found that pay is the symptom. It’s not a disease. In other words, pay is the quantitative value that companies place in their talent on their talent, but the actual value happens before that in performance and potential so on average the average fortune fight. Fortune company has employees and they make 3 key decisions across their talent each year which is performance potential and pay so that’s one hundred eighty Thousand opportunities to move toward equity each and every year that’s what we make possible and that’s where we see companies have those huge leaps forward from where they currently are to actually um, achieving equity and we have the ah roi the return on investment actually built in in terms of revenue.

26:52.28 Lauren Conaway

26:54.13 Katica Roy
And what that means in terms of the economic footprint of the company.

26:59.23 Lauren Conaway
Those are impressive statistics and the fact that you have been able to create a platform that’s able to deliver that consistently is. I want to take a moment to honor that like I’m standing up and cheering in my heart. So I’m giving you a little round of applause. I don’t know if you can hear that but thank you mayor for sure anytime anytime you need to be gassed up a little bit and encouraged I am here I’m ready to go.

27:16.20 Katica Roy
I can hear that thank you.

27:27.80 Katica Roy
I love that. Thank you.

27:30.64 Lauren Conaway
Also, let me ask you this one of the things that I love to do is I help out the entrepreneurs and the founders and the folks who you know forming companies because I firmly believe, and I think you’d probably back me on this that the best diversity equity inclusion belonging. Ah, initiatives. They’re the ones that are baked in from day one um at every level of your organization. You have to be very mindful, and you have to intentionally set goals and milestones around your diversity equity and inclusion efforts right? So talk to us and talk to the folks at home. I’m asking you to talk.

27:50.98 Katica Roy

28:03.22 Katica Roy

28:09.13 Lauren Conaway
Tell them. What are some things that they can do right now to increase their equity? They set the psychological safety for any marginalized folks that they might employ, like what are some things that they can do.

28:19.98 Katica Roy

28:28.30 Katica Roy
I’m going to tell them what they can stop doing and then I’ll tell them what they can do. Ah so we need to? Um, we need to move away from the checkbox to diversity.

28:28.74 Lauren Conaway
Okay, yes, do that? Oh yes, let’s do that. Then.

28:43.19 Katica Roy
Just to give you a sense companies spend $8000000000 annually on unconscious bias training and that’s an example. It makes us feel like we’re making progress, but it actually doesn’t work and it can and because it puts forward stereotypes. It can actually make equity worse.

28:46.94 Lauren Conaway

28:52.99 Lauren Conaway

29:02.24 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, well, we’ll smack your hands if you put it out here. Don’t do that stop it? Yeah.

29:03.60 Katica Roy
Stop doing that. There’s a much better way to deploy that capital. Yeah, stop that and there’s a much better way to deploy that capital and and and I’ll talk about that I’ll also talk about some of the things that they can do So the two things that. That we actually need in terms of equitable solutions are Ai powered equity and equitable skilling. So obviously AI-powered equity is what Pipeline is running decisions through a system to augment them to ensure that they’re equitable.

29:28.43 Lauren Conaway

29:34.51 Lauren Conaway
Well because moving it through a totally unbiased system removes that unconscious bias at every organizational level right?

29:43.81 Katica Roy
Right? That’s right and especially at scale. It’s not you know you can’t do that with humans the second um piece is equitable skilling. So just to give you a level, set this.

29:51.13 Lauren Conaway

30:00.97 Katica Roy
Skilling has been talked about for quite a long time, but one of the things that happened during the pandemic is that we actually leaped forward 5 years in terms of digital acceleration and so that the jobs that were available in February 2020.

30:01.85 Lauren Conaway

30:11.58 Lauren Conaway

30:18.46 Katica Roy
Aren’t the jobs that are available now not one for one right? Obviously some of them are the same but not one for one most of those are in the future of work, and so we need to ensure two things when it comes to equitable scaling.

30:25.62 Lauren Conaway

30:34.68 Katica Roy
Is that women have equitable access to skilling opportunities. So when companies are training people or looking at boot camps or any of those things that they’re ensuring that access to those programs is equitable.

30:48.54 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, that.

30:53.30 Katica Roy
One data point most women cannot afford, and it’s not only women who cannot afford to go to a tech boot camp or a coding boot camp and not be paid. It’s just not economically feasible. That’s one example.

31:03.52 Lauren Conaway
Right? Yeah.

31:10.98 Katica Roy
And then the second is you talked about a hostile work environment. That is actually ensuring that women have equitable access to apply their skills. What we have found. Not Pipeline but what the research shows.

31:19.23 Lauren Conaway

31:27.74 Katica Roy
Half of all women in STEM, science, technology, engineering, and math will leave in the first ten years because of a hostile work environment and so we have to ensure that those two pieces are there.

31:40.57 Lauren Conaway

31:47.32 Katica Roy
And even if you don’t care about equity. Um, you need to do this as an employer from a labor market perspective because right now in the United States there are almost two jobs open for every person looking for work.

31:53.47 Lauren Conaway

32:06.15 Katica Roy
And as of um, well I know you so right? Well so we and right now there are fewer women in the labor force. Ah then there were at the beginning of the pandemic.

32:17.13 Lauren Conaway
Yeah I was actually gonna gonna ask you about that I have like 3 different directions that I want to go so I’m going to revisit a couple of things good well because I wanted to pop in there but you were on a roll so one of the things that I what you mentioned that you know we took a 5 year leap forward as far as digital access which is you know.

32:23.68 Katica Roy
Ah, sure.

32:32.24 Katica Roy
Um, yep.

32:36.49 Lauren Conway
Great one of those really weird, unexpected kind of positive side effects of enduring a global pandemic but one of the things that also happened at the dawn of the pandemic was women in particular and in particular intersectional women of color like further marginalized women.

32:51.55 Katica Roy

32:56.87 Lauren Conaway
Experienced a really really significant or a few really really significant steps back. Um, a lot of women and um, you know, marginalized individuals. They were primary caregivers for children they had to know so they had to figure out virtual schooling. Um, you know child care things like that when we’re talking about equitable Access Folks. We’re not just talking about money. Although that’s a huge part of it. We’re also talking about things like time and geography, and when we’re discussing access, you need to make sure that your initiatives are accessible from all angles.

33:20.24 Katica Roy
Um, the.

33:34.26 Lauren Conaway
Not just cost right? So talk to us a little bit about the Covid you know the great resignation the great She session is is what I heard it called I don’t know if I love it but talk to us a little bit about that is it just a little bit.

33:47.15 Katica Roy
Yep. How much time. Do you have any? Ah, I published One of the articles about the impact that a cover predicting the impact that COVID-19 would have on gender equity was published by a fast company.

33:53.83 Lauren Conaway

34:01.43 Lauren Conaway

34:07.50 Katica Roy
And then a follow on with NBC so currently. Ah, yeah, we currently have 760000 fewer women in the labor force than we did in February Twenty Twenty before the pandemic.

34:20.67 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, yeah.

34:23.70 Katica Roy
To give you a sense of why that matters from an economic perspective, we and women added $2000000000000 to the US GDP from 1970 to 2016 through their increased labor force participation.

34:33.40 Lauren Conaway
So yeah.

34:41.58 Katica Roy
Still sit at 29 years of progress lost in terms of women’s labor force participation rate and in terms of real dollars. That’s a trillion dollars that we’ve just drained out of the economy because of the impact on women I want.

34:48.22 Lauren Conaway

35:00.34 Katica Roy
If you’ll give me just another minute Lauren I want to address the conversation around women and child care. Not that it doesn’t matter. The issue is that women are the breadwinners and 40% of US households with children. There are 16000000 breadwinner moms like myself who support 28000000 children. They do not have the choice to leave the labor force because this narrative around how women can leave the labor force and or why they’re leaving the labor force is connected to ah. The myth of secondary income which is that women’s income is just for purses and shoes, and that’s not true. It’s for things like housing and health care and food, and so we need to make sure that the solutions that we’re putting forward are child care and paid leave.

35:40.17 Lauren Conaway
Right. Yeah.

35:56.22 Lauren Conaway

35:56.30 Katica Roy
Certainly are important. Don’t get me wrong, but they are not the only solutions that will bring women and I want not saying Lauren that you said that just for people who’ve heard this in the common narrative because it’s it’s talked a lot about in the media they are not the only solutions that will bring women back into the labor force and help us.

36:12.10 Lauren Conaway
Where do you know that you just introduced a topic that I’m going to have to drill down on though right right? You know you know that this is your fault I blame you.

36:13.39 Katica Roy
Um, realize the economic opportunity of Equity. Ah, of course I will take full responsibility.

36:26.25 Lauren Conaway
But I’m going to have to ask? What are some alternative solutions that maybe we’re not talking about enough.

36:29.92 Katica Roy
We need equity in the labor force. For instance, let me just give you a few stats. Women are 57% of all college graduates. 58 excuse me 47 people.

36:38.17 Lauren Conaway

36:43.72 Lauren Conaway
Yeah I was gonna say I was like wait. It’s actually like a significant margin.

36:47.90 Katica Roy
58 yeah 58% they used to be 57 that changed in the last couple of years 58% of all college graduates 47% of our labor force and 8% of fortune 500 CEOs those are significant gaps.

37:00.19 Lauren Conaway
Right? And that number becomes even more dismal when you’re talking about women of color and that it lies in the stat like honestly, it’s alarming how consistent. These numbers are I mean so just the other day I was talking about nonprofits and like something like 70% of nonprofit team members are women and yet only I believe 20% of Nonprofit Executive Directors leadership word of directors are are women and it’s like how is that even possible.

37:18.56 Katica Roy

37:26.15 Katica Roy
Are women bias.

37:32.47 Lauren Conaway
We have when you yeah like we have a Pipeline. It’s right there. The Pipeline is right there. How are we not availing ourselves of it any right? Bias.

37:41.69 Katica Roy
It’s why the yeah and it’s why the whole Pipeline argument is ah, not true. It’s not true. It’s just not true. The same thing happens in Health care and retail et cetera Um, the other piece is that women make up the majority of all.

37:47.67 Lauren Conaway
It’s bullshit. Yeah yeah.

37:59.53 Katica Roy
Of minimum wage workers in the United States, they are 70% of the lowest paid workers in the United States, and so those are two very real examples of inequity and our government I know is that our government has done a very bad job.

38:00.34 Lauren Conaway
Still. Scale.

38:19.27 Katica Roy
To ensure equity in their policies, we often assume that public policy, whether that’s legislation or the execution of new laws and policies. Um, as gender neutral, it’s not. It’s gender ignorant and we should look no farther than our neighbor to North Canada, which has realized this and adopted gender budgeting in what they call GBA, which is Gender Budgeting Analysis. So they actually understand the impact that any policy will have on both women and men. And and obviously nonbinary so we we need to and we need to ensure that also our public policy is taking equity into account.

39:03.31 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, well and in one of the things and and and I’m gonna have to ask you the human question here in a minute but this is gonna be my Pa for our friends listening at home because this is actually so I consult on the side when I’m not you know.

Katica Roy
Lauren Conaway
Crazy busy and and more often than not. It’s tech companies coming to me and asking hey why aren’t women applying for these positions and I you know I always kind of come back with well I have about 8 thoughts right? Off the top of my head, happy to talk about it.

39:32.56 Katica Roy

39:36.98 Lauren Conaway
But the fact is, this is for you listeners at home. The thing that you have to realize is that to realize the benefits of representation and inclusion at your particular workplace. You have to be ready to invest in it. True inclusion and equity always always always. This is my promise to you.

39:48.47 Katica Roy

39:55.54 Lauren Conaway
Always takes more time, more resources, more staff, more money, more everything. But in order to really do it and do it right? You’re going to have to invest in it, and so one of my questions to my onboarding clients is hey. If I make these recommendations and if I go through and I audit your systems and help you figure some things out and make some suggestions are you prepared to actually act on it. Are you prepared to reserve that budget and to. To work with experts who can help you get you where you need to be because I promise you it’s not an easy process even though it is extremely worthwhile. Ah so I just want to throw that out there, Katica. What do you think?

40:38.38 Katica Roy
But I agree I would add on two quick things, one is the willingness to be uncomfortable. Are you 9 out of 10 of us regardless of our gender, our bias against women and so on.

40:42.58 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, okay, yes, oh, please. Embrace discomfort.

40:54.34 Lauren Conaway

40:58.13 Katica Roy
So we have to embrace discomfort in ah realizing our own bias and um, ensuring that when people speak up, they are not penalized for that and that we hear them. So it’s an uncomfortable process.

41:09.38 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, for sure.

41:15.48 Katica Roy
And the other thing is that the very question of why aren’t more women applying for this job is the very issue with a lot of the solutions.

41:23.71 Lauren Conaway
That’s the wrong question. Yeah.

41:26.78 Katica Roy
Because we assume that women are broken, that they don’t know how to be in the labor force. So it’s applying for jobs or ending the uptick in their speech or you know all of those things and.

41:33.79 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, are you? But in reality, the question you should be asking yourself is why can my organization do to better reach out to speak to build relationships with the women that I want to hire.

41:50.99 Katica Roy

41:53.11 Lauren Conaway
Who are you? What can you do? What are you doing? Do you need to know? Reach out to women focused organizations. Do you do extra work? Do you need to do so to make women feel psychologically safe and comfortable in your environment? Yeah.

42:07.28 Katica Roy
And that they have equity of opportunity most of the solutions we have about gender diversity in the workplace are about fixing women and women are not broken. The system is broken. Companies need to focus on fixing the system.

42:12.26 Lauren Conaway
One way.

42:16.45 Lauren Conaway

42:24.10 Lauren Conaway

42:26.10 Katica Roy
So that women who look at those companies have two experiences, one they can actually see a career path for themselves so they see people and lots of them who look like them and so I hate mentorship but I was saying.

42:36.26 Lauren Conaway
Right? Well and they can. They can find mentorship and right is oh no goodby you and I were doing so well kind of good.

42:45.56 Katica Roy
Um, because mentors like well I know sorry but mentorship here’s why I don’t hate it. But it’s ah it has that assumption that I don’t know what I’m doing because I’m female rather than I already earned. I didn’t get the female MBA. I got an MBA.
43:00.88 Lauren Conaway

43:03.30 Katica Roy
And didn’t get a degree in setting it the female degree in software engineering I got the degree in software engineering. So I like sponsorship better because it already assumes I have everything and that would know yeah championship sponsorship like sponsorship like putting but but the other.

43:09.86 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, I was gonna say I was like so how do we feel about the championship at this point like it That’s been on the table. Okay, okay, cool.

43:22.87 Katica Roy
I would say like we just want to look at the applying for jobs thing which which you know we say oh you know there’s that common state of like women will and they apply if they have and men if they have 60 but that’s only half the story the other half of the stories that people the people sitting on the other side of the table are using the very same criteria that is if you have candidates for a role and is a woman she doesn’t have a 20% chance of getting the job she has zero because of bias your job as companies in fixing the system is to ensure that she has at the very least the 20%.

43:44.55 Lauren Conaway

43:54.12 Lauren Conaway
We have already gone over time my friends and this has been a fabulous conversation but I like watching the clock and I’m just like I don’t want to stop. I still have one more question but I do have one more question for you: are you ready? So, okay.

44:09.98 Katica Roy
Sure, yeah, I’m ready.

44:13.75 Lauren Conaway
I am going to ask you because I really want to know who your hero is.

44:21.84 Katica Roy
Oh, that’s a good question.

44:23.52 Lauren Conaway
I want to know. Well, you mentioned Gloria Steinem. Yes, so your previous statement inspired the human question today.

44:33.47 Katica Roy
I know I love Gloria. I mean, I think if you have the context around her, you know, and I will actually, but I’m not going to choose her. But um, man, it’s hard, so can I put two?

44:44.24 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, no, pick somebody else. Well, this is not a test.

44:50.66 Katica Roy
Yeah, I picked I can’t all like one. Oh, that’s so hard, I know, and you know, I mean, that’s so hard because there are two and for two different reasons. Um.

45:05.97 Lauren Conaway
Who came to your mind?

45:08.47 Katica Roy
It’s so hard to choose one because they both matter.

45:26.47 Lauren Conaway
I didn’t leave to break your brain, and like, this is not supposed to be a higher stress situation.

45:28.44 Katica Roy
Okay, I know, but they matter for different reasons. You know, I am going to choose Michelle Obama and not for the reason that most people think.

45:40.41 Lauren Conaway
Not through her arms.

45:47.76 Katica Roy
Michelle Obama, for folks who may not know, was actually the breadwinner of the Obama household before Barack became president. And so, most folks don’t know that. The reason is I remember the primaries.

45:53.21 Lauren Conaway
Yeah, I think I actually knew that.

46:06.96 Katica Roy
Um, when Barack Obama was running for president, Michelle was at some kind of picnic or something. And she talked about essentially what it was like to be a mom in the paid labor force because all moms work. Not all moms get paid and what she said was when I’m at work, I’m thinking about my kids. When I’m with my kids, I think about work. And it was the only time for me. I mean, I actually voted for him because of her.

46:25.45 Lauren Conaway

46:41.94 Lauren Conaway

46:44.30 Katica Roy
It was the time in my entire life that somebody who had my experience represented that perspective. It was so important because historically, we kind of put moms into love.

46:55.59 Lauren Conaway

47:03.66 Katica Roy
The mom-guilt is like moms feeling guilty because they’re away from their kids. But it’s half the story for a lot of us breadwinner moms, in particular.

47:07.42 Lauren Conaway
Yeah. Yeah.

47:18.31 Katica Roy
We also have that gnawing in the back of our heads when our kids are thinking about work. And that’s not socially acceptable. People don’t like to hear it, but it is the truth.

47:23.54 Lauren Conaway
Right? Yeah, well, I love that. And she’s definitely a hero of mine as well. So, thank you for sharing that end. And thank you for being on the show today.

47:36.31 Katica Roy
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for having so much fun.

47:39.84 Lauren Conaway
Oh, god, I’m so glad. Okay, that’s always my super secret goal. Like, hey, I want my guests to say that they had fun. Another fun thing, folks, I got to tell you, Full Scale is fun. If you are stressing about a software development product that you are trying to bring to market. And you need to hire some software engineers, Full Scale can help, and that is super fun. We love it when people can take things off an entrepreneur’s plate. Full Scale has the people and the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts. When you visit FullScale.io, all you need to do is answer a few questions. And then let the platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced software engineers, testers, and leaders at Full Scale. They specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you. To learn more, visit FullScale.io. Friends, really hoping that you will take a look at Startup Hustle TV. Go to https://youtube.com and search for Startup Hustle. We have a whole channel of webisodes dedicated to telling the real stories of entrepreneurship through the eyes of Startup Hustle hosts like myself, Heather, Matt, and Matt. You know, it’s a really fun thing to do, and we hope that you enjoy it. So definitely check it out. We are very thankful for you coming back week after week. Friends, keep on listening. We love telling these stories for you, and we will catch you on the flip side.