Crucial for men to be part of gender equality struggle: Jack Dorsey, Twitter

Jack Dorsey, Founder & CEO, Twitter; and Maya Hari, VP & MD, Twitter Asia Pacific; talk about Twitter being a gender-neutral platform at the Asian Women in Leadership Summit 2018

e4m by Apeksha Mishra
Updated: Nov 22, 2018 8:41 AM

The first India session of The Asian Women in Leadership Summit 2018, hosted recently, focused on gender equality and discussed how to accelerate change and hold a constructive dialogue on diversity and gender parity in the India inc. The high point of the summit was the participation of Twitter Co-Founder & CEO Jack Dorsey and Twitter Asia Pacific VP Maya Hari in a fireside chat with Vibha Bakshi, National Award winning director & producer.

Opening the session, Bakshi questioned Dorsey about his hopes from movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp that are trending on Twitter.

Jack replied saying that this was just the beginning. “Actions and conversations like these allow more people to participate and open up to discuss issues that we have been avoiding. Twitter has been very fortunate for people have chosen us to carry these important conversations. We don’t take this lightly. We have seen so many of these conversations on Twitter for the last 12 years and we hope that people continue to not only share their stories but also acknowledge and address the issues around them to be able to bring about a change,” he said further.

Discussing how important it is for men to stand up as the issue at hand isn’t a woman-centric struggle, Dorsey spoke about why it is crucial for men to be part of this struggle and how can one mobilise it. He said that the issue wasn’t about women only and that “we would need to seek a balance here.” “We need to recognise where the gaps are and how can we help bridge them,” he said.

Speaking to Hari, Bakshi asked her about the experience of being a woman in a tech-oriented company such as Twitter.

Hari replied, “I have to say that it’s a very fortunate place to be in. Our tech industry is one that has grappled with diversity for a few years in getting it right. The core essence of the tech industry stems from the fact that engineers build great technology. I am an engineer, but now when I step back and look at the entire industry, it’s very clear that there does exist this imbalance here. It’s been a very interesting journey for the tech industry by having open conversations, and Twitter has been able to play a part in that. I feel fortunate being at Twitter because not only does the platform very deeply care about representing every voice, but is also able to drive conversations that matter and showcase every side of a debate.”

Lauding Twitter’s policies, Hari said the platform puts in efforts to work on policies that can be effective. “We are among the first companies to introduce things like gender neutrality productively. I feel very fortunate being with Twitter. As a leader, I feel like I have an equal seat here,” claimed Hari.

Shifting focus to India, Bakshi asked Dorsey about his thoughts on India in terms of the value that resonates with him and not just numbers that represent a huge market. Dorsey said, “I have always been fascinated with this country and its people. To me, India is a country that is social, conversational, warm, creative and big in terms of people working together. Being the largest democracy on the planet, India is inspiring. It is also a very open, kind and happy place to me. I am definitely visiting India again.”

Speaking on how Twitter was making it better for women, making them a larger part of it in terms of numbers, Hari said, “Let’s start from the top of Jack’s leadership team. Three out of his eight staff members are women. That’s definitely a good start. We have a lot of women peers to look up to in the organisation. I feel very proud of our Asian leadership team.”

She added, “If I look at the director-plus level in Asia, we have either equal or better than equal representation of women leaders. In fact, my predecessor in my role was also a woman. The policies at Twitter are such that having women at leadership positions in the business brings in about a balance in a really nice way. It’s really important to have mentors and leaders who are aspirational and relatable and who people can look up to.”

Concluding the session, Bakshi asked Dorsey about where would he like Twitter to reach in terms of its achievement for the world. Dorsey replied saying, “I believe the power of Twitter comes from the concept of public conversation. What makes it really unique is that there are very few barriers and boundaries in a conversation. Twitter brings people into one global conversation and that one conversation is important and it’s happening. #MeToo is an example of this. It touched each and every industry, inspiring people to come out and share their views.”

“The reason it is important is because we are facing some pretty big problems that no one nation or community can solve. We at Twitter aim to help people see the value of public conversation. When people use Twitter, they are learning something and it’s not just to express outrage and anger. People are learning about their interests, community, city etc,” Dorsey signed off.

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