“The Baseline Should Be Equality”: Linktree’s Jessica Box

“The Baseline Should Be Equality”: Linktree’s Jessica Box

“I personally love that the UN’s International Women’s Day has a tech slant this year, I think it really shines a light on the digital gender pay gap and inequality for women and girls specifically,” said Jessica Box, senior director, product insights & analytics, at Linktree.

“The UN estimates that the lack of access women have to online sources, platforms, and opportunities will cause a $1.5 trillion loss to low- and middle-income countries by 2025,” she added.

Box has been working for Linktree for three years and has progressed, as has the company, from the head of growth to her current role. She had also previously served as the managing director of girls in tech Australia.

“I’ve really spent the last three years building the growth engine at Linktree. I joined when we were at two million customers and now we’re at 33 million — so it’s been a big shift,” she explained.

During that time the world went through the coronavirus pandemic. While we’re reticent to keep harping on about that time at B&T, the effect it has had on workplace culture was stark.

“During and then post-pandemic, there was a big move to people thinking of work as a component of their lives, not the entire purpose. The concept of hustle and hustle culture that has been perpetuated for so long is begging to really be challenged. I would say it has dissipated entirely in some company cultures,” said Box.

“I think this is particularly important for creating diverse and inclusive workplaces where women have the space to choose their day based on what their needs are, and the needs of their family members, and still be able to deliver what’s expected of them at work.”

At Linktree, Box explained that the company celebrates the stories of its female workforce every year.

“International Women’s Day creates the space for us to take notice of the amazing people we have within the company. We’ll be running a company-wide workshop to share our perspectives and build further empathy for the lived experiences of being a woman in a particularly male-dominated industry.

Linktree, for what it’s worth, introduced a pregnancy loss and miscarriage leave policy last year and launched a Transpositive Inclusion Policy the year before.

“We do a lot to support women and create a space where they feel like their whole selves often. I was the original driver of our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Council when I started three years ago.”

Of course, having a DEIB Council is all well and good. But, there is little point in having such a council if the workplace is not diverse — a problem that has plagued the tech industry for decades.

“The challenge I see in the tech industry for women is the lack of role models and this stems from under-representation. Given that women are only on 34 per cent of ASX 200 boards, the problem is that you can’t be what you can’t see.

“While it is a big, lofty problem, we need to break it down into creating space for women to share stories and opportunities so that women can see the opportunities that exist for them. And it needs to happen now for people to start thinking about how they can begin their careers and how they can transition through to different opportunities. I’m not saying that everyone needs to strive to be on a board, but there is a bias that comes from not being able to see the opportunities.”

For Box, passing the knowledge of those opportunities down is not merely a theoretical proposition.

“Last year, I was asked to speak at my high school which was a lot of fun. I was asked to share my career journey with the up-and-coming women of the future at the moment that they’re taking all-important life decisions and choosing their career paths,” she explained.

“I really spoke to the fact that no path needs to be linear and that life is a series of choices and that, as women, there are a lot of constructs put around you — within school in particular. I talked about how you can break those barriers down and push the ceilings that we create for ourselves really early on in our lives.

“I like that International Women’s Day is about challenging that and really pushing for a better world where equality, diversity, and inclusion is the only way, not just a way of being. Ultimately, this will close the gap as we challenge the cultural landscape, with constructed gender norms to create a better space where the baseline is equality.”

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