Mei 13, 2019

Episode 3: The Gender Gap In Tech And How's Gojek Bridging It

Episode 3: The Gender Gap In Tech And How's Gojek Bridging It

Intro: Hey guys, welcome to GO FIGURE. My name is Nadiem Makarim, CEO and Founder of GOJEK Southeast Asia's first Super App, which recently became a Decacorn. GO FIGURE is a podcast dedicated to expose the inner workings of ambitious tech companies in the emerging world. Hope you enjoy it.

Nadiem: Hey guys, welcome to GO FIGURE. That's right. So thanks for taking your time.

Aristiwidya: Pleasure!

Nadiem: I've gone with you guys a long way back now. We have Catherine over here who heads Go-Food, Business Head of Go-Food and we've been all the way back from McKinsey.

Catherine : Yes.

Nadiem: We were in Rocket Internet together.

Catherine : 2004, 2005

Nadiem: A long time.

Aristiwidya: Yeah, that is a long time

Nadiem: With Ika (Aristiwidya) over here, who heads our Culture and Engagement.

Aristiwidya: Yup.

Nadiem: So Ika (Aristiwidya) has all kinds of crazy insights about people who complain to her. Uh, and so the topic of today is really about diversity issues. You know, I think before we wanted to call it, um, women in tech, but we kind of discuss right before this podcast and it seems like why don't we just talk about the gender issues that are between men and women in tech and discuss it in a more holistic way because this is a very, very rich concept. And so like I told you guys this a time to be completely open and discuss things, how they are not what we want it to seem. Right. And that's I think an important point about GO FIGURE about how up front we are.

Catherine : Yeah.

Nadiem: But maybe you want to share a little bit about your background a little bit before,

Aristiwidya: Okay, so Ika (Aristiwidya) here background, what people, the biggest question people have about me is what was my background when people always guessed that I'm like a psychology background or something like that. And I actually double majored in Computer Science and Human Computer Interaction.

Nadiem: That's right. You never, you don't really see that. Engineer turned people

Aristiwidya: Major geek. So I'm more comfortable behind a computer that actually with people. But then when I came back to Indonesia, couldn't find an engineering job,

Catherine : When was this?

Aristiwidya: This was 2002, so a job was basically IT network and I didn't want to do,

Nadiem: It's a shame that GOJEK wasn't set up by that time, we would have hired you as an engineer

Aristiwidya: So yeah. and then 10, 15 years later, apparently now I'm programming humans and not machines. So that's actually super fun because then I tried to reverse engineer what actually works in people in organization and that's actually super fun.

Nadiem: Cool. Yeah, what about you?

Catherine : Hi, this is Catherine. So I wanted to mention, I started as a management consultant with Nadiem in McKenzie is like 2004, 2005 then after that, um, lived in India for almost two years with a VC firm and then after that mostly in e-commerce and hear in GOJEK now.

Nadiem: Awesome. It's great to have you guys, uh, powerful leaders in GOJEK, powerful women leaders in GOJEK. But let's talk a little bit about diversity and what it means. I think first of all, is it a problem? Is gender diversity a problem? I think it is. I don't know. You might have different opinions, but for me the first and foremost issue that I see is the fact that, you know, based on our data GOJEK has I think 55 or somewhere between 55 and 60% of our users are women.

Catherine : Yup.

Nadiem: And yet if you look at the ratio of women in our product management team and our engineering team and in the overall in the organization, it's nowhere near representing those ratios. Now, uh, I'm assuming that that's a problem because of the lack of perspective coming from a woman's side, which I do believe are different perspectives that they can bring and add to the table. But I'd like to kick it off with the first question is, do we have a problem and what is that problem? So...

Aristiwidya: I think if you're asking if, do we have a problem or not? If we're just looking from the numbers perspective, yes we do have a problem because like you said,

Nadiem: How bad are the numbers?

Aristiwidya: Right now? So we look at GOJEK can we look at international? Right? In terms of GOJEK, we're actually doing pretty well. I mean compared like the GOJEK between male and female, it's actually 40 to 60 but then in terms of management level, it goes down to like 30% right?

Nadiem: So women are 40% overall overall. Okay.

Aristiwidya: So it's actually actually pretty good.

Catherine : So probably at an entry level is quite even actually yes. There's always a number. Every time you see this kind of women in the workforce, entry level is always the same, as things goes up, the women will start trickling down.

Nadiem: So that's a clue there.

Aristiwidya: Yes.

Nadiem: So as we go higher and people get promoted, all the men, the men ratio becomes significantly bigger.

Aristiwidya: This is actually a bigger question because it's not necessarily in tech industry, it's actually across all industry.

Catherine : It's true.

Aristiwidya: The more you go up in the level, there's just less women. And even in general, we're asking like, Hey, what happened to all the women role models, if you look at Indonesia, how many women role models do you really know?

Nadiem: I know a few.

Aristiwidya: Right? And then compare that to men. If you look at, you know, Forbes Indonesia list of what nots. It's like we don't showcase enough women, we just don't know. And then, and this is actually a daily conversation between me and my friends, it's like, and then we have hypothesis, right hypothesis with there's hey maybe women just don't want to be showcased enough. One or maybe two. Uh, when you move up in your career or what not, you have more to sacrifice. Yes. Especially when you have families and kids and things like that. Right. And three, a lot of women just don't want to play, you know, put, I don't want to say play dirty, but I guess play dirty cause you have to actually play in the men's game and be comfortable living in a men's world.

Nadiem: Yeah.

Aristiwidya: Right. Because when there's the majority is men, you kind of have to like, you know, play in their field. And how many people are comfortable doing that?

Nadiem: You know, out of those three reasons you laid out, you know, realistically it's always a combination, right. Of all those things. Um, but I, you know, I want to kind of just going back to your point about the percentages. Do you notice that as a, is that like a, a linear or a consistently linear relationship that we have in GOJEK? So, if it's 40% overall then, and you said 30% leadership group, once you get to the very top, the directors, what is that number?

Aristiwidya: Let's do the math.

Nadiem: Like what is it? Are we at 10% 5% at heads?

Aristiwidya: Yeah. At heads, yeah. At head's only like

Catherine : 5 to 10%

Nadiem: So progressively gets worse. Yeah. I wasn't aware of that.

Catherine : If you look at it when I joined, I was the only business lead is female. That's right. Even until today.

Nadiem: That's right. Right. Yeah.

Aristiwidya: And before you joined, Monica was the only one.

Catherine : Yes. There's a specifically business one

Nadiem: Business than on the product side. So we have much more, so there's, there's two divisions, there's two biases. One is going up the ladder, the ratio of women get smaller. Also there is also a functional split between functional organizations and product groups. It seems that there are, there are more women in the functional organizations versus the product group side, which is and also product engineering. I would say specific

Catherine : It's Crystal and I now.

Nadiem: Yes the only two heads, two out of what 50, it's less two at a 30. But that's, that's fascinating. So why is that? What's happening there?

Catherine : I think like what Ika (Aristiwidya) said, right. I think clearly, um, I mentioned before we started this, right? I used to come from the camp of, okay, let's not victimise ourselves. That's not do self pity. I mean like, we just prove ourselves that we had to same as men, but now I think I come to realize, it is. There is a problem and, and I think societies one thing, not blaming it, but I think that there's an expectation, right?

Aristiwidya: Because for example, right, if women go home at like 10 at night, society in Indonesia will be like "Oh look at her, she goes home late... in her family..." It's like bad.

Nadiem: Why? Why is that? Like when you talking about society, you're talking about culture, talking about culture.

Aristiwidya: Culture, one because it's just not proper for women to actually go out at night. Right. And then if they go out at night, especially if they have a family, oh you know, this person, you know, values work so much, their family probably don't get enough attention will be something wrong with the family.

Catherine : This is even like among my friends. Right. Um, I have a this group of like old school friends group and then you're talking about there are probably one off the, among that seven, eight, people, that are still like probably single or something like that at this age. And then there'll be like comments, I don't think it's meant in a bad way, but it is a, yeah, as female - you have to choose that notion of as a female you have to choose between career and family. It's not the same expectation for men I guess.

Aristiwidya: Which is actually the gender issues is there and we can actually fight it also for men. Because, for example, if you choose to be a stay at home dad, right? What would society feel about that? Right.

Catherine : And how would your family feel about that?

Aristiwidya: How would your family feel about that? They're like, oh, men, you know, stay at home like, no, no, no.

Nadiem: I think that, you know, even for guys that assumption of expectation on you can also play a negative role. Like for example, you know, ever since I had kids about a year and a half ago, now I have two kids and they are babies and you know, I made a commitment to see them every day, which means I have to either see them in the morning or I see them before they go to bed at seven. Yeah. So inevitably what I have to do in order to meet that commitment is to actually shrink my time in the office. And you won't imagine how much guilt I have to deal with in having to deal with that. Because for, you know, in many ways for a woman that would probably be more okay. But I still feel that as a guy, we also do not, those expectations do not allow us to do that guilt free because of the expectation that you still need to more over being a CEO. Right. But that's also has come to play. But because I'm a guy, uh, I feel like that is also kind of building that sense of guilt, uh, of, of leaving, especially when other people are still in the office. Just to be able to say good night to my kids, even though I still work at night afterwards. But I think that's an interesting play that those expectations that will only affect women, but they also affect,

Catherine : I'm sure

Nadiem: mesh as well who want to decide to balance their roles.

Aristiwidya: And I realised, gender is always two ways, right? We can talk about men being mansplaining but you know, we know men also have stories of women whose,

Catherine : oh absolutely.

Aristiwidya: ... used their power in a very negative way. Let's talk, let's talk about mansplaining a little bit. What, what do we mean by mansplaining? Cause I keep hearing these topics about, but I mean I know the definition of mansplaining, but I'm saying what have you seen from the, uh, at least from your function and in culture and people coming up to you all the time with complaints. You know, what I get all the time is this concept of a few women leaders and a few women managers. They seem to find a lot of difficulty influencing a male counterpart to do something that they need them to do. And it usually the answer, the refusal to do so is done through this concept of mansplaining or patronizing voice saying, look, you don't understand how this is done, etc. So can, can we talk about cases of mansplaining and why this is seems to be such a big issue.

Catherine : But it's not only that, right. The one that I see mansplaining a lot is, um, for example, like this, this is a perfect kind of thing, right? There's one more guy there. Okay. And then Ika (Aristiwidya) say something and then, um, nothing happened. And then if you are the one who are repeating as so same thing. Suddenly that guy said, yeah, that's a good point.

Nadiem: Even though it's saying the same exact same thing.

Catherine : It's a paraphrasing.

Nadiem: So it doesn't necessarily have to be a patronizing voice. It could be simply not reacting or not acknowledging the comment of that.

Catherine : Do you agree with that Ika (Aristiwidya)

Aristiwidya: Yes, agree. And that's why for me, I personally never actually experienced it firsthand because, right. But then I understand a bunch of people feel it, so it's hard for me to empathize because I'm not in the room when that happens. Right. And I don't know if they're just not being clear or is it gender thing like I don't know. I don't want to assume.

Catherine : But that's the part, right? I think we take for granted, sometime female as well. Sometimes female are harder on under female. I think that one is given and sometimes we take for granted. I mean especially because we feel that we work hard to get where we are and then we feel that, then you have to do it as well. But not everyone can stand up for the lack of better word, can stand up for themselves like that. Right. So we have to empathize in that sense we as well.

Nadiem: But that's the alarming part. The complaints that sometimes I hear are coming from higher level women leaders in the organization. Sometimes where these things exactly. They just don't get acknowledge their comments, in the middle of the problem. So what do you think is happening on the lower levels, right? If we're talking about women with high power and influence facing this issue, do you expect that issue to be worse further down?

Cat & Ari: Absolutely.

Nadiem: Okay and let's not, let's not talk in a black box. Let's talk. We're tier to talk about overall performance of the organization because we have to have an anchor. So how does this disparity actually affect the performance of the overall company?

Catherine : Let me share this one statistic. I think you aware of this as well. I always like to use this, but sometime I like it when the guy's quoting this more because if I am a female quoting this statistic, it seems like I just want to prove ourself. So there is a study being done when there are two or more, the keyword is two or more female in the board of Director. It's statistically significant the performance of board is better.

Aristiwidya: True.

Nadiem: The performance of board or a company?

Catherine : The company is better is better in a board level because they are thinking about on a more higher level kind of higher level of position.

Nadiem: I've heard several statistic like that, yeah.

Catherine : This is why every time I'm being invited to talk about women, I always start with this because basically what I want to clarify is, I am not talking on behalf of women, I'm talking on behalf of diversity. Because if you double click on why performance is better when there's two or more female is because female bring a different angle or approach in approaching the same issues. So it's more the richness of the solution. So what I'm saying is it's not just gender here, they were talking about if also socioeconomic background is also religion is also race, it's also age and stuff.

Nadiem: Diversity across multiple dimensions.

Catherine : Exactly. But gender is the one that often being highlighted as well because that's one of the biggest issue of having that diversity in that high level. Absolutely. Yeah.

Nadiem: As is it's most visible. Right. So tying that back into to the whole performance question then what? Let's go one level down and discuss the root cause. What makes having a more uh, it's two things, right? There's equal numbers and there's also equal influence per level group, whatever it is to make it gender agnostic to your influence. Right. What does increasing, let's talk about women. We can go a little bit wider in terms of different types of the diversity, but let's talk about what even per say a gender diversity. What, what makes increasing the voice of women in an organization like GOJEK for example, improve its performance. Like can you share specific because if we can't define the mechanism by which this happens, we'll just be shooting in the dark and then it just becomes a moral or ethical discussion. But that's not what we're here today to talk about. We're talking about performance company, right?

Catherine : Very simple. Good example, right. I mean like when we do this like personal customer research for GO FOOD, I didn't realize that we have quite a big chunk of customer is basically working mom, okay, The working moms, they send GO FOOD during lunchtime to their kids at home because the kids go home from school and she feels guilty because she's not at home. He's sending a nice food to their kids and that's a quite a big chunk of our customer segmentation. For example, by us having female, like a working female in our product team or even like promo designing team or something like that. You think of that because there's a real, the customer there. So they look at it that way? Right?

Nadiem: I'll extend that topic just just a little bit. We had a previous podcast here where we will, we talked with with Dito and Hans about the impact of what happens when you bring engineers. Some of our engineers like say from India over to Jakarta and their firsthand experience using the product fundamentally alters the way they think about their product. Now, if that works in that closed anecdote as that and if that is true, that your experience dictates your ability to empathize with the user in a more powerful way, then by default having more people who are more reflective of your customer base will have, will increase the level of empathy and therefore increased the level of decision making that is closer to the user's needs. Right. And represents the diversity of those users instead of a monolithic views over who the user is.

Aristiwidya: Yeah and from the upward feedback data, it's fascinating to see that a lot of people who have female leaders and comparing them with anecdotes that they say wouldn't have male leaders. Um, the biggest criticism about people having a male leader, it's like, yeah, you know how my bosses are, right? They're extremely reactive. So there's this perception, there's this perception and doesn't matter. It's like coming from male or female, the way they actually phrase it as like if you have a male boss, they tend to be more reactive, but we have a female leader. It's less reactive.

Nadiem: Really. Why is that?

Aristiwidya: I don't know why,

Nadiem: What do you think is going on? More, reactive meaning what? Uh, changing, more indecisive or changing direction?

Aristiwidya: I think changing directions is happens all over at GOJEK, right. This is more like if there's trouble, if there's trouble a male leader will just be like, Oh yeah, this, this, this, this, this. Without really thinking of the, what the consequences are. Whereas a female, you don't be like, oh wait, let me see, wait, let me think about the consequences going to be A, B, C, D . Well that's actually the problem. So it's like slower in terms of problem solving.

Nadiem: Just to be clear, this is feedback from both male, both male and female subordinates. That have noticed this difference. Yeah. That's really interesting.

Aristiwidya: Really interesting.

Catherine : And that's across the board?

Aristiwidya: That's across the board. Yeah,

Catherine : Wow, I didn't, haven't seen that one.

Nadiem: You know, to be honest, I think part of what I love about GOJEK's sporadical candor culture is the ability to openly acknowledge the differences between men and women, which is something that's actually quite not quite nice in GOJEK where we can actually share differences, um, about, okay, what generally are the styles that are different or the preferences that are different in an open way that may not in other cultures or in maybe other countries or other companies might not be able to talk to you about. Right. And so I do not think that we can get to the crux of this gender gap issue. Um, without acknowledging the key differences of style of preference of natural inclination that the level of aggression, the level of consensus building, these are all different variables that may change slightly. Yes, but in general, of course it's not on an individual basis. This is just in aggregates, right? On an individual basis, you can get just as aggressive a female leaders if not more than male leaders, so we're not stereotyping, but there are differences that if we don't talk about, then we can't get to the root cause of the problem and see it. Let's start from the beginning. Let's start from recruitment, right? We've made a concerted effort to actually recruit more women despite the ....

Catherine : I as a female have problem with that,

Nadiem: With what?

Catherine : Like consciously say, oh, we have to hire more women.

Nadiem: Right? This is a controversial point. I acknowledge that.

Catherine : I never liked that. This is coming back to my point, right? I mean like we are here talking about gender issue and not asking for dispensation. Full stop. Right? That's different. What we are talking about here, if there is an equality or like different preferential treatment, but it's not if... If you're hiring intentionally more women. I think that one is wrong as well. Because it's preferential treatment towards women. That's not what we are going. I like what we are doing with the blind resume, so you hide the gender. I think that there's a right way to do it so you really hire base on the merit.

Nadiem: You're eliminating the inherent bias of that selection process.

Catherine : I think there's a way to do it right.

Nadiem: I mean that's interesting. I didn't know that. We're now doing that. Did we start doing that?

Aristiwidya: We started doing that for a few functions. Yes. I agree, but not, not all yet.

Nadiem: I would love to see the data of what comes out. Like did the ratio shift?

Aristiwidya: Okay. This is kind of like a high track. Then we started guessing because the way you write your resume. You kind kind of tell whether you're a guy or you're a girl.

Catherine : But that's better. I think that's the role I've been for me by blinding it is the right aptitude, the right way to approach the issue.

Nadiem: Instead of creating like a quotas or additional effort..

Aristiwidya: I don't believe in quotas.

Nadiem: And why does that bug you? As women why does that bug you then?

Catherine : Because for me, we are looking for a best performer regardless of the gender. That's the fundamental thing.

Nadiem: But here's where, here's where the logic, I think maybe somewhat flawed, right? Yes. I understand the argument about um, creating a purely gender agnostic performance based recruitment process, but at the same time getting the best individual leaders do not correspond naturally to the best performance of the company. If you believe that actually getting the voice or the perspective of women which represents the largest part of our consumer base business, 60% or so. If you believe that, then that ratio alone will have positive impact to the overall sense of that.

Aristiwidya: I don't feel like it's a ratio per se in terms of the total organization. I feel like it's like a project based, right? Because whatever project, problem you want to solve, then the task force of the diversity of the task force that you put into that project should be diverse enough. Right. I mean, we can actually say that our whole company is diverse, but then we're still not, you know, using the diversity in the most powerful way. Right? So if you want to, if you want to solve basically, you know, how can we serve the women out there better through our app or whatnot, then create a task force would have a good representation of women in every city. And we can actually organize it that way because, because if we do say we have 60% women and 40 male, do we still fix a problem that we're facing an organization? Not necessarily.

Catherine : It's only one thing. Right. I'm talking to you about that. Coming back to the mansplaining this kind of my own day to day operation of stuff. And then there's also part of the gender thing. Yeah.

Nadiem: Well what do you mean?

Catherine : I mean like the hiring, just like what Ika said (Aristiwidya) just because we have like the ratio doesn't solve the real issue of gender, right? Yeah.

Nadiem: We could be, we could be just treating the symptom, correct? Okay. So let's talk a little bit about what it's like for you guys to be a woman leader. I mean, you're right.

Aristiwidya: I have a bad answer.

Nadiem: Good or bad. There is no good or bad answers, right? There's just the true. Alright. So I'd love to hear what it's like. Challenges. Is it an advantage? Is that a disadvantage? Is it hard? Is it easy? Like, you know, I'm very curious to know from your personal as well as what you've heard from others around you.

Aristiwidya: Yeah. Um, from my side, I think because the way I was brought up and because I pretty much hang out with a lot of, you know, male in my life, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It doesn't feel like a problem right. For me, I don't differentiate being a leader as a male or a women or where I am. Right. And maybe it's because whatever people say or perceive you what not, I don't take things personally. So for me, for me personally, it's not an issue. Right. But then it becomes more of an issue for me when it's, when I started having child because then, but then I realized it's also not a gender issue. It's more me as a mom and how I see myself as a professional. Because before it's like, oh I can give 120 150% effort, I can work like 12 hour days. And I was like, I don't want to work 12 hour days, I need more. Right. But then every once around the needs like giving like 500% like I feel like I'm such a non performer now. The conflict is there in terms of leadership. Right. But it's, I don't, I don't attach it as a gender thing. Because like you said ....

Nadiem: But it is, but it is. Right. Because you so what's curious about your case? It seems that you've only become conscious of your gender when you had a kid and then suddenly, oh now I'm a woman and I'm realizing the constraints and limits. Yeah. So what was that change like from.. You recently had a kid for six months ago?

Aristiwidya: Yeah, seven months ago, and it was major conflict. Um, it was up to the point that last year I was telling Monica, I was like, maybe I should just be a stay at home mom. Like I don't know how to handle the work and baby at the same time. And I really don't know how to do it right. Because it's a first for me. Like I never had that role where I'm becoming, you know, this mother. Right. And then I think part of women, and I think this is the biggest challenge for all women. We like things to be perfect, right? And I think the biggest thing that I learned in my journey and I just a women, but to let go of perfectionism. Yes. Right. And then, and then especially being a first time mom, it's just like, okay, I want to be best at both I want to be best at work. I want to be do good at work and to do good at home.

Catherine : So we just don't sleep. Right.

Nadiem: That's a very unsustainable solution. Be the best at everything.

Aristiwidya: And then you like, like, okay, that's bad. Right? And like you said, right. Even at OKR key to like you'd need to sacrifice something. And I'm like, okay, what am I sacrificing this year?

Nadiem: That's right. Just so that for the listeners that don't know, I'm one of our top strategic themes for next year is be the best at what matters. Yep. And the key requirement is for all the leaders to actually, uh, transparently shout out what they are going to sacrifice in order to be the best at X. Right. And, and so this is actually a perfect example of once you have a kid, and I've only realized this after having a kid, even though I'm not the primary caretaker of my children, I'm also a caretaker. I might, I might need a secondary caretaker, but I can echo that, that feeling of what you have to trade off and yeah. To me that you simply cannot be the best at both. You have to choose, right? You have to choose.

Aristiwidya: Exactly. Yeah. So, and that's a big conflict because I've never actually had to choose before.

Nadiem: On having a kid, um, point how big of a role do you think having a child or expected to have more like expected to have a child in the next two, three years can have on your ability to get recruited or rejected? Yeah. From, uh, from, from tech and other companies today. How, how big of that in reality is it, I know people will never admit that, but is that how, how big of a factor do you think that is? I mean, you've been involved in all kinds of recruitment. You've talked to a lot of the head hunters. So what, what's your perspective there?

Aristiwidya: I hear the stories. I think for the lower level, it doesn't make much of a difference, but the more you move up, then because there's more expectation given on your responsibility, then it becomes harder. Right, right. Uh, because for example, if you are head of whatever, like GO FOOD, right? And suddenly you want to take a role, you know, it take a role as a mother and have, you know, triplets right Then suddenly it's like oh, and the peers would be like, it's not you. It's actually the peers. Like, oh, I don't think she can handle this. Right. And there's that judgment from the peers and then actually they started giving her job to other people. And I think the biggest problem is not not how to solve it, but the biggest problem because instead of telling you that, hey, we need to manage this with what it's like giving your job to someone else. And I think that's the biggest problem out there.

Nadiem: Without engaging that person.

Aristiwidya: Yeah. Yeah. So when she comes back and she's like, oh, I have smaller role now you know what's going on? Do, people not trust me anymore. So actually a lot of people are not comfortable in this crucial conversations and yeah, I think the key is crucial conversations.

Catherine : Yeah. The thing is also the thing is this, right? People are not comfortable addressing it. So like what Ika (Aristiwidya) said, it becomes designed like that, suddenly this person come back and there is not much left there because people are not comfortable saying, hey can you handle this?

Nadiem: Yeah. By bringing it up. And that source of discomfort comes from the fact that this gender diversity thing is kind of a touchy subject. And people don't want to feel offended when in reality you have to call it what it is suddenly the burden of this person's life. Yes. Professional and personal. It's all one lie, right? Yeah. There's a lot of people just can't, can't seem to figure that out. This is all one, one whole human being. And so, um, that was really interesting what you said. So that the level of discomfort is actually preventing having honest conversations about how we're going to make iot work

Catherine : because the spectrum we've hit off what gender, right. Actually the spectrum is huge idea buffing here and I have to note here that GOJEK. I mean with all my experience we are very lucky in a sense is almost negligible. What I see and encounter here compared to what it can be out there. So if you fill it here,

Nadiem: what's it like out there?

Catherine : Just amplify it. Like I told I I share with you both just now, right? I have this issue is that only three, four years ago. So it's like not long but I'm just not even 20, 30, 40 years ago we're talking about and then there is this group, a chat group basically that the CxO level of all the e-commerce company or like tech company or a part off for them to discuss about like can be a regulation, can be this can be that and all this kind of, it becomes like a thought process, kind of a thought partner in that group. So when I become the... Hey guys, I know about this group and I say, can I join? And they actually tell me flat out, no, I still remember the answer. They said like; this is a harder discussion than the remember last time discussions. Harder than that, Cat. I said why? And I didn't realize, because I come from a, from a background that people don't really tell the differentiate on that and say why, why can I join? They say like, Oh guys wants to talk about guys stuff.

Nadiem: Someone else told you that this is the reason why.

Catherine : The admin actually told me that flat out. And then after that, some guys, that's my friend tell me the conversation happening within the group about me wanting to get in.

Aristiwidya: This makes me curious though. If we see it from a male perspective, right. How does it feel like for you guys? Because I see a lot of people actually say, hey, you know, men are actually intimidated by strong women. That's why they don't want...

Nadiem: I think the reason why I don't get intimidated by strong women is because I grew up around very intimidating strong women So both my sisters, I have two older sisters who are all alphas and my mom is like supreme alpha. So all the strong personalities and my family have been, I've been, I was raised around women and very strong women.

Catherine : So how do you think that change you as a person

Aristiwidya: or shaped you?

Nadiem: The way it shaped me. I think seeing such strong women have wield massive influence everywhere means that to me I am potentially less sensitive to things that are going on around me that may disadvantage women. Right? I think it could become a blind spot because it's kind of like same like me going to a international school background as a kid growing up. So for me, I don't see race, I just see different ethnicities. I don't, I don't see racial issues that in some other cultures would be harder. So it's the same with me with gender,

Catherine : Because you think every women can stand up for themselves.

Nadiem: And so there's people like me and then there's people on the opposite side of the spectrum who don't see that many strong women's and they have a similar bias. But on the other side they see every time probably a woman is very strong or dominant, that they get intimidated. So that could also be a portion of their upbringing. But I think that the important point, whichever part of the spectrum you were raised, that having the sense of safety, of being able to talk about these issues openly in a culture is the key to Vicky and not get jumped on by people or by, you know, people in face to face or people on social media, etc. You'd become a very sensitive culture. And that's been exponentially increased the, through social media. And I think that that's actually making us further away from the solution when the solution, you know, things with gender diversity, things with to do with even harassment in the office, which happens in every single office and needs to be addressed. It needs the solution to this problem require both ends of the gender spectrum. It requires guys as much as girls.

Aristiwidya: And then even we can't like women with women equality, women empowerment. It cannot happen without, you know, the male being ....

Catherine : Absolutely.

Nadiem: And our voices are being heard. Right.

Aristiwidya: Because it goes two ways too, right?

Catherine : I think you bring up a real very good thing. Right. I think we're coming back to the issue we started this session talking about yes, there is a gender issue, right? But then if you're saying, what are the solution to it? Right. I think you touch it just now. The, the being open about it. Yeah. To be able to talk and be comfortable to say, Hey, you just mansplaining me just now. I think that is still ...

Nadiem: Call it out and call it out in a respectful way, which means face to face. Don't call it out in a different WhatsApp group or on Instagram.

Catherine : Exactly. Suddenly you post an instastory like talking about something like what are you talking about.

Nadiem: It's a shaming. In some ways, especially as we get younger generation becomes more of a shaming culture as opposed to, yo just have the courage to talk to that person up front. And I know it's harder. For some people in the position of power it's harder.

Aristiwidya: And that's why having a male part as to sponsor can help. So for example, if we're in a conversation and you're mansplaining to her, right, if another woman, it's not her, wouldn't a male think the that you're manspaling to her. It's much more powerful than actually she's calling you up. Right? So it takes a community to actually shift this gender mindset because it's not about you versus her, hers, whatnot. It's how are we as a community supporting each other on this journey.

Catherine : And it takes both sides. The female have to be able to stand up to say, hey, you just did that. And then for men to be sensitive enough and to be able to listen as well. I honestly, sometimes I feel that the guys didn't realize what they are doing.

Aristiwidya: I think that's a major as well.

Nadiem: I want to talk about that. I want to talk about it. It's just because I feel like right now if we took GOJEK as a spectrum, I think comparatively to the region and where we do have a very patriarchal society in Southeast Asia no matter which, which culture in Southeast Asia, it's very patriarchal and much more so than the western. GOJEK is at the very far and more diverse and more open side of that spectrum, a more positive versus relative to other companies in this region. Having said that, we're also in the middle whereby you have say companies in the u s that have taken this concept much, much further, but has also, from what I've heard and what I've observed has created a sense of great discomfort in the conversation because of the inability or the shaming culture or the inability to say something where people get offended constantly over there. So I kind of like where GOJEK sits here, but what I do hear about a lot are things like what you just mentioned, Cat, where it's not an explicit thing. It's not about, yes, I'm sure as the cases of harassment happened here and there. And that's just black and white. Any type of harassment, whichever gender just went right. That's, that should not be a gray area there. But the more acute issues are these dismissiveness. The sense of dismissing or not acknowledging in, in the discussion group, in whatsapp groups, wherever you have communication in larger groups, there is a consistent feeling of, I'm just going to ignore her comment and then respond to it when another guy says, why does this happen? And why do you feel that the guys are not, the males are not conscious of it.

Catherine : Let me start with saying that the world has progressed. We have to admit the world has progressed, but every progress is not 100% there yet. Right. I think this is a hundreds of years kind of issue, right? A female used to have no voice. And then some guys, for the lack of better word are less evolved than the other

Nadiem: [inaudible] for the guys who are listening [inaudible]

Catherine : Sometimes it's not really that guy's fault because they grew up, everyone's grew up in a totally different environment. They grew up, probably the mom is not very the more passive one or something like that. I think what's great. Thank you for, for coming up with this topic of podcasts, right? We have to call it out. Right? So I'm sorry to say if you are the less evolved one you have more catching up to do

Speaker 4: [inaudible]

Catherine : I think in that sense, is that right? I mean we have to start with the awareness of that, that they are coming from that and then in GOJEK it's not acceptable that you have to,

Nadiem: But you know what more evolved men can do. They can call it out. That's something that could have even greater immediacy when your male colleagues says, hold on a second, can we just hear her out? What she has to say?

Catherine: Isn't that what she just said?

Nadiem: Yeah. That's what she said right. So it could like, yes, it's great to actually call it out individually, but there are moments where by, you know, some, some, some women in place may not want to be that person who's draws the first flood every time and then be seen as, oh, she's always the one who makes this into a gender issue, which it might happen. That might happen very quickly. So there is also an onus on the other guys in the room who does notice that and who doesn't feel the same way and doesn't be it dismissive to call it out. And I feel like that could have double the impact, right? Because it'll, it'll wake up the guy who's not doing that.

Aristiwidya: Male sponsorship.

Nadiem: Is that what it's called? Let's talk from a macro angle. Now let's talk from a company wide angle. I mean, we are the leaders of this organization. We have a mandate to make the company perform the best possible. And we've decided that, you know, eliminating some of these discrepancies could have a very positive impact on our performance because of the mechanism that we described before. So as a process or as an organization, what do you think are some of the things that we can do? Perfect example was, for example, anonymization of CVS, a small thing, but potentially large impact. Is there other things? What's the scope of responsibility for the organization? Right? We as a leadership team, what, what are the things that we should be doing to kind of tackle these issues or mitigate at least mitigate the bad effects of this issue?

Aristiwidya: I think we should need to continue to create a safe space for people to call things out and be more mindful with groups or teams or people that don't have that safe space. Right? So for example, maybe the three of us, we can call each other out and can feel safe about it, but you know, you can think about going to a different groups like, oh, I don't feel comfortable in this group. You know, I'd rather be passive in this group because I don't feel like it's going nowhere. Right. How can create a safe space? And the second part of it, it's like you said, call it out, right? Can we have a system in a way, you know, in terms of values or word or verb where you see things happen, you just call it out.

Nadiem: But those are like those are expected behaviors. What are the systems in place? Or the policies in place that could encourage that behavior?

Aristiwidya: Well as much as I don't really believe in policies ... I know, right? So I think in terms of code of conduct and everything, we make an extremely clear, right, like no discrimination and it's male, female, it doesn't really matter. But then in terms of system, I think with the CVS in the system, we'd need to do, provide more data even in terms of the gender for example. In terms of leadership is there's a different, is there a difference between the female leaders and the male leaders? Because I believe we can learn from different genders because I think even though there's a gender issue, we can still learn a lot from each other despite gender, right? Despite gender being a bad thing,

Nadiem: So you're more pro showing the discrepancies, the statistical discrepancies so that each of the departments or the organization kind of wakes up to the fact that the gap is this big. It's kind of like showing a department, I'm not going to tell you how much you can spend on travel or entertainment expenses. I'm just going to show you what you spend versus others and then get them to change that behavior. That's proven to be quite effective. Right. At McKinsey, they used to show the employee engagement and compare it, per project, versus other teams. And so when your team is really down and demotivated, that team is like, okay. Immediately they take them out to dinner and say, hey guys, what can we do to be better? So instead of creating policies, we could just share some discrepancies where by you got to really pick it up, man. You're a department really needs to step up.

Catherine: Another one I think will be interesting. Right? I think this is, um, I think hiring recruitment is the front funnel of it. But then once, if we come in by the 50 50 at the beginning and it kept dwindling down as as it goes up. Right? Yeah, so I think another way that we can do about it as can be a bit more systematic, I'm just thinking out loud about it, is in a team when there is a mixed bag of female and male, we sometimes have to look at it. For example, my team, right? When I say like, okay, this person has a male and female team, how they split the work among them has they given equal opportunity for everyone to shined, right. I mean in that sense I think, I think all of us as a leader, I'm in like in whichever level you are, you have to continue us. Again, not about gender, but make sure that everyone has the equal opportunity to shine, to grow, Right? Because sometimes there's that, favouritism this going on unintentionally most of the time actually. Right. Because you're more comfortable. I think that's your question. Right. Why hire more males? Because they are more comfortable.

Nadiem: Male are more comfortable with males. Is that always true? Is that true? Why is that?

Catherine: You have to answer that question

Nadiem: I don't understand how that works in a professional setting, but I do see that very strongly in a social setting. Absolutely. I'll give you a perfect example. When a bunch of married couples come and meet and they're all friends, natural inclination is split up. So that's, that's a proxy for comfort, right? Call it biological comfort. I don't know. I don't know what it is. Um, but that definitely happens. I don't see necessarily the same on, on the professional side, but I guess the same mechanisms might be working.

Aristiwidya: Because we are social beings, right? We can't differentiate between professional or personal.

Catherine: Very simple. Sorry. GOJEK is a very social setting. If you think about it, we go out a lot with each other, right?

Nadiem: We're constantly seeing each other outside of work. Right? And meeting up as friends. The overlap between friends and professionals

Catherine: That's where the female males differences come out..

Aristiwidya: Even with meetings. Right. Even with meetings, like 50% of the meetings are done informally. Right? So that's why you're just comfortable, I guess naturally human beings, we're more comfortable with people who are similar to us like it.

Nadiem: Well, that's also another important rationale for why some form of balancing of the numbers is very important. Because if, if there's only one, I mean, you've been working, you've been like a single female in that leadership team for such a long time, especially in the, in the food team, it's getting better now. But, if that is the case, then the sense of psychological safety for whatever minority it is, whether it be female or it could be ethnic minority or anything else is a real sign of concern because it's a, it's a ticking, it's a ticking bomb of discomfort and stress. Yeah. If you don't feel 100% comfortable being in that environment. And so I think that's another reason why the number of discrepancies might also be important. Yeah. Despite us having issues. Yes, yes, yes, yes. Stickley with performance, space agnostic and all this other stuff. Because at the end of the day, and this is something that I fundamentally believe I raised this in one of our first podcasts. Is that psychological safety is a minimum viable requirement for a performer. You can't, you can't have a, yes, they are. They're the best performers I know are also, they are already intrinsically insecure. Most performers, you can tell, and I would like to challenge who out of anyone who is performing in the organization to just say that we don't have intrinsic insecurity because we're constantly shooting to be better, better a better. Yes. But that is different. Pushing yourself to be better all the time. It was very different from coming to work and being in a sense of psychological discomfort and lack of safety. Because there is no learning to be had when you're frightened. Discomfort. Stressed out. There's really no learning that can happen. Yeah. And I think that's one of the most compelling arguments for this, for this gender number equalization, right?

Aristiwidya: Yeah. And I'd like to also be mindful that even though, yes, I agree there's gender issue, but not everything has a gender issue. Right. Part of it could be gender, part of the personality or something else.

Nadiem: So that's a really interesting point. How do you balance the amount of discourse in an organization with which to, because you have to talk about it and you have to kind of pump prime the issue a little bit. Right. In order for things to real life balance, right. Where's the balance where that starts taking over and creating a sense of maybe overly PC-ness. Maybe like a discomfort on both sides of the, of the gender equation where, where do you think that balance is, where it becomes it's no longer constructive. Is there such a thing.

Catherine: That's very tough, right. I think as much as you are saying to call it out, it works both ways. Yeah. I mean like, we should call out and say, come on. You're just being too sensitive about that. Yeah. Right. And I think the onus is upon when I mentioned like, Oh guys, like the gather. The same thing, female like to gather as well. So for me it's a two way street in everything like this. Right. I think again, coming back it's the culture of able to stand up and then like call things out. Yeah. Right. For yourself and for each other

Aristiwidya: And actually more evolved people and not more just more evolved male. Because we don't want it to be gender right. Just more evolved people.

Catherine: Yeah, totally agree. Yeah. So should have a Hashtag for it.

Nadiem: I don't want to know what the comments are going to be on this, we're gonna have a male counter revolution on this. No, but I think, you know, I kind of wanted to just shift gear though and ask like one final point and if you were speaking to a say a college grad who was just jumping into the workplace right now and they are high performing and they have high ambitions and they really want to make a difference in tech or outside of tech. What advice would you give them?

Aristiwidya: Is this a female person?

Nadiem: Female. Would it be the exact same advice as a male or would you give them different advice?

Catherine: I always advice the same. For me, the advice when people ask, especially if it's college graduate, right. Don't take yourself too seriously. That's always what... that what people asked me. Right. It's like, oh, what are you saying? Should I join or no, should I go here or there? Sometimes it does. Just don't take yourself too seriously. Most things in life. What's the worst that can happen? Don't kill anyone. Right. But most things in life, whether it's the worst that can happen, you're so, yeah. Yeah. Give it a try. Take a chance on yourself. Right. And then the, and laugh at yourself. There's nothing like being able to laugh at yourself is the most important thing, I think. Yeah. So I think my advice is like, if you are curious about anything. Try it. Yeah. I mean like, and, and see where you go. If nothing else, you learn whether it's for you or not. Right?

Aristiwidya: I have two answers. One, if it's like for generalists, right? And I would say try to turn anything into anything to something that's enjoyable, right. Because you can have a really minuscule, boring job and turn it into something powerful and enjoyable. And I think that's a great skill to have because you're not going to have a job that's going to be 100% you know? Amazing. Right? Yeah. Then if he can make anything fun and productive and impactful, you know, that element of play and passion, purpose you're set. Yes. But then for females, I guess, I think my biggest criticism for females, even for myself is learning is that to really be comfortable with who you are. And I think it's because we are really harder on ourselves. Right. And I think for women, just like really learn to know who you are, what your strengths, be comfortable. So whatever situation you need, don't take it personally. You know, the outside world is the outside world. But if your core is strong enough, it doesn't matter where you are. That's why Catherine can be, you know the only females.... because you know, you're strong enough internally. And I think, and what's lacking and I don't know where you can get that. Right? I think we're lucky because maybe we have good conditioning, we have good role models. You know, it's easier for us to actually achieve that pass. But for a lot of women out there, I know it's a struggle.

Nadiem: And what advice would you specifically give to women who are considered, who are in midst of a very successful career in Indonesia, for example, in this context who are considering having a kid? What are some of the things that you've realizing too much?

Aristiwidya: Just do it. Because I think even especially a female and my age, there's something you should have a kid, not a kid. No, he didn't. But we think for me, for me, I didn't even have to decide just kind of happened. So thank God. Right. So, but that's for a lot of people that just don't think about it, life is life. Life happens. You'll find beauty in whatever it is. So true. You know, it's not a cost benefit problem solving ROI. It's life you know, you can't use that framework.

Nadiem: Yeah. So I think from my side, you know, I think that this topic is extremely important because he doesn't get discussed in a way open enough for it to be a productive and comfortable conversation. And you know, what I would encourage some early startups to do is have these conversations early in the beginning and understand that fundamentally the differences between women and men that almost never get discussed openly because of this whole PC culture now is actually what makes having the number of genders a balance so powerful for your company and for the performance, especially if you are a consumer focused, product focused, organization. That the differences between those two genders enrich the understanding and the empathy to your user base like nothing else can.

Aristiwidya: And I would actually use the word or the verb instead of a gender balance is gender contribution. Because we might not achieve the balance that you have enough contribution.

Nadiem: That's right.

Catherine: Good point.

Nadiem: That's right. I like that. Guys, this has been a fantastic conversation. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast. Hope to have you here again.

Aristiwidya: Thanks Nadiem.

Nadiem: Anytime.

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