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YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki proves the impact women CEOs have on diversity — every third YouTube employee is a woman

Sharika Nair
20th Mar 2017
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There are several high-performing female CEOs who have turned their companies’ fortunes around. But are women CEOs good for the women in their organisation? The answer seems to be a resounding yes. After Susan Wojcicki took over as CEO of Google’s flagship video sharing site YouTube in 2014, the number of women employees has gone up from 24 percent to nearly 30 percent.

In comparison, women make up 31 percent of Google, according to Google’s latest diversity report. That’s only one percentage point higher than what Google reported in 2014. So, it looks like YouTube is increasing its gender diversity at a faster rate than even Google, which, of course, is an organisation that tops in most employee-friendly parameters.

Susan Wojcicki YouTube
Susan Wojcicki.  Credit: Inc.com

CEO and feminist

In an op-ed piece in Vanity Fair, Susan had spoken about the recent allegations of harassment and gender discrimination at global giants like Uber and Tesla. “Every year around this time, we hear the same story in Silicon Valley. This year, it’s Susan Fowler’s distressing account of her year at Uber, followed closely by AJ Vandermeyden’s story alleging a culture of ‘pervasive harassment’ at Tesla.”

In the Vanity Fair piece, she also spoke about the easiest way for companies to break up the Silicon Valley boys’ club:

Fortunately, there is a solution that has been proved to address gender discrimination in all its forms, both implicit and explicit: hiring more women. Employing more women at all levels of a company, from new hires to senior leaders, creates a virtuous cycle. Companies become more attuned to the needs of their female employees, improving workplace culture while lowering attrition. They escape a cycle of men mostly hiring men. And study after study has shown that greater diversity leads to better outcomes, more innovative solutions, less groupthink, better stock performance and GDP growth.

The Google mom

Susan was one of the most obvious choices for taking the helm at YouTube, given her status as one of Google’s core team. Susan’s journey with Google began in 1998 — she was the 16th employee — and the company even worked out of her garage for the first few months!

Married to fellow Googler Dennis Troper, this mother of five is an inspiration to anyone wanting to balance parenthood with a high-flying career. Susan has often spoken about how she feels that being a mother makes her better at her job, while her job makes her a better mom. She gives top priority to getting home for dinner and devotes the 6–9 pm slot to her family.

Today, Google is a benchmark for working parents — moms-to-be have special parking places, employees get 18 weeks of paid parental leave, and there are nursing rooms on campus. But when Susan first started working at the company, she was four months pregnant and nobody at Google had ever taken parental leave. Susan has been a big advocate of federally mandated, paid parental leave, which she hopes will result in a higher number of women in the workforce.

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