“I’m a real software nerd,” says software architect Hila Fox. “I’ve really found my place at Augury – and it’s not just about the industry 4.0 tech side. Here I can continue to lead various activities around the integration of women and LGBTQAI+ people in high-tech.”
Currently, she’s particularly active with “Baot”, a community of women in engineering. “Basically, we have a lot of volunteer programs to help women improve their technical skills, find jobs, talk at conferences and more,” says Hila. “Personally I am part of a team leading the efforts to help new members of the community get the most they can out of Baot, such as via ‘virtual coffee’ gatherings and a monthly newsletter.”
Fighting For Equality In the Workplace
While Hila’s activities tend to be very grassroots, she stresses the importance of having management support in the workplace. ‘’Public support starts from the top. Zero tolerance must be shown to anyone against anyone who may deviate from the supposed ‘norm’. And this message – backed by actions – must come loud and clear from the CEO and senior management, so it can seep down from there.”
This message of zero tolerance should also be repeated regularly, according to Hila. “There should be no room for confusion on this subject. For instance, I believe it’s very important for senior management to address relevant current issues as they happen, such as hate crimes against Muslims, gays or anyone. They should work to trigger a company-wide open conversation.”
“For me the main takeaway was to remember that everyone is different.”
Naturally, Hila believes all employee benefits should be equal among all. “As a private company we have the privilege to give everyone the same rights – regardless of what the laws might be in a certain country. For instance when it comes to sick days for kids, it’s often difficult to become a legal guardian of your partner’s children when you are in a same-sex relationship. As a company, you can make policies that are sensitive to such realities.”
Small Things Make All The Difference
Hila also refers to the LGBTQAI+ ‘calendar’ as an element that can work to amplify inclusion in the workplace. ‘Throughout the year there are days that are uniquely important to our wider community. Besides Pride Month, there are other dates such as Trans Day of Visibility and others. We must also commemorate those tragic events around hate crimes. We must both celebrate and condemn accordingly.”
Hila also believes in creating an open dialogue. “It happens quite often that I see that people do not know how to approach LGBTQAI+ people. For example, when a new employee comes and asks if you have a husband, even if they do not know if you are married to a man or a woman. These are small things that make the difference. And really try to be creative – we often just get the same questions.”
Sharing Stories – Year Round
This year for Pride Month, Hila is helping a variety of actions and events, whether it’s Augury’s #pieces-of-pride social campaign, or organizing a session with a trans woman who has 20 years experience as devops engineer.
“I think that even today it’s sometimes hard to remember that behind every concept, there are real people with real feelings.”
“We just kept meeting each other at all these forums and groups related to Israel’s high-tech ecosystem, and that just led naturally to making this happen,” recalls Hila. “She talked about how LGBTQ fan fiction helped her come out of her trans closet and what it’s like as a trans woman in the high-tech industry. And even though I already knew her quite well, hearing her story and the questions that came up during the session got me almost teary eyed,” recalls Hila.
“I think that even today it’s sometimes hard to remember that behind every concept, there are real people with real feelings,” says Hila. “For me the main takeaway was to remember that everyone is different. And to be inclusive to a trans woman is also about accepting their femininity. She certainly has a fascinating story to tell – and one worth sharing year round.”