Canva is upping its support for women to mark International Women’s Day

- March 7, 2020 2 MIN READ
Members of Canva team. Photo: Canva
Global design startup Canva is making  International Women’s Day with a series of initiatives supporting women working for the company.

While the tech unicorn has committed to creating more gender-balanced tech teams and increasing female representation in engineering, one of the biggest stresses parents face during school holidays is also being addressed, with a complimentary school holiday program for the children of employees.

The company has also pledged to pay superannuation when employees are on parental leave. Canva offers 16 weeks paid maternity leave for primary caregivers and four weeks paid parental leave for non-primary caregivers. Fewer than half of Australian companies pay super on parental leave. 

Canva’s new Head of People, Crystal Boysen, said the company surveyed 500 Australian women to understand what would really help them thrive at work and greater parental support ranked highly,although behind pay equality and the increase of female voices in leadership settings. 

Canva Head of People Crystal Boysen. Photo: Canva

“Saving for your retirement may seem like the least of your worries when preparing for a new addition to the family. However, it’s important for parents to consider the impact parental leave will have on their overall super balance,” she said. 

“Women still retire on significantly less super than men, whilst this is due to a number of reasons, taking time out of the workforce to have a family is one of the main reasons this occurs; by providing superannuation on parental leave we hope to help reduce this gap.”

To improve the number of women in engineering, Canva has partnered with Project F, a global initiative working to boost female representation in tech. 

“Stronger female representation across all facets of our organisation – from engineering and product management through to operations – the more gender-equal we are helps to ensure we’re able to empathise with our community and build a more inclusive product,” Boysen said. 

Canva co-founder Cameron Adams, the chief product officer, is among those grappling with parental responsibilities while running a multi-billion company, conscious that that stress accounts for around 20% of the year, so the introduction of a fully-subsidised school holiday program is a win for the boss too.

“As a parent, I think it’s really important we, as an organisation, do our best to make life a little easier for our team. We take pride in listening to what our community needs in order to be their best, so four times a year we’ll be offering a fully subsidised school holiday program for kids aged 4-12 onsite,” he said.

“We’re trying to reduce the requirement for parents to eat into their annual leave, and their bottom line, when simply doing what’s most important – caring for their family.”

Boysen says that when you’re scaling global startup, creating a great work environment is a work in progress.

“As one of the fastest growing tech companies in the world, we find ourselves in a very fortunate position where we’re able to build a workplace conducive to great work,” she said. 

Among the other findings from the survey, Canva has already responded by implementing the feedback, including the third of women who asked for free sanitary products in the washrooms, a similar number (31%) who requested no enforced dress codes for women in the workplace, and the 22% who wanted salary history removed from job interviews