The Thing With Feathers

The Thing With Feathers

My mother only spoke one language. In her case, it was enough.

When I left home for University, she gave me a poetry anthology that included my favourite poem, one that always reminds me of her. “Hope” by Emily Dickinson characterises hope as the thing with feathers, a little bird inside each of us that never stops singing to us, never stops believing in us, no matter how difficult things get. It’s always there for us and it never asks for anything in return. That’s exactly what my mother was to me. That’s exactly what mothers are to so many of us.

My mother never earned the salary she deserved. She was never offered the opportunities that were handed to less accomplished male colleagues time after time. When we look up from the poetry book, we need to ask ourselves what practical steps we can take towards a fairer way of working. At XTM International, we recognize that the drive for equality of opportunity should be part of the mission of the localization industry.

In the words of Lauren Johnstone, XTM Partnership Development Manager:

“We share the view that anything less than true equality and equity in work and in life isn’t just morally wrong, it’s also a shocking waste of talent.”

Fortunately, we have leadership. At XTM, our founder and CEO Bob Willans is a tireless champion of equality of opportunity. Externally, we need look no further than Cecilia Maldonado and Women in Localization. As part of our commitment to their admirable cause, XTM is delivering:

  • The appointment of a dedicated Women in Localization Liaison Officer, Kasia Rymaszewska, whose skill in managing projects and events such as XTM Livestream 2021 makes her an ideal ambassador.
  • Weekly meetings of the XTM Women in Localization Focus Group, setting targets for company-wide engagement, regular website content and social media posts and increased Women in Localization membership among our employee network, among both women and men.
  • In December we will publish the ebook “Holding Up Half the Sky”, which will celebrate the positive impact of women on localization technology, and also celebrate the accomplishments of Women in Localization during Cecilia Maldonado’s year in charge.
  • The XTM monthly newsletter, launching in January 2022, will carry a regular promotional feature on Women in Localization with a direct call to action for membership sign-up and a link to the sign-up page.
  • January will also see the launch of the annual Katherine Johnson Award. Named after the pioneering mathematician who overcame prejudice to become a central figure in NASA’s space program, the award will be given to the woman who has done the most to make technology serve our goal of equality and equity through global communication.

Above all, we will uphold the values of Women in Localization in our day to day activity. Commitment to equality and equity isn’t something that can be bolted on artificially. It’s something that needs to be woven into the fabric. It’s something that needs to be in your DNA. It’s in ours

My mother would have loved the resilience and the professionalism of Women in Localization. She would have loved the progress they’re driving towards a better, more egalitarian way of working. She would have loved the hope. The bird is still singing.