Values of a startup!

Hi, I'm latinamerican, women, career changer, working in tech in a startup with more than 50% women and my boss (really nice guy) ask me what do I think about the values of the company?

It has 5 values, non of them related to gender equality or inclusivity. So I opened the discussion about the importance of having or at least be aware of this new subjects/new values proposals (gender equality or inclusivity)! One of my cowokers said that those values are implied, that he doesn't like because sometime he feels those are used as marketing!

The good news is my boss wants to talk more about my point of view, and I think it's a big deal but I don't want to miss this opportunity, this could be the start of everything, we don't have any maternity benefits or anything like that so please if you have an idea, or a real important thing I should talk to my boss let me know.

Thank you!

Good to hear that your boss is excited to have this conversation! I can see where you coworker is coming from, i.e., feeling like public statements are often for show. Of course, I don't think one opinion should have too much sway over the final decision. Personally I do like making things upfront and clear. Otherwise, if I try to claim that certain values are implied, then how can an outsider tell the difference between a company who doesn't value inclusivity and a company who does but assumed it was a given?I think public statements should be accompanied by proof. For example, if your company wants to publicly claim that they care about inclusivity, they need to provide public proof. I've seen this proof come in the form of inclusive policies/benefits, like parental leave, internal affiliation groups, partnerships/sponsorships with nonprofits, transparent salaries, etc. Without these tangible policies/benefits, then your coworker would be correct in feeling that any statement made would be purely for marketing.
Honestly, at this point, I don't think that gender equality or inclusivity are implied values *anywhere* in tech. As a Black woman, if I don't see a public commitment to these values, then I assume these values aren't prioritized (and I have found in the past that I am often correct in that assumption). Now, publicly listing gender equality and inclusivity as values doesn't mean a company will automatically be a good representation of those values, but I do think that it can help hold these companies accountable to their employees, their customers, and to the general public. That accountability alone can make a huge difference over the years (and lead to things like maternity leave, nursing rooms, pay equality, etc. that other companies may be slower to adopt). Having these public values will also make a significant impact on your employer brand over the years, and it will allow more women to feel comfortable working with and/or purchasing from your company in the future. You lose nothing by adding this to your company values, but the potential for what you could gain is very high.