Canadian women in tech urge HR to cover US staff abortion costs

'To all American women — we are your allies. You are not alone in this fight'

Canadian women in tech urge HR to cover US staff abortion costs

Canadian women in tech are encouraging employers with staff based in the United States to cover travel expenses for abortion, following the historic overturn by the US Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade.

In an open letter, 50 women who are prominent in tech expressed their devastation in the decision, calling it a "dangerous step towards oppression."

"This reversal is a dangerous step toward oppression, one that will impact the most vulnerable American people," read the letter, as published on LinkedIn.

"It also opens a door to a further curtailing of hard-fought rights," it added. "American people's renewed struggle is a stark reminder to our community that we need to increase our efforts here at home. As women in tech, we fight for equality of opportunity every day, but this is different. This is a fight for basic rights."

In the letter, they asked employers of US employees to adopt the policies of other organisations and "pay for travel costs for employees who have to travel to get abortions."

"Look at your relocation policies to support employees who want to relocate to jurisdictions where reproductive rights are upheld," they also said.

For other companies, the women in tech encouraged them to give their employees paid time off or volunteer days to attend protests, volunteer with organisations, or otherwise support the movement. They are also told to look at their health benefits offered to staff.

"Can your employees access those benefits unconditionally, with dignity and privacy? Are you transparent with your benefits package to potential employees?" the letter read.

Read more: Starbucks will cover travel for workers seeking abortions

In addition, employers are also asked to donate to causes that support the fight for abortion rights in the US, as well as amplify the "voices and networks that have been on the frontlines for decades."

"Continue to hire and fund women in tech on both sides of the border. Never has it been more painfully obvious that representation matters," the women added.

Those who have read the open letter on LinkedIn have been encouraged to comment and share it across the platform in a bid to spread its message.

"We further call on all of you to stand with us as we work to support Americans fighting for their fundamental rights. We are mobilising and activating, we are taking guidance from those who know this issue and we are ready to work together."

Ending its message, the Canadian women in tech expressed their support for women across the United States who have been affected by the decision.

"To all American women — we are your allies. You are not alone in this fight. When it comes time to sign petitions, demonstrate in the streets, support the organizations creating safe havens and uplift existing networks, we are here. And we will continue to be here in the weeks, months and years to come."

The letter was signed by "devastated women in tech," including MaRS Discovery District senior vice president of venture services Krista Jones, Plum CEO Caitlin MacGregor, Real Ventures managing partner Janet Bannister, and more.

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