Every year on March 8, people around the world observe International Women’s Day — a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and a call to action to continue working toward greater gender equality in our world.

While some organizations have prioritized workforce diversity and inclusion for a long time, there’s been a growing push in recent years to address the now well-documented shortage of women in leadership and technical roles — two spaces that are vital to the work of IBM Systems.

Data reported by Catalyst on women in management indicates that in 2019, 29 percent of senior management roles globally were held by women. This number has been trending upward, but the current statistic by no means indicates equal participation of those represented in the workforce.

Gender representation in technology fields is a bit grimmer. According to recent research on the technology industry from McKinsey & Company, women are still underrepresented in computer sciences at every stage — from K–12 schooling to higher education to the workforce. Women hold 26 percent of roles in the computing workforce and just 11 percent of senior leadership roles in tech — with women of color experiencing the greatest barriers to entry in the technology sector.

We have a long way to go in our industry, and in society more generally, and awareness of the problem is only a starting point. Each year, International Women’s Day brings an opportunity to celebrate women’s accomplishments and renew our commitment to keep working toward gender equality. This year’s theme, #EachforEqual, is about collective individualism — the idea that the combined contributions of many can truly shift the tide of inequality. It’s an opportune moment to reflect on the part each of us plays in building a more gender-balanced world.

We know that gender equality won’t be achieved by just a few leaders speaking out; it requires everyone to pledge to challenge biases, call out gendered assumptions and boost the visibility of women. For those in leadership roles, a commitment to mentor and promote women, provide the educational tools for their success, and create a supportive and inclusive work environment is imperative. And to address the underrepresentation of women in the tech industry, we need to invest in challenging biases that begin in the home and early childhood classroom and continue throughout women’s careers.

In IBM Systems Lab Services, a global technical services organization in IBM Systems, women fulfill critical leadership and technical roles — from consultants to managers to our vice president. As an organization, we’re committed to being vocal on behalf of gender equality in our industry, and to enabling our female colleagues for success.

Here’s a glimpse of our commitment, as individuals and as a collective, this International Women’s Day:

Please take a moment today to celebrate your female colleagues and reflect on the part you can play to advance the cause of gender equality in your business or industry.

Join the conversation online using the hashtags #IWD2020 and #EachforEqual.

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