As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2017, we call upon ourselves and others to to #BeBoldForChange by helping to forge a better and more inclusive gender-equal world. This year’s theme – Be Bold for Change – could serve as a mantra for all of us looking to make an impact on our careers, our communities and our companies.
I have been fortunate to have been able to contribute to improving women’s lives through IBM’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC) program. The CSC has a long history of promoting gender equality through projects addressing challenges related to women’s economic empowerment, education and health, and to ending violence against women worldwide. In keeping with IBM’s commitment to enabling a gender-equal world, I am pleased to announce that 75 percent of CSC’s nearly 125 projects for 2017 – the monetary equivalent of nearly $2.4 million in pro bono consulting – will focus on organizations that serve women. And at this year’s Catalyst Awards Conference and Dinner, I’ll be speaking about how partnerships are redefining how organizations advance issues of importance to women and girls, and representing IBM CSC in honoring organizations for their roles in supporting women.
As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, one of my career highlights has been building a partnership between that organization and IBM. The first joint project of this partnership focused on girls’ education – working with President and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative. Together, we supported a social enterprise called TECHAiDE, which uses technology to bring educational content to schools with little or no access to the internet.
Working with other partners (including some of IBM’s commercial clients), IBM CSC has conducted numerous transformative consulting engagements to support gender equity. Among them:
- In India, several CSC projects are currently focused on women’s health, women’s economic & skills development, and on bringing dignity to marginalized groups such as domestic workers.
- In Thailand, the CSC provided the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with consulting and cloud hosting for development of a mobile application to help prevent the exploitation of domestic workers.
- In Senegal, we worked with the Female Development Enterprise in Africa on a strategic plan to identify new funding sources and optimize business operations.
- And in Peru, CSC and CerviCusco joined forces to help detect and prevent cervical cancer in indigenous women. The project has reached more than 100,000 women, which has enabled CerviCusco to serve as a critical resource for research on cervical cancer.
Through our partnerships with governments, NGOs and other corporations – and by our ability to draw upon IBM’s innovative technologies, top talent and global consulting expertise – CSC is uniquely positioned to address essential issues affecting women and girls. By partnering with like-minded organizations, we will continue to open opportunities to women across the world.
Gina Tesla is a Director with IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, for which she runs the IBM Corporate Service Corps program.
Join the International Women’s Day 2017 Celebration via Twitter (#BeBoldForChange)
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