Why we #PressforProgress on International Women’s Day

By | 3 minute read | March 8, 2018

Press for Progress

Working to achieve strength through diversity and inclusion has been a longstanding goal of IBM. The company has pursued these ideals for more than a century, hiring women and black employees for the first time as far back as 1899. This commitment to diversity is essential to the success of our business, and we continue to uphold technical women’s career development and advancement as a strength and ideal.

But not every company has a history of embracing inclusion, and today, on International Women’s Day, we are reminded that there’s still a great deal we can do to accelerate progress for women. This is especially important in the IT industry.

According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology:

  • Women are underrepresented in IT fields, holding only 25 percent of computing-related occupations.
  • This number has been on the decline since 1991 when it peaked at 36 percent.
  • Women in IT have more than twice the quit rate of men (41 percent versus 17 percent).
  • They face various forms of implicit bias in the workplace as well as institutional barriers.

IBM Systems Lab Services is proud to have a representation of women across the globe fulfilling a wide range of roles and responsibilities. From consultants to managers to Distinguished Engineer and vice president, and many others, women hold critical positions throughout our organization.

The purpose of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a global project to celebrate the achievements of women and mark a call to action for accelerating gender parity. It has been observed since the early 1900s and is supported by governments, NGOs, charities, corporations, academic institutions, women’s networks and the media around the world.

The 2018 campaign theme for International Women’s Day is “Press for Progress.” The women’s movement has made some big strides recently, and this year’s theme emphasizes the importance of maintaining momentum in the pursuit of gender parity.

Why IBM Systems Lab Services got involved

To join this conversation, IBM Systems Lab Services invited 11 women from our organization to create a video sharing what it’s like to be a woman at IBM and talk about the ways they want to press for progress — both in their careers and for women in technology around the world.

Their stories are amazing and wide-ranging. Some knew they were inclined toward technology from a very young age, and others meandered into the tech field through nontraditional means. They faced barriers as women in a male-dominated field but persisted and stayed positive to achieve success on their career paths. They feel privileged to work for a company that supports work-life balance and helped them to progress in their careers without sacrificing family or other personal goals. And they offer encouraging advice to help young girls and young women pursuing higher education or seeking a career change to press for progress toward gender parity together:

  • Trust and believe in yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to chase your passions.
  • Focus on what really matters to you.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Follow your heart and surround yourself with positive mentors.
  • Be bold and be prepared.
  • If you’re passionate about something, be persistent.

I invite you to check out these videos and hear each of their stories.

What can you do to press for progress?

You can join the conversation today on International Women’s Day and work every day to keep up the momentum for progress for women in technology. Keep a mindset of gender equality at the forefront of what you do, challenge stereotypes, fight for positive visibility for women and celebrate women’s achievements at every opportunity.

Check out our videos, share your favorite message on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and join the conversation using the hashtags #IWD2018 and #PressforProgress.

Happy International Women’s Day!