Taking Action to Advance Women in Business

By Michelle Peluso, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, IBM

Catalyst.JPGToday, IBM was honored with the prestigious 2018 Catalyst Award for leadership in building a workplace that values diversity and inclusion. IBM is the only tech company honored this year — and the only company anywhere recognized for a fourth time.

Very few companies have done more to advance diversity and inclusion than IBM. It is one of the reasons my colleagues and I are proud every day to say we are IBMers.

And yet, IBM’s legacy of leadership – and receiving this award – challenges us to do more.

I believe this is a critical moment for women in business. The demand for gender parity is stronger now than ever before. Women are more ready than ever to lead. Last year was quite literally a catalyst for spotlighting issues women have faced in the workplace for decades.

#MeToo, women’s marches, and more prompted women to be transparent about their experiences. Social media and the news put a spotlight on the realities of harassment. And people of all races and genders evaluated and discussed their own behavior, their own biases, and the environment they create for each other in the office every day.

Now that we’ve turned the page to 2018, we – the global business community across every industry – need to make this a breakthrough year in advancing diversity and women in particular. We need to move from discussion to action to advance inclusion. What would this look like?

  1. We create workplace cultures that embrace authenticity and bringing our “whole selves” to the office…cultures of empathy and compassion that make all people confident to be fully authentic in their daily work.
  2. We invest in early intervention programs that keep women from exiting the workplace at mid-career and middle management positions because they are challenged to balance family and work or hesitant to ask for support.
  3. We build out our pipeline of talent, each and every one of us, to increase materially the percentage of women in management, technical and executive ranks.
  4. We challenge our unconscious bias and together, call out behaviors, activities, conversations and rhetoric that might make some uncomfortable.
  5. We share this mission as men and women so we celebrate not just the women who achieve, but also the men that create the environment to let women step up and succeed.

IBM is hard at work in advancing initiatives like these. And we are inspired by forward-thinking companies around the world who are also taking bold steps every day – current and past Catalyst winners like 3M, Nationwide, BMO Financial Group, Northrop Grumman, Rockwell Automation and Gap Inc. And we know there is more we can all do.

As the CMO of IBM and the sponsor of our company’s global women’s initiatives, I’m optimistic about how the global community of professionals and business leaders across industries can work together to drive real change and ensure we don’t waste this moment.

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This blog was originally posted on the IBM Think Blog. You can see the original post here.

To learn more about diversity and inclusion at IBM visit ibm.com/diversity. You can also follow the campaign #WomenAtIBM

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