Women have a rich history in technology.
Ada Lovelace was regarded to be the world’s first programmer, long before computers existed. Grace Hopper worked with Alan Turing on the development of the computing devices we use today, and Susan Kare was an icon for Apple.
Unfortunately, despite their success in the field, women rarely get the same opportunities as their male counterparts in tech. International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8th, is a chance to look at the inequality in various crucial sectors, and discover new ways to bridge the gap.
After all, at a time when two-thirds of UK CEOs struggle to hire tech leaders, diversity is more crucial than ever. This year, we’re celebrating International Women’s Day by looking at some of the most successful and inspiring women in the field.
Women That Made a Mark in History
Women have played an incredible part in the evolution of technology. Evelyn Boyd Granville created the Race, Space, and Education advocacy group to generate greater equality in tech-based roles. Sister Mary Kenneth Keller became the first holder of a female computer science PhD Countless women have contributed to the development of everything from the internet, to AI.
Unfortunately, only 24% of computer science jobs are currently held by women today. The good news is that there are still pioneers out there, breaking the glass ceiling and showing us all what women are capable of. For instance:
Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube
The CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki is also a director for Salesforce, the world’s leading CRM solution. This inspiring woman has championed diversity in tech for years. She also emerged as a valuable voice in the #MeToo movement, encouraging leaders to think about equality when making hiring decisions.
Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM
IBM is one of the world’s leading intelligence and technology organisations. Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM, frequently appears on Forbes’ lists of the world’s most powerful woman. Ginni helped to transform the fortunes of the tech giant when she took her leadership role. Since her appointment, IBM has refocused its path to market and improved it’s growth significantly.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, has also spent multiple years in Forbes’ most powerful women list. Her net worth is currently around $1.6 billion, making her one of the most wealthy women in tech too. Alongside her success growing Facebook, Sandberg has also played an important part in promoting initiatives that address the gender gap in tech. She’s currently on the board for the Women for Women International group.
Salesforce: Supporting Women Leaders Today
There’s much work to be done in the tech sector if we want to eliminate inequality once and for all. Fortunately, some companies are already making progress towards a more diverse workforce. For instance, Salesforce considers “equality” to be one of their core values when hiring new employees.
In 2016, Salesforce was one of the first tech companies to spend over $3 million to eliminate differences in pay between male and female staff.
What’s more, some of the most prominent members of the Salesforce team are women, including:
- Elizabeth Pinkham– Executive VP of Global Real Estate: Elizabeth manages Salesforce’s global real estate portfolio and office design concepts. She’s been a veteran of the team for over 17 years. Elizabeth also supports the annual Dreamforce event, which attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees a year.
- Cindy Robbins– President and Chief People Officer: Cindy leads Salesforce’s efforts to attract, support and retain the best talent. During her tenure with Salesforce, Robbins was one of the pioneers that launched the company’s equal pay efforts. Robbins has also scaled an impressive new company culture for the business, which has led to multiple Glassdoor and LinkedIn awards.
- Suzanne DiBianca– VP of Corporate Relations and Chief Philanthropy Officer: Suzanne leads Salesforce’s philanthropy and stakeholder strategy. She was previously president and co-founder of Salesforce.org and the Salesforce Foundation. Under Suzanne’s guidance, Salesforce created the 1-1-1 corporate philanthropy model. This strategy places 1% of Salesforce’s product, employee time, or equity back into the community.
Creating and Empowering the Women Leaders of Tomorrow
The more that businesses explore the importance of diversity in talent acquisition, the more they learn about its value. Equality between the genders in tech isn’t just good ethics; it’s also valuable for your bottom line. According to McKinsey research, companies with the best levels of gender diversity are 15% more likely to achieve higher returns than their peers.
The actions that businesses and innovators take today are crucial in inspiring the generations to come. That’s one of the reasons why Salesforce regularly celebrates its “Trailblazing Women” campaigns. There are also plenty of insightful groups set up by industry innovators too, such as:
- Ladies Be Architects (ArchLadies) – Gemma Emmett, the Salesforce Solution Architect of Bluewolf, founded Ladies be Architects in 2017. This group helps women to become Salesforce Architects, with guidance, community support and more. Gemma started the campaign when she was amid her own journey towards becoming a CTA.
- Salesforce Supermums: Heather Black, the founder of Salesforce Supermums, and consultant Victoria Scott prove that having a family doesn’t have to hold back your career. The Salesforce Supermums group empowers women to get back to work in the Salesforce economy after having a child. You can even use the platform to find valuable work experience to develop your CV.
- Women Leaders in Technology: WLiTbegan as a small, unofficial community of young female tech enthusiasts. These women partnered with communities and organisations in their area to inspire young girls to learn more about STEM education and become innovators in technology.
Going forward, groups like these, and initiatives from equality-focused brands like Salesforce will be critical to driving a more balanced workforce. If you’re ready to support diversity in your team, contact our very own Women Leaders, Theresa Durrant or Shaylina Uddin, here at Resource on Demand today to find your next women leader.