For Women, Leadership and Progress in Business and Technology

March is Women’s History Month. In celebration, IBM acknowledges the achievements of women in our company, in business and around the world. And we appreciate that these achievements have been hard won and often fiercely resisted. It is appropriate that we also recognize that we still have work to do.

IBM has advocated for and promoted women’s rights and equal opportunity going back to the earliest days of the company. We have set and advanced standards of fairness and equality that have shaped the dialog for diversity and inclusion in the private sector. Following are some milestones on the long road of progress for women in the workplace:

  • The Equal Pay Act went into effect in 1963, a key step toward leveling the playing field for women in the workplace. IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, Sr. recognized the importance of pay parity decades earlier when, in 1935, he said “men and women will do the same kind of work for equal pay. They will have the same treatment, the same responsibilities and the same opportunity for advancement.”
  • A growing number of organizations have come to realize the value and importance of working moms, through flex schedules and other parent-friendly policies. Working Mother Media, publisher of Working Mother magazine, has recognized IBM as a Top Company for Working Mothers for 33 consecutive years, and listed IBM as among the Best Companies for Multicultural Women for 17 straight years.
  • Women are better represented and have a stronger voice in the executive ranks business—though there’s still a long way to go. The Working Mother National Association for Female Executives, which focuses on advancing women in business, has named IBM as one of its Top Companies for Executive Women for 20 consecutive years.
  • Forward-looking businesses understand there’s a competitive advantage in recruiting and advancing the careers of female employees in both business and technology roles. The global nonprofit Catalyst works with companies to “build workplaces that work for women.” IBM has won the Catalyst Award for “innovative organizational initiatives that address the recruitment, development, and advancement of all women” four times since 2015—one of only three tech companies to win the award.

In many parts of the world, there never has been a better time for women and girls to advance and have equal footing in business and technology. But elsewhere, women are too often excluded from necessities such as adequate medical care, or they may be subjected to exploitation or silenced in the classroom. That is why IBM partners with nonprofits and commercial entities to bring diagnostic care to women in rural Latin America, lower the costs of cancer therapies in sub-Saharan Africa and disrupt the global scourge of human trafficking.

During Women’s History Month, we will detail some of IBM’s global business and service initiatives that support and empower women. We will share the experiences of women within our company and from our clients who are blazing new pathways in AI, cloud and quantum. We also will spotlight our worldwide efforts to provide STEM education for girls, and detail how IBM encourages girls and young women to pursue STEM careers.

We have made tremendous progress toward gender equality over the course of our history. Working together, we can accomplish even more.