I am a proud engineer and technologist, but it has not been an easy journey as a woman in a sea of men. Therefore, I am glad that there is a growing global movement to encourage female technical talent. Recent data shows that there is a business imperative to hire more women:
- Over a period of 6 years, the companies that had a gender-diverse board outperformed the male-only ones by 26%. [Source: Credit Suisse Research Institute, Gender Diversity and Corporate Performance, 2012]
- Women with sponsors are 19% more likely to be satisfied with rate of advancement than those without. [Source: Center for Talent Innovation, The Sponsorship Effect, 2012]
- Diverse work teams produced results 6x higher than homogenous teams. [Source: Edward Hubbard, The Business Case for Diversity]
- Companies that drive innovation by leveraging employee ideas and knowledge meet product revenue targets 46% more often and product launch dates 47% more than industry peers. [Source: The Innovator's Toolbox: Empowering the Next Wave of Difference Makers, Aberdeen Group, 2009]
- Finally, a McKinsey study makes the case for women leadership growth strategy and the need to showcase female role models.
On March 27, 2013, I had the opportunity to participate at Cisco’s Women in Technology Forum with the theme, “Think Big, Play Big!” The event was particularly timely in the wake of Sheryl Sandberg’s provocative book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” There were 41 Cisco execs in attendance and a welcome video from Cisco CEO John Chambers. This was an excellent start to concretely addressing the issue of nurturing the growth of female technologists. The key takeaway was to embed the Women in Technology program as a strategic component of Cisco's “DNA.”
Moving forward, I am excited that Cisco will be active globally in the celebration of Girls in ICT Day on April, 25, 2013. More than 80 Cisco offices around the world will host girls to showcase the IT industry as a valid career option for women.
In addition, I will represent Cisco at the European Union’s Parliamentary Hearing on Women in ICT & Girls' in ICT Day 2013. I will address “Women in ICT Careers, How to Explore Female Talent?” Cisco has a long standing commitment to encouraging diversity in its workplaces and is now making greater efforts to ensure that the issue of women in technology becomes an integral part of its business strategy.