March is the celebration of women’s history month. One of the more well-known aspects is the celebration of International Women’s Day. Occurring on March 8 each year, International Women’s Day is the celebration of the contributions that women past, present, and future have made and continue to make to the world. It celebrates the achievements of women politically, socially, and economically, while turning an eye to areas still needing improvement. With the 2015 deadline to achieve the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDG) quickly approaching, this year’s theme of “Equality for women marks progress for all,” provides an opportunity to review both the challenges and the progress made towards achieving these goals thus far. Many of our member companies participated in this year’s festivities, and are committed to empowering women year round through their corporate citizenship programs. Here are a few examples:
The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program is a national competition and executive leadership program that selects high-potential female entrepreneurs from across North America for participation and support in the EY program to unlock the growth potential in their businesses. “Women-owned businesses have the potential to ignite our economy and become powerful engines of economic growth,” says Kerrie MacPherson, Principal, Financial Services Office, and North American Entrepreneurial Winning Women Executive Sponsor at Ernst & Young LLP. The program has been highly successful thus far with participant companies growing about 50% each year on average.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, the company hosted a Webcast from their New York offices entitled, “Playing to win: lessons from women athletes and leaders.” The live video broadcast featured top female executives and celebrated female athletes such as Donna de Varona and Summer Sanders, who shared lessons they’ve learned on the field and in the workplace. Recognizing the link between sports and leadership, the webcast webpage states that four out of five executive women played sports growing up.
SAP takes a particular focus on supporting the expansion of women’ in the STEM workforce, hoping to close the gender gap and empower the career potential of women across the world. The company partners with a number of organizations that focus on inspiring young women to see the excitement and potential in pursuing STEM careers. Some examples of their partnerships include: the GIRLsmarts technology education program sponsored by the University of British Columbia, the “Girls Who Code” summer technology immersion program, and a partnership with TechGirlz this past January to host a TechShop event to teach female participants to create their own app as well as hear from senior leaders about their experience at SAP.
As part of their celebrations for International Women’s Day, Intel convened with UN Women and UN Missions of Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa to discuss ways to meaningfully bridge the Internet gap for women worldwide. They discussed the Intel “She Will Connect” signature program, which seeks to expand digital literacy to 5 million women in Africa and reduce the gender gap by 50 percent.
Google regularly creates “doodles,” which are artistic video and art renditions of the Google logo. To celebrate International Women’s Day, Google created a doodle that celebrates women from around the world saying happy international women’s day in their native language. It features over 100 women of all ages and locations wishing well to fellow women. They also picked this month to announce that they have committed $1 million to 40 startup organizations focused on increasing women in the tech field.
BP put together “The Vital Voices at BP,” an interactive webpage highlighting women from all capacities of the company ranging from scientists, to engineers, to various aspects of business departments sharing what they have achieved in working at BP.
What is your company doing within your organization to empower woman? Please feel free to share your company’s story in our member community or comment below.