An equal world is an enabled world

Feb 27, 2020

Empowering women and girls to achieve through technology will secure women’s place in the worlds of finance and STEM in the future, writes Christine Barrett.

The research is clear: a diverse workforce leads to increased creativity, innovation and, ultimately, business success. Businesses that ignore the talent of half of the population do so at their peril. 

Yet today, over 100 years on from the first ever International Women’s Day, women remain under-represented in STEM and finance-based careers, making up just 30% of Europe’s information and communication technologies (ICT) workforce and only 16.4% of directors in Irish-listed companies are female.

More work needs to be done. There are countless examples of plans to improve diversity and promote equal opportunities, but in order to make a real difference there needs to be commitment. To create a truly diversified workforce, we must collectively commit every day to empower women to achieve and in order to do that, it must be an integral part of our business strategy. 

At Microsoft, we are committed to cultivating an inclusive environment and empowering all our employees to achieve through technology, no matter their title or position. Diversity is deeply embedded in our culture. We foster diverse teams that are representative of our world today as diversity is the cornerstone of success.

Creating equality through technology

We have been working at every level of our organisation to increase gender diversity and we understand that in order to improve it, we must increase the profile of women in STEM. That is why in 2019 we hosted the inaugural Hopper Local Dublin to showcase leading women in technology who are helping to create innovations that will frame our digital future. These inspiring women are shattering lingering perceptions that limit women from building meaningful careers in technology. The same can and should be done in finance.

To ensure the next generation excels, it’s critical that we empower our future leaders – today’s students – to achieve more using technology and we are committed to expanding digital skills to women and girls all over Ireland. Unfortunately, our research has shown that although girls become interested in technology at around 11 years of age, they lose interest just four years later. This is limiting their future career and life choices as technology is becoming a critical part of every industry.

Microsoft is committed to creating a truly inclusive environment and championing gender equality at all levels of the technology sector. We understand that an equal world is an enabled world and diversity and inclusion is core to our ambition to empower everyone to achieve more through technology.

Christine Barrett is the Director of Digital Sales Germany in Microsoft.