March 8th is International Women’s Day – a day when the global community recognizes the vital contributions women make to economics, politics, and culture. Under the theme of “Pledge for Parity,” International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the many far-reaching accomplishments of women around the globe. It is also a call to action in the fight against disparities associated with women’s rights, equality, health, and safety. Above all, International Women’s Day is a time to remember how gender equality benefits all of us – women and men – at work, at home, and in life.
Working at a global company has given me a wonderful window into the many unique and layered stories that shape the ways we understand and move through the world. I think about the story Madeline Martinez, one of our Latina software engineers who recently represented EMC at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellent for Hispanics. I think about our colleague Radia Perlman, who will be inducted into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame this year for her brilliance. I think of Orna Berry, leading innovation at our Israel Center of Excellence and serving as an advisor to government leaders; and I think of Fidelma Russo, leading her team to launch one of our most anticipate products of the year, VMAX All Flash storage. As I think about their stories, I am filled with pride — not only for what they have done, but for the encouragement they give to others.
Part of my International Women’s Day will be spent thinking about the ways that women and men across EMC can take the actions which result in real and lasting change. I applaud the efforts of Vittorio Colao, the CEO of our valued customer Vodafone, to encourage everyone – and particularly men – to commit to actions in support of gender equality in the #HeForShe campaign. By the next International Women’s Day, I hope to count even more “male allies” who stand with women and help us realize results together.
At EMC we understand that gender equality is a vital part of our commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce, and a true business necessity. We attract and retain women and foster their success by offering world-renowned development and training opportunities. We are visible and vocal at women’s leadership forums – including the Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston, the Everywoman Advancing Technology Forum in London, the Watermark Conference in Silicon Valley and the Global Advancement of Women Conference in Hong Kong. Being present for these international events helps us understand the perspectives of women throughout the world. It also gives strength and resilience to one of our most important assets – our network.
At EMC we encourage everyone to tell their individual stories, and create the kind of environment where we can be our “authentic selves.” The more stories that we add, the better and richer our experience becomes. To quote the celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”
Happy International Women’s Day! Find your voice, own your story, and together, let’s commit to purposeful action in advancing equality and inclusion.