By Sonia Panchal, PR Manager, Europe, Marketing and Communications, Xerox
Today, Tuesday 11th October, marks Ada Lovelace Day, an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Whilst Ada was born over 200 years ago, it’s more important than ever that we challenge and evaluate the role of women in STEM – let’s face it, if you look across the majority of companies focused on science, technology, engineering and maths, you will find the presence of women to be sadly lacking.
A lot is made of the gender divide within STEM jobs. But really, the issue is about diversity. Within any organisation, STEM or otherwise, having a broad range of approaches, backgrounds and perspectives is one of the best ways to foster a culture of creativity and innovation.
That’s why this annual event is such an important wake-up call to businesses and educators around the world. Ignore the impact that women and other under-represented voices can have on the organisation, and you’ll be hurting long-term business prospects, as well as doing a gross disservice to wider society.
So what can organisations do to help increase the prominence of diverse voices, and to improve the attitudes of young girls toward STEM subjects in the first place? Two of our senior leaders within Xerox, who have worked their way up the STEM ladder, have their say:
Monica Beltrametti, Chief Services Research Officer, Xerox: “Whilst Ada Lovelace Day places a spotlight on women’s achievements in the STEM sector, it’s a topic which business must continuously keep front of mind. Over 28 per cent of executives and 41 per cent of managers are female at Xerox, and as a leading technology company, we’re proud of our progress. But we also recognise that this isn’t enough. Last summer we introduced the Wilson Rule, named after the first Xerox CEO Joseph Wilson and a policy praised by U.S. President Barack Obama. The Wilson Rule, alongside other diversity and inclusion initiatives, requires that women are among the final pool of qualified candidates for every open management position.”
Naila Murray, Manager of the Computer Vision Group, Xerox Research Centre Europe: “When it comes to ensuring women are celebrated for their achievements within STEM, it’s not enough to assess success through the lens of who has made the biggest achievements within various organisations. Instead, we must ensure we are championing women in STEM through to the intern level and back it up with transparent diversity programs and policies. Xerox has a long history of promoting diversity and equal opportunity – from our CEO through to many other senior female leaders within our organisation.”
You can find out more about Xerox’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace in our 2016 Global Citizenship Report.