Each year on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2016), we take time to celebrate our progress and reflect on what’s next at VMware. As Diversity and Inclusion Program Director at VMware, I have the pleasure of leading our women’s initiative, VMwomen. In honor of this global event, I am excited to share with you on how VMware is committed to each of the actions for this year’s campaign theme #PledgeForParity.
Create inclusive, flexible cultures. At VMware, we know that diversity drives innovation, and innovation drives better business outcomes. VMwomen is a strategic business initiative dedicated to harnessing the power of human difference. At its core, VMwomen is a cultural transformation, not a program that focuses on “fixing” women. We are starting with culture change, driven by business leaders. VMwomen is led by a council of business leaders who have clear accountability to deliver improved results. The council members drive action plans aligned to their business’ representation, hiring, promotion and retention metrics, and regularly report their progress to our executives.
Challenge conscious and unconscious. In order to drive culture change, we recognize that each of us needs to understand our own unconscious biases, how they can disadvantage certain groups, and ultimately to gain insight and tools that can help to correct those biases. As such, we are continuing to roll out a broad-scale education program to deliver sessions to all of our managers. It is our company goal that all managers and above participate in this session, hear about research and solutions, and take responsibility both individually and collectively to create a more inclusive VMware.
Call for gender-balanced leaders. We know that change starts at the top, and we have piloted mentoring, shadowing, and sponsorship programs to advance our women leaders. And our efforts are paying off. Since we’ve started our initiative, we’ve increased our percentage of our VP women over 25 percent. We also believe that men need to be involved, which is why our council consists of 40 percent male leaders. Gender balance in our organization, and with our change efforts, is important as both women and men, and the overall organization, benefit from a more inclusive VMware.
Value women’s and men’s contributions equally. Coming out of unconscious bias training, we inspect our language for bias in recruiting and performance conversations to make sure we are fairly evaluating ability and contributions. We also analyze our salaries for gender differences. We do this regularly, and we recently completed a thorough review for R&D. The results were excellent, but there were issues, which we addressed immediately.
Help women and girls achieve their ambitions. VMware aims to inspire and support the global community of female talent in technology. We recently founded the inaugural Women Transforming Technology (WT2) Conference. Hosted at VMware’s headquarters in Palo Alto, the event brought together industry leaders and community organizations committed to gender diversity. We are also founding sponsors of Women Who Code, a nonprofit that empowers women to excel in technology careers and brings together technical women across the globe. In honor of International Women’s Day, VMware, along with the entire Women Who Code leadership team, hosted an event in Bangalore on March 2 and will host another in Beijing on March 9.
VMware is proud of the achievements we’ve made this year, and we congratulate all those who have helped us make a difference for parity in the workplace. How do you plan to celebrate this significant day for our global community? We encourage you to join the conversation with #PledgeForParity.