#EachforEqual every day of the year

March 8, 2020

In the 1800s, Augusta Ada Lovelace, the Countess of Lovelace, worked on the math for a general-purpose computer. Today she is remembered more as the author of the first computer program than for her family connections as the daughter of the poet, Lord Byron.

In 1952, Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, one of the first programmers in history, developed the first compiler, which translated mathematical code into a machine-readable code. 

And in 1955, Annie Easley began her career at NASA as a “human computer,” doing complex computations for researchers, analyzing problems and doing calculations by hand. She went on to develop the original code that led to the invention of the battery technology that was used in early hybrid vehicles.

As a woman leader at a technology company, the stories of these early women technologists inspire me and are one reason International Women’s Day has become an important touchstone for me.

When I first became aware of #IWD, it was a day to pause and honor the contributions of the women leaders who have gone before us and those who inspire us to greatness today. Over time, as women do, the day has become a focus for activism – women coming together to tackle gender issues and make workplaces more welcoming and supportive for women in all professions and work environments.

In my own professional life, I have seen #IWD make a real, concrete difference in my work world. Technology companies are making concerted efforts to attract more women into STEM careers, encouraging women students to consider careers in technology and broadening their recruitment initiatives to embrace non-traditional work histories. While the overall number of women in tech is still lower today than we would like it, I am confident that these initiatives will result in the next, more diverse generation of technologists.

The theme of #IWD2020, #EachforEqual, asks us to press for gender equality progress not just on one day but every day of the year, by individually asking ourselves what we can do to encourage a gender equal world: 

“We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements,” is the IWD challenge. “Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world. Let's all be #EachforEqual.”

That resonates with me, as a mother of teens, both a daughter and a son. It’s time for us to actively address change and challenge unconscious bias. What can I do every day to help advance gender equality in my own sphere of influence? I may not be a mathematician or be able to solve complex mathematical algorithms, but as one of a legion of women in technology companies, I can look for opportunities to use my voice and my influence to help create a more gender equal world. 

As #IWD2020 says:
“The race is on for the gender equal boardroom, a gender equal government, gender equal media coverage, gender equal workplaces, gender equal sports coverage, more gender equality in health and wealth ... so let's make it happen. Let's be #EachforEqual.”