International Women’s Day 2020: How Keysight Is Acting for Equality
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day was ‘an equal world is an enabled world.’ As well as celebrating women’s achievements, the day is also a call to action to raise awareness against gender bias and accelerate efforts to realize equality globally. While we’ve made strong progress over the last three decades, real change is still happening too slowly, especially in the technology sector.
According to the National Center for Women & IT, just 26% of professional computing occupations are held by women. What’s more, computing and IT education is not attracting diverse talent. Only 19% of those who received a computing degree in 2017 were female, down from 27% in 1997. The Center also notes that a high percentage of women already employed in the technology sector are leaving their roles, so diversity is not being maintained and nurtured.
These are issues we need to address urgently, for several reasons:
- Diversity is good for business. A report by McKinsey showed that companies with more diverse executive teams perform better, are more profitable, have more engaged employees, and retain those employees better
- Diversity is good for overall economic prosperity. According to the European Commission, if more women were to choose careers in the ICT sector, it could create an annual GDP boost of €16 billion for the European economy
- Diversity is good for everyone. Greater diversity drives companies to develop new solutions and services which can benefit the largest number of people, not just a specific section of society
Keysight is taking action in three key areas to support and accelerate the drive for equality. We provide ongoing development opportunities for Keysight’s female employees; we highlight and provide opportunities for girls and young women in STEM education, from school to post-graduate level; and we support women in our local communities across the globe.
Empowering Keysight’s female employees
As well as the extensive range of online learning and leadership programs available to all Keysight staff, we have specific programs focused on developing women employees. These include internal networking groups and mentorships, and membership of industry associations such as the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Our Keysight Society of Women Engineers Program pays for employee SWE memberships worldwide, helping to support the success and advancement of female engineers.
Educating the female engineers of the future
Developing tomorrow’s engineers and innovators is a key impact goal for us. We have committed to engage 570,000 students and future engineers in STEM education by the end of our fiscal year 2020. We are well on track to exceed that target, with over 445,000 students engaged as of the end of fiscal 2018. Our educational outreach covers primary schools to post-grad levels, and features many initiatives focused on engaging girls and young women. A prime example is Keysight’s support of the annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, which brings STEM concepts to grade-school students and helps girls develop an interest in engineering and IT.
Community outreach and support is core to Keysight’s CSR activities globally. This means our executives and employees take their support for developing diversity into the communities around our offices and facilities worldwide. For example, Keysight employees founded the Community WISE (Women Investing in STEM Equity) program run by the Career Technical Education (CTE) Foundation of Sonoma County, California. Community WISE focuses on engaging local women in technology development and providing resources to enable every woman to realize their potential in STEM careers.
As a woman in tech myself, I am committed to helping Keysight maintain and grow its reputation for being a Great Place to Work for every one of our employees. It’s particularly gratifying that FORTUNE magazine again placed Keysight in its 2019 listing of the 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity. With a truly open and inclusive workplace, we can nurture the next generation of female leaders, who will in turn further advance gender equality, to enable and benefit everyone.