Women Lack Visibility at Microsoft Envision

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On March 8th we celebrated International Women’s Day, a day that has been recognized annually since the early 1900s. On this day, women from all around the world are encouraged and saluted for their accomplishments. On this day, women from all walks of life are given hope that they can make a difference in this world. On this day, being a woman is not a limitation but something to be celebrated. But, when March 9th arrives, I find myself wondering, what does it mean to be a woman every other day of the year?

As a hard working woman in the ever growing technology industry, it’s difficult to ignore the gender gap, but how do we work to change it? Science and technology powerhouse, Microsoft, ran this advertisement in support of International Women’s Day, highlighting notable female inventors and asking young girls what they are going to make in the future. It’s a great advertisement, and even I will admit that at 24 years old, I was inspired to go make something great!

However, I was quickly jettisoned back to reality when I visited the webpage of a recently rebranded Microsoft conference: Microsoft Envision. It’s an annual conference that, “brings together the most forward thinking minds in business and technology” targeting business leaders and decision makers. While exploring the conference website, the list of featured innovators and visionaries caught my eye. Of the 29 names on this list, only five of them belong to women.

And herein lies the inconsistency.

Our society wants young girls to grow up and enter the science and technology industries, but how are they supposed to succeed when technology giant Microsoft considers less than 20% of the current industry’s innovators and visionaries to be women? Companies like Microsoft, Apple, and other leaders in the science and technology industries need to start inspiring this generation—my generation. If women aren’t allowed the opportunity to obtain leadership positions in the tech world today, who will shatter the glass ceiling and illuminate the way for generations to follow?

I work for a software company that is proud to support women in this industry, with over half of our team consisting of talented, knowledgeable, and innovative females. And when I attended the Summit conference presented by Dynamic Communities this past fall, it was encouraging to see the number of successful women working in this field. I’m confident that women have established themselves in this industry and am optimistic for what the future holds.

Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” There is no doubt that the women in this field are prepared to be the change, we just need an equal opportunity to earn visibility among the business leaders and decision makers of tomorrow.

Written By Elise Rooney, Marketing Assistant at Rockton Software, small business accounting for Dynamics CRM.

1 thought on “Women Lack Visibility at Microsoft Envision”

  1. Dr. Sarah Rooney

    Great post! We certainly need more women and underrepresented minorities to be represented in STEM fields. As a nation, it will be difficult for us to reach our potential if we are only pulling talent from a certain population of people. The same rings true for academia. In universities, the percentage of women and underrepresented minorities as faculty is very low. You brought up a great point in that the younger generation is seeking role models; with very few women professors, it may be difficult for the younger generation to envision themselves in the STEM fields as they go through college. The question is how do we address these issues? We need a multifaceted approach, but certainly awareness is step 1.

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