Over the past 46 years, International Women’s Day has grown into a major social holiday, celebrating the progress we, as women, have made, while also shining a light on all of the work that still needs to be done to achieve true gender parity across the world. Celebrations in years past have consisted of marches, protests and in-person events. 2021 is looking a bit different. But the new virtual landscape and socially distant setup aren’t stopping us from continuing the celebrations!
This year’s IWD theme is “Choose to Challenge”—a call-to-action asking all of us to challenge gender bias and call out inequality. We challenged our partners to share how their companies are promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment and how they’re providing a platform for their women employees today and every day. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Siemens USA
"Moments of disruptions—like a pandemic—provide the perfect environment for change. We aren’t thinking about how to go back to how things used to be, but how we can go forward by creating a workplace culture that better supports women and gender equality. We’re embracing a new company policy to work remotely two-to-three days a week; encouraging a new model of flexibility, trust and empowerment for all employees; and accelerating Siemens’ commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity company wide." — Barbara Humpton, President and CEO at Siemens USA
“We’re celebrating International Women's Day with a virtual 'journey around the globe,’ including workshops, fireside chats and more! Colleagues across Philips will be volunteering their time, effort and ideas to make the day possible for all to join sessions on mindfulness, unconscious bias and mentoring. We closed 2020 by growing the number of women in senior leadership roles by up to 33%—and we hope to continue that trajectory.” — Lauren Gohde, Head of Inclusion & Diversity at Philips North America
"Gender equality has always been a priority for Grubhub, and we take a holistic approach to promoting and fostering it. Internally, we’ve developed women-led employee engagement groups focused on building connection, community and new ideas that advance our gender equality agenda. Externally, we led the charge to promote gender equality within the restaurant industry through the development of RestaurantHER, an initiative we started in 2018 that strives to advocate for and support female restaurant owners and chefs. This initiative is now in its fourth year, and to date, we’ve created a map highlighting more than 40,000 women-led restaurants across the nation to make it easier for diners to support and order from them." — Jessica Burns, VP, Brand And Creative at Grubhub
"Over the past year, we’ve learned about what really matters to our employees, especially for women and underrepresented minorities who have been heavily impacted with the sudden shift to remote work. As a result, we’ve rolled out new benefits, enhanced caregiver benefits, free mental health services and therapy, and stipends to make sure employees have the tools they need to do their best work. Our goal is to make Dropbox a great place to work for everyone, no matter where they come from or what their background is, and we will continue reevaluating where we are and how we can be even better." — Melanie Collins, Chief People Officer at Dropbox
"Representation empowers women to bring their whole selves to work. At Intuit, we are committed to increasing representation of those who identify as women across the company, and specifically, in technology positions, through our initiative Tech Women @ Intuit. This year, we’ve partnered with AnitaB.org and Treehouse to provide a six-month software development apprenticeship to encourage the advancement of underrepresented minority women and equip them with the skills they need to build a career in technology." — Tracy Stone, Director of Tech Women @ Intuit
"Avanade has not only installed flexible work hours to help our employees prioritize their families and duties outside of work without having to worry about their jobs during this past year, but has also launched a range of innovative, standard-setting hiring practices to ensure diversity at all levels of the organization. In addition, we have a STEM scholarship program that partners with universities around the world to specifically provide scholarships to young women who want to enter STEM careers, and this year we expanded the number of schools and scholarships, including specific ones for Black women students in the U.S. and U.K." — Annabel Nichols, Global Talent Acquisition Leader at Avanade
"Santander is committed to the development, empowerment and growth of women within the organization and communities where we live, work and serve. We are proud that Santander is made up of 58% women. Through initiatives such as returnships (a program for individuals that are returning to the workforce after a significant absence from the workplace), networking, work/life balance education and an impressive benefits plan—including a competitive parental leave program, Santander inspires the success of women." — Raschelle Burton, US Chief Communications Officer at Santander & Executive Sponsor of EmpowHer
"Enterprise Holdings has a long history of investing in our women employees’ success by providing formal and informal mentoring programs, female leadership forums and Lean In employee resource groups. In 2020, we had a historic female-to-female CEO transition—paving the way for more women employees to see themselves in senior leadership roles within the organization. We also announced our new ROAD Forward Initiative, through which the Enterprise Holdings Foundation has pledged $55 million to organizations, such as Girls Inc. and Parents as Teachers, that advance social and racial equity in our communities." — Shelley Roither, Senior Vice President, Human Resources at Enterprise Holdings
"Creating gender equality in the workplace starts at the top—we have doubled down on leadership representation, with five out of our 10 executive leaders identifying as women, and leadership has encouraged flexible working hours (in addition to our existing flexible PTO policy) so that working mothers can better balance childcare and work. We continue to cultivate safe and supportive spaces through our Women+ at Squarespace Employee Resource Group and Women in Engineering community. And this year, for Women’s History Month, our company theme is “Myself” which is centered around giving women a platform to express their authentic selves. We’re inviting customers, employees, and brand ambassadors to create a self-portrait to reflect who they are in whatever medium they choose." — Rose Marques, Global Talent Brand Lead at Squarespace
"In the past year, Moody’s launched the TIDE Program, a high potential diversity initiative aimed at elevating women and people of color to leadership positions. The program is designed to enhance career opportunities, engagement and retention through individual development experiences. We also expanded our RE-IGNITE Program, a paid 16-week initiative designed for people, especially women and mothers, who want to restart their careers after a minimum two-year break. In the community, Moody’s supported 133 women business owners in 8 countries to grow their businesses by partnering with WEConnect International to provide interactive bootcamps and online training modules that focus on credit training and accessing markets and capital. We also helped prepare girls for careers in finance and technology by holding summer immersion programs focused on teaching computer science and data analytics in partnership with Girls Who Code and Girls Inc., respectively." — Donna Hutchinson, Assistant Vice President Global Talent Acquisition Operations at Moody's Corporation
11. XPO Logistics
"XPO leads our industry relative to women in leadership roles, but we are not resting there. We continue to focus our pipeline development on attracting more women to our organization, as well as on the internal growth and development of women within our organization. Our frontline leadership development program, GROWATXPO has a current participation rate of over 40% of women and under the RISE Leadership Development program, 36% of our global participants are women. Additionally, we recently launched our ERG #SheISXPO, with our CHRO Josephine Berisha as the executive sponsor, to continue the engagement with women and allies across the organization." — LaQuenta Jacobs, Chief Diversity Officer at XPO Logistics
"3M has a strong history of building equity and representation for its employees who identify as women, and we're committed to doing more. This is demonstrated most recently in our Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Report with the announcements of achieving gender pay equity within 90% of our global employee population, and increasing transparency around workforce representation. Also, throughout the pandemic, we've increased benefits for 3Mers who are in a caregiver role, which greatly impacts our women employees." — Ann Anaya, Chief Diversity Officer at 3M
13. Siemens Energy
"At Siemens Energy, we run on inclusion and compassion and have several programs, various trainings, and initiatives designed to support women and employees across the organization. Our female leadership development program is designed to help employees develop leadership skills such as executive presence, career planning and networking. Additionally, our internal Women’s Information Network provides mentoring programs, networking opportunities, and community service projects with local organizations that help women on various business and career development topics. We have also partnered with external organizations like the Catalyst – who supports us with accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion; and The Hawthorn Club – a place for employees to network, grow, and connect to peers in industry." — Courtney Kerscher, Global Lead, Talent Attraction at Siemens Energy
"We had all our women employees at CreateMe attend The Forem, which holds workshops around how to craft your personal brand statement, promote your achievements, determine which stakeholders affect promotions, as well as learn tactics and techniques for networking. Our employees loved it and appreciated feeling valued! We're eager to see how we can continue to champion programs like this." — Hannah Olshansky, Senior Director of Talent & People at CreateMe Technologies
"American Century Investments has been completely flexible with me working from home with a kid this past year. I was able to switch to non-traditional hours so that I could trade off watching our daughter with my husband. It makes for long days, but my family time is respected, and I'm able to do my job. I appreciate ACI supporting working moms like that!" — Lisa Vachalek, Client Portfolio Analyst at American Century Investments
16. BNSF Logistics
"I'm the Executive Sponsor for BNSFL's Women in Leadership ERG and we're dedicated to helping women in our company by mentorship group leadership and participating in events to help create a more equitable workplace." — Nancee Ronning, COO at BNSF Logistics
"At RBC Wealth Management, we celebrate the progress women have made socially, civically and economically yet recognize we still have work to do. As a company, we are committed to breaking down the remaining barriers that stand in the way of women reaching their fullest potential." — Kristen Kimmell, Head of Advisor Recruiting and Field Marketing at RBC Wealth Management–U.S.
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