Sustainability Blog

Sustainability Blog

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How are Women transforming business?

Category : People

Women bring new and creative perspectives. We spark innovation, and increase business value for Capgemini’s customers. That’s why Women@Capgemini is more than corporate social responsibility.  It’s good, sustainable business.



In celebration of International Women's Day, today's post comes from guest blogger Tracy Perez, Assistant Director Global Marketing, Microsoft Alliance. 




Gender diversity isn’t just the “right thing to do.” Gender diversity is changing the world.

Today is International Women’s Day and we are celebrating the lives of women trailblazers who break traditional mindsets, glass ceilings, rules and stereotypes to truly lead.  Stereotypes are everywhere.  When we think about a computer programmer, the image of a geeky guy sitting in a dark room surrounded by empty food containers churning out code comes to mind…   Strike a chord? It seems we’re all guilty at one time or another of making these types of assumptions. Let’s take another look at the world of IT, and how contributions made by women change our assumptions.  The IT industry today is global, and the number of women choosing this field is on the rise. While it’s still mostly a male profession, it’s clear the contributions of women are ever more important, from coders to program management to executive levels. Technology only has value where customers are served, and women consistently display keen understanding of customer needs. What’s more, women make up an ever-increasing portion of target markets. We have spending power[1]. The online world understands that appealing to women is fundamental to accelerating business success. Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to health care[2].

So let’s burst the typical stereotype. Can you guess who invented computer programming?  It was a woman, Ada Lovelace. Born in 1815, Ada was an English mathematician, and the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron. She worked with fellow mathematician Charles Babbage on the Analytical Engine, and in 1843 she developed a method for automatically calculating a sequence of Bernoulli numbers. It may sound obscure, but it is considered the world’s first example of a computer program[3].  This is only one of many contributions women have made in computing. Do you remember COBOL[4]?  In 1997 there were a total of 200 billion lines of COBOL running 80% of all business programs, according to Gartner[5]. Although COBOL is on the wane today, it was the foundation on which modern Enterprise IT was built. What does this have to do with women?  COBOL was the idea of US Navy Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper .  She invented the first compiler for a computer programming language in 1952. By 1959, she had pioneered the development of COBOL. Her amazing career spanned five decades. In 1986, Grace was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the highest non-combat decoration awarded by the US Department of Defense, during her 1986 retirement celebration.  Do you remember the Moon Race? In 1969 the United States of America put a man on the moon. It was the innovative thinking of Katherine Johnson[6] that got him there. Katherine Johnson, an African-American space scientist and mathematician, pioneered the use of computers at NASA. She calculated the trajectory for the Apollo 11 flight to the moon. She also mapped the way for the first American in space Alan Shepard  in 1959. Now retired, Katherine pays it forward by encouraging students to pursue careers in science and technology fields. 

It’s inspiring to learn how these brave and innovative women have been invaluable in humanity’s journey.   Let’s see how Women@Capgemini continue to break barriers to #makeItHappen


Women@Capgemini

At Capgemini we understand diversity brings innovation and value to business. And our Women@Capgemini program is a roaring success. Launched in 2012, it brings diverse talents and new, creative solutions to our clients and partners. What’s more, we’ve helped Capgemini earn a series of awards for inclusive practices across the world.  Let’s meet some of the many Capgemini women who have made it happen for themselves and for their colleagues.  We asked - How do you see the roles changing for women and the value women are making in business today to make it happen? 


Parvathy Nair heads our Marketing Communication Offshore Services (MCOS) unit in India. Parvathy was recently promoted to VP. Her background is in advertising and after embracing technology marketing, she has led the MCOS program, taking our products and services to the market.


“In a world where there is a war for talent, women are increasingly being seen as the ingredient that can make a company more competitive. Research shows that women tend to make workplaces more creative and innovative. Companies should be and are taking note of that. In India, we are seeing far more women than before coming into the workforce. It reflects a changing society, with women gaining in confidence, understanding their potential, and ready to fulfill it.”

 
Shawn Shope is our VP of HR for North America, and is turning our People Matter, Results Count vision into a reality in NA.  With over 25 years of experience Shawn has led countless large transformation programs across multiple functions and business units.


“My background is transformation, and I firmly believe it’s important to infuse both female and male leadership characteristics into our thinking, approach and talent profile.  In our global and changing landscape, solutions need to be multi-dimensional and adaptive to get to sustainable value and results.  To achieve more effective, holistic solutions, we each need to be open to “knowing what we don’t know,” bringing the right people together based on capability and content knowledge regardless of defined level or role and creating an inclusive workplace that encourages diverse perspectives.  We need to promote distributed leadership and expect lateral thinking to generate the modular business solutions and speed to value required today.  In HR, we are working to deliver value, excellence and one team throughout our interactions with the business and our employees so that Capgemini is a great place for all of us to work, achieve and thrive.”
 
Women at Capgemini, has lead our efforts across the world to support moving far beyond viewing gender diversity as simply "the right thing to do." We have shown it delivers results to our clients, partners, shareholders and employees. Women at every level are bringing their new and creative perspectives to add value: both financial and cultural. And our increasing numbers of women in senior leadership positions are building a business model that taps into every market, for the benefit of everyone.
So on this International Women’s Day, think about what you can do to promote diverse perspectives and make our workplaces ever more rich. And if you need a little inspiration, just remember Ada, Grace and Katherine.
 
To find out more about the gender diversity initiatives at Capgemini, take a look at our rich diversity programs and #makeithappen:


[1]  Barletta, Marti Kaplan Business; 2nd edition (January 1, 2006)  Marketing to Women: How to Increase your share of the World’s largest Market
[3] Fuegi, J; Francis, J (October–December 2003), "Lovelace & Babbage and the creation of the 1843 'notes'", Annals of the History of Computing (IEEE)
[5] Robinson, Brian (9 July 2009). "Cobol remains old standby at agencies despite showing its age"FCW. Public Sector Media Group. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
[6] Katherine Johnson: Working at NASA http://youtu.be/pSH_O700XqE

About the author

Janet P. Pope
Janet P. Pope
Janet Pope joined Capgemini in 2005 and has extensive experience across the Group. Janet is a thought leader in the field of diversity and inclusion and has been instrumental in defining Capgemini’s broad approach to inclusion as the effective management of diversity. Janet is a key member of the Group Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (CR&S) team, leading People Culture globally and the CR&S team in North America.
1 Comment Leave a comment
Well said Tracy! Thanks for sharing!

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