This past June at the United Nations-sponsored Generation Equality Forum in Paris, a group of world leaders, philanthropists and private sector companies pledged to invest over $40 billion to the Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality. The Forum marks the launch of a five-year journey designed to accelerate gender equality and a turning point in the international community’s commitment towards women’s rights.
While there has been some progress made over the past few decades, gender equality is still far off. This is true even in an industry considered as forward-thinking as the tech sector. In fact, the technology sector is further away from achieving gender equality than the overall U.S. economy. While the percentage of women employed in the U.S. labor force has reached 47 percent, it is still surprisingly lower in the technology industry.
Dell Technologies is one technology company that recognizes that this is an issue and is taking steps to reconcile it. As part of their Progress Made Real campaign, they set an ambitious goal that by 2030, 50% of their global workforce and 40% of their global people leaders, will be those who identify as women. Beyond that, to help provide equal opportunities to women outside of the company, each year through 2030, 50% of the people empowered by Dell’s social and education initiatives will be girls, women, or underrepresented groups.
STEMAspire: Empowering women to stick with STEM career paths
In addition to Dell instituting their ReStart, Align and Project immersion programs for women and underrepresented groups, Dell also created an intensive 12-month mentoring program called STEMAspire. STEMAspire’s mission is to help women overcome the misperception that tech is a male dominated industry, and to keep more female university STEM students on the path to technology careers. The program launched in Cork, Ireland, in 2018 and paired students from University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology with mentors from the local Dell Technologies team.
They have since grown STEMAspire to six Dell Technologies sites in Ireland and Scotland. Each STEMAspire student meets with their mentor to develop critical business skills. The program has proven especially popular with women from ethnic minority groups.
The Dell Autism Hiring Program: Providing career readiness training for neurodivergent job seekers
Dell strives to create an environment that is inclusive and accessible for all. Since neurodiversity is a broad category, they first set our sights on tapping autistic talent, rethinking the traditional interview process, and removing barriers that may limit an individual from fully showcasing their true abilities and potential. The Dell Autism Hiring Program was launched with the intent to provide career readiness training and possible full-time career opportunities for neurodivergent job seekers.
Since its launch, the program has helped individuals on the spectrum in the Boston and Austin areas find employment outside of the traditional interview process. The program is now virtual and is becoming even more integrated, as it is bringing candidates together from both of Dell’s headquarters to collaborate and support one another.