Addressing Gender Inequality in the Tech Industry
Gender equality is an important part of SAP’s mission to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. Operating in an industry often cited for its lack of diversity, SAP has been working to counter this trend and be a tech company that is willing to lead by example. While we’ll be the first to say that we still have work to do, we are proud of the progress we are making.
We have long recognized the benefits of being more gender inclusive. It goes beyond our corporate responsibility as a company. It is an absolute business imperative. As an article presenting a 2014 Gallup survey on the subject put it, gender equality is vital “not just because it’s a laudable goal” but because “it simply makes bottom-line business sense.”
With this in mind, SAP set a goal for itself five years ago: increase our women in management to 25 percent by 2017.
At first glance, this may not sound too ambitious, but consider the following: even today, women on average occupy only 22.5 percent of all leadership roles at major tech companies. Also consider that when SAP made this commitment, the company had 18.7 percent women in management roles globally.
Since SAP made greater gender balance a priority and the Board set a goal for women in leadership, we have put a number of efforts and initiatives in place to help us move the needle. As of the end of 2015, we are proud to share that women currently comprise 23.6 percent of SAP’s leadership. Also, SAP’s workforce is now comprised of 32.1 percent women globally, putting us ahead of many of today’s leading technology companies.
We know there is still much to be done until true gender balance is achieved, which is why we remain fully committed to diversity—in all its forms. But recently, we allowed ourselves to take just a moment to celebrate progress, as we received an important validation of our ongoing efforts: SAP America was awarded the Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) certification for its commitment to gender equality. The certificate was awarded after a rigorous third-party review, and it makes us the first technology company in the US to be presented with such a distinction.
Our aim is to now achieve EDGE certification on a global level. With over 75,000 employees and offices in 130 countries, SAP has an extensive and influential reach. As we work to solidify our commitment globally, and to further act on that commitment, we know we will be paving the way to meaningful and enduring change.
By being role models in our industry when it comes to gender equality, our hope is that we will begin to effect change. For, while gender equality does make bottom-line sense, it also is undoubtedly one of those most laudable of goals.
This is true. However, I'm sorry to say that this 23.6% of women leaders at SAP did not seem too interested in reaching back and sending the elevator back down for other women external to SAP so that they could join the firm and thrive there. After these leaders arrived, and especially after this recent new round of women VPs had arrived, the glass ceiling formed by them at SAP has become stronger and women are receiving turned up noses and implied KEEP OUT signs.
Support for gender equality isn't simply a one-sided issue that only the men must be on board with. Many women at SAP need to start embracing it as well and stop erecting road blocks for other women, thus causing them to fail.