Gavriella Schuster Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner

International Women’s Day 2020: Creating opportunity for all

Sunday, March 8th will mark a day that’s close to my heart, International Women’s Day.

The day shines a light on the progress we’ve made in recognizing the potential of a diverse and inclusive economy and the power that comes from developing strong, female role models. Yet while we can reflect on that progress, we must also acknowledge the work that still must be done. It is critical for me that we address the challenges that still exist for women in today’s business landscape—there are many women around the world who are locked out of opportunities many take for granted, for a variety of reasons.

I’m proud of the work we’ve done at Microsoft so far to increase access and opportunities for women through our workplace culture, policies and technologies. I believe we have a responsibility to highlight other organizations that have also prioritized diversity and inclusion and encourage others to do the same.

Building opportunity and access for all through technology

Technology helps organizations empower their employees, optimize their operations, connect with their customers and transform their products. It’s also a key factor in building an inclusive economy; an economy that harnesses the power of diversity to create opportunities and positive business outcomes for all. At Microsoft, we understand that a diverse work force inspires diverse solutions, which ultimately helps drive innovations that benefit everyone.

That’s why I am excited to share that Microsoft is supporting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals through our #BuildFor2030 campaign. Through October, we will be highlighting Microsoft partners with solutions that align to the UN’s goals. And in celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8th, we will be focusing on solutions by women-led organizations within our Microsoft partner community. I encourage you to read more about these incredible innovations here.

These solutions showcase the entrepreneurial spirit of women in technology—a community that is grossly underrepresented in the marketplace today. Recent studies suggest, if women and men participated equally as entrepreneurs, global GDP could rise by approximately 3% to 6%, boosting the global economy by as much as $5 trillion. If we work together, we can start that shift, and create more opportunities for everyone.


Did you know?

According to the McKinsey Global Institute:

  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 21 percent more profitable than companies in the bottom quartile
  • Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity are 33 percent more likely to outperform companies in the bottom quartile
  • Closing the gender gap in the workforce could add $28 trillion to the global GDP
  • Closing the gender gap in the workforce could add $28 trillion to the global GDP

Women in Cloud

In January, Microsoft hosted the Women in Cloud Summit in Redmond, and I had the privilege of discussing how we can all work to create more opportunities for women in technology. Women in Cloud is a community-led organization that brings together female entrepreneurs, global leaders, corporations, and policy makers to support economic development for women in tech. They have vowed to help create $1 billion in economic access and opportunity by 2030.

As an executive sponsor of this initiative, I have sat down with many female business owners and have heard their struggles, triumphs and breakthroughs. Everyone I’ve met has emphasized the importance of access to technology, customers, partners, and investments. My team and I are focused on creating access for their growth through co-marketing and co-selling opportunities as we strive to create an inclusive marketplace for all partners to deploy cloud solutions and services.

Building for the future

While we are focused on creating equal access and opportunity for women business owners today, we must also prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs and female tech leaders. To participate in the global economy and businesses of the future, understanding and innovating with technology will be a core skill of any job. Young women need to embrace technology and develop skills and passions that will be key success factors in a world where technology is part of every business in every industry.

I’d like to invite all Microsoft partners to join other impact-oriented technology solution leaders in the #BuildFor2030 campaign to highlight their innovative solutions. And in honor of International Women’s Day, I encourage you to take action and drive momentum towards creating a gender-equal society by supporting this campaign.