March 7, 2008

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) this week launched its first annual International Women's Day (IWD) celebration, highlighting the urgent need to improve the status of women in IT. The celebration brings together the efforts of U.S. and international companies concerned about women's participation in IT, including EDS, Google, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Nortel, Qualcomm, and Sun.

"As a strong supporter of women in the technology industry, Microsoft is a proud sponsor of NCWIT and works to provide our employees with great opportunities to celebrate and grow their professional careers," said Sean Kelley, Director for Global Diversity and Inclusion at Microsoft. "The activities and events that are taking place across the world during International Women's Day are prime examples of Microsoft's continued efforts to bring women together to network, develop their professional skills, and celebrate the day."

NCWIT is hosting an International Women's Day website ( that provides information on individual company events and links to IWD celebrations around the globe. Company events include networking luncheons, speaking engagements, awards, webinars, mentoring opportunities, and general awareness-raising efforts. The website also features NCWIT's newly released International Women's Day Program-in-a-Box, an all-in-one resource designed to help companies celebrate IWD and plan events.

"At Intel, diversity is a way of life. It is an integral part of our business and central to our success as an innovative leader in technology," said Rosalind Hudnell, Director of Corporate Diversity at Intel. "We invest in external activities that will strengthen the pipeline, particularly with women and underrepresented minorities, and celebrate the involvement of our employees in supporting International Women's Day."

First celebrated in the United States in 1909, International Women's Day was instituted to honor women's achievements and to strategize ways to improve rights and living conditions for women around the globe. In 1978, The United Nations began recognizing International Women's Day on its current date, March 8. Today, IWD provides a forum for developed and developing countries worldwide to ignite change efforts for increasing women's participation in political, economic and social realms.

Workforce and innovation statistics show the pressing need to improve women's participation in IT. Last year women accounted for only 27 percent of the U.S. IT workforce, even though they hold more than half of all professional occupations overall. NCWIT research shows that although patents created by teams with both men and women are more highly cited, women's participation in patenting remains extremely low, at 4.7 percent. "If we are really serious about improving innovation and product development, then increasing women's participation in IT is a natural solution," said NCWIT CEO Lucy Sanders. "IT is an important tool for improving human rights and quality of life for women, and this is what International Women's Day is all about."


NCWIT is a coalition of more than 100 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working aggressively to increase women's participation in information technology (IT). NCWIT believes that women's participation is a compelling issue of innovation, competitiveness, and workforce sustainability. Its work connects efforts along the entire pipeline, from K-12 and higher education through industry and academic careers. Find out more at