This Company Just Announced An Incredible Initiative For Hiring Women

Photo: Courtesy of GE.
One of the biggest gender gaps in today's workforce can be found within engineering and IT-focused industries, where women comprise only 13 to 24% of these technical positions. And although plenty of tech companies introduce goals for narrowing the gap, it never feels like these plans to diversify are successful or aggressive enough. Now, one major company is taking big steps to turn that around.

Today, GE announced its goal of having 20,000 women in STEM roles at the company by 2020, resulting in an impressive 50:50 gender balance in technical entry-level positions. Right now, GE has 14,700 women in engineering, manufacturing, IT, and product management positions.

As for the reasoning behind the initiative, "Balance the Equation," the company says that it's a business imperative and cites research showing that businesses with a more equal gender ratio are more successful.

"The jobs of the future in digital foundries and high-tech science labs require more flexibility, creativity and out-of-the-box problem solving than ever before — all things that diverse, more interdisciplinary teams are better at," GE's Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer Victor Abate told Refinery29.

In a post about the initiative, GE says that it will focus on two areas to ensure its aggressive goals are met: Recruitment on the university-level and retention of women who have been hired. The latter will include bias training, programs dedicated to female leadership development, and greater accountability for managers to foster a more inclusive environment.

Of course, this is only the beginning. "We know we have a lot more work to do and our strategy will inject urgency into addressing ongoing gender imbalance, making sure that our goals are embraced at all levels in the organization and evident in everyday actions," Abate said.

But the initiative is a strong example of the kinds of gender balance goals all tech companies should look to adopt. GE also released a touching video, with a cameo from Broad City's Abbi Jacobson, celebrating Millie Dresselhaus, an 86-year-old MIT employee who was the first woman to win the National Medal of Science in Engineering. It's women like Dresselhaus, GE says, who should be treated as celebrities. We couldn't agree more.
Photo: Courtesy of GE.

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