By Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India
As we mark International Women’s Day today and accelerate the momentum around Diversity and Inclusion, I would like to share a message I sent to the Microsoft India team, renewing and strengthening our commitment.
The journey to be diverse and inclusive is a never-ending one. But when we work to empower every person on the planet, it becomes fundamental to what we do. So much has changed in the last 12 months. We’ve been forced to rethink and redefine so many parts of our lives, personally and professionally…and during this time have also confronted the reality of biases, privilege, and opportunity. We know that to learn, grow, and become more diverse and inclusive, we’ve got to ask the hard questions, face the answers head-on, and be willing to experience discomfort in the process.
On International Women’s Day (IWD), I’d like to strengthen our commitment to diversity and inclusion. If we look back, there are good indicators of progress and achievement. However, more than a celebration of what we have achieved, today is much more an accelerator to learn from the road travelled and to rejuvenate our commitment to empower every person on the planet.
The call to action is to accelerate the momentum we’ve got on our side. We must:
Integrate diversity and inclusion into EVERYTHING. From how we conceptualize and create products to how we treat our suppliers, to the everyday interactions with colleagues. We must integrate diversity and inclusion into our processes, behaviors, and operational rhythms to bring out the best in one another.
Act in the moment. We must learn to recognize opportunities to be inclusive, to speak up, to make a difference, in the moment. It’s only then that we can make sure that our lived experiences meet our stated values. It’s not always easy to recognize something for what it is when it happens and act immediately…the bias for action is imperative.
Build Allyship. Why Allyship? Because everyone can be an ally. Being an Ally is making an intentional decision to understand, empathize, and act in support of others. It is a powerful way to encourage new ways of thinking that allows us to have candid, empathetic conversations, call out and correct non-inclusive behavior, and stretch our thinking.
Go beyond the workplace. We’ve got to leverage the power of diversity beyond our colleagues. Our responsibility lies with the larger technology industry, the industries we serve, and the communities we live in. Together with partners, suppliers, governments, we should use technology even more to prioritize inclusivity and to create equal opportunity.
It would do us well to remember that diversity is not a choice, it’s a FACT, inclusion is not a privilege, but a RIGHT.
To everyone striving to accelerate diversity and inclusion, we’ve got the momentum on our side…let’s keep going!