HP stretches International Women's Day into a week of events

By Warren Volkmann, Editor
HP Developers Portal

On Wednesday, March 8, the world will observe International Women's Day. However, HP can't wait to get started. HP is stretching the day into a full week of events that highlight the contributions of women to technology and society. 

Here on the HP Developers Portal, we highlight the contributions of three women who pioneered computer technology and coding. Two won the Congressional Medal of Honor.

  • Grace Hopper, a math whiz who was present at the creation of the early Mark series of computers at Harvard. In the U.S. Navy she rose to the rank of Admiral, and as the oldest woman in the Navy, she taught a generation of military leaders about computers. See how she explained a nanosecond to generals in a profile by the news broacast 60-MinutesGrace Hopper: She taught computers to talk. [Editor's note: The video file seems to have a "bug" in it, a term Hopper coined when a small moth was found in the circuitry.]
  • Margaret Hamilton, who worked on computers that guided the Apollo space missions in the 1960s. Margaret coined the term "software."
  • Dorothy Vaughan, a black woman working as a manager for NASA in Alabama in the 1960s. She was portrayed in the hit movie Hidden Figures by actress Octavia Spencer. 

     

The movie Hidden Figures makes it plain to see how discrimination harms not only the victims of prejudice, but also the society around them, as human potential is squandered. In order to retrain her team of black women, Vaughan had to sneak a book about Fortran out of the public library. First she taught herself, and then she taught her team how to translate the formulas that they calculated by hand into punch cards that the IBM computer could process.

Here is how HP is promoting International Women's Week to its employees around the world:

Why it matters to HP

Making life better for everyone, everywhere requires innovation. And HP believes diversity drives innovation. The greater the diversity of our backgrounds, education, perspectives, and experiences, the greater our raw materials for ideas.

When the diversity of our employees reflects the global communities we serve, we can create solutions that better serve our customers. And that means customers will choose us.

Here are a few facts:

  • Companies with more women on their board of directors had on average 16 percent higher return on sales and 26 percent higher return on invested capital. HP’s board of directors is nearly 40 percent women, which is double the average for Silicon Valley.
  • 27 percent of HP executives, director and above, are women, which is 4 percentage points higher than before separation.
  • The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won't close entirely until 2186. We won’t wait that long.
  • $12 trillion could be added to the global gross domestic product by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. That’s roughly equivalent to the size of the combined Chinese and US economies today.

What started with Bill and Dave creating an environment that hired the smartest thinkers based on qualifications regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation, has become the source code on which HP continues to build today.