> IBM - Diversity 3.0™

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity of people.
Diversity of thought.
A smarter planet for everyone.


Jim Caldwell with his child, Laurie
Jim Caldwell with his child, Laurie. 1980s.

IBM ad featuring Michael Coleman holding a business card with his mechanical hand
Michael Coleman holding a business card with his mechanical hand. 1981.

IBM Personal Computer and dot matrix printer
IBM Personal Computer and dot matrix printer. 1981.

Ceramic oxides
Ceramic oxides. 1987.

IBM scientists Gerd Binning and Heinrich Rohrer with the Nobel Prize in physics
Gerd Binning and Heinrich Rohrer. 1987.

Recognizing Work / Life Challenges

A new generation of workers demands new solutions for work/life challenges. IBM leads the way in rethinking workplace needs and in creating services that meet them.


IBM ad in such prominent publications as the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek features disabled IBM employee Michael Coleman holding a business card with his mechanical hand. The ad reads: "Some people just won't believe that the disabled can do the job. It has to make you wonder who's handicapped."
Today, Coleman is an IBM vice president.

"I lost my hands in Vietnam. I never thought of myself as a disabled person. I was a changed person, not a disabled one. IBM offered me a job that put me out front with its best customers. Not a lot of companies would take that risk."

Michael Coleman, Vice President,
Global Operation: Business Partners, Midmarket
and Small Business, White Plains.

Two scientists from the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer, invent the scanning tunneling microscope, which provides a first-ever look at the surfaces of atoms. In 1986 Binnig and Rohrer win the Nobel Prize in physics.


The newly named Tokyo Research Laboratory opens its doors. More than 250 people at IBM's Tokyo Lab are working on research in the fields of computer science, storage and semiconductor technology and manufacturing.


John R. Opel becomes Chairman and CEO of IBM.


The IBM Child Care Referral Service is established, becoming the first national child-care resource and referral service.

Sexual orientation is added to IBM's nondiscrimination policy. IBM becomes one of the first major companies to make this change.

Black IBM researcher Mark Dean designs the PC/AT, the follow-on to the original PC, setting the standard for all "IBM - compatible" PCs. Dean later becomes the first African American IBM Fellow in 1995.


Jim Caldwell, an IBM employee who is blind and paraplegic, is named American of the Year by the President's Commission on Employment of the Handicapped.


John F. Akers becomes Chairman and CEO of IBM.

IBM begins to conduct the first of a series of employee work/life surveys.

J. Georg Bednorz and K. Alex Müller, two scientists from the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, discover superconductivity in ceramic oxides that carry electricity without loss of energy at much higher temperatures than any other superconductor. The discovery sparks a worldwide effort focusing on applications of high - temperature superconductors to such areas as power generation, microwave applications and sensors. Bednorz and Müller are awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for their discovery in 1987.

IBM scientists Gerd Binning, Ph.D., and Heinrich Rohrer, Ph.D., win Nobel Prize in physics.


IBM establishes the Elder-Care Consultation and Referral Service, the first national corporate program to address elder-care issues.

IBM Special Needs Group develops first DOS screen reader for blind PC users, and SpeechViewer, which becomes a global benchmark for speech - therapy products.

The computer network — a collaboration between IBM, MCI Communication and the University of Michigan — provides the network infrastructure and lays groundwork for explosive growth of the Internet in the 1990s.


IBM names Frances Allen its first woman IBM Fellow. See 1950 Then & Now.

Lotus researcher and future IBM Fellow Irene Greif begins work on collaborative groupware, which later yields Version Manager for Lotus 1-2-3®, Lotus Notes®, Domino® and the first version of the Palm Pilot.

By replacing more expensive and exotic materials like gallium arsenide with silicon germanium (known as SiGe), IBM creates faster chips at lower costs. In 1995 IBM commercializes its silicon germanium chips through partnerships with companies in the emerging telecommunications market. Hughes and NORTEL are among the first to participate.