For over a century,
IBM has believed that
diversity and inclusion
are business priorities.

 
Ginni Rometty

IBM thinks about diversity the way we think about innovation — both are essential to the success of our business. When we innovate, technology becomes smarter for clients and creates new opportunities for growth.

When we incorporate diversity into our business, we create better innovations and outcomes. IBM has embraced diversity, and it gives opportunities for IBMers and our clients to achieve their full potential.

Ginni Rometty
Chairman, President and CEO, IBM

Ginni Rometty

IBM thinks about diversity the way we think about innovation — both are essential to the success of our business. When we innovate, technology becomes smarter for clients and creates new opportunities for growth.

When we incorporate diversity into our business, we create better innovations and outcomes. IBM has embraced diversity, and it gives opportunities for IBMers and our clients to achieve their full potential.

Ginni Rometty
Chairman, President and CEO, IBM

From Civil Rights and Representation
to Engagement and Inclusion

Our willingness to take on issues of equity, fairness and equal opportunity have not only set us apart, but positively distinguished our company and made us a magnet for the smartest and most talented people in the world. Moreover, diversity and inclusion is part of our DNA.

From Civil Rights and Representation
to Engagement and Inclusion

Our willingness to take on issues of equity, fairness and equal opportunity have not only set us apart, but positively distinguished our company and made us a magnet for the smartest and most talented people in the world. Moreover, diversity and inclusion is part of our DNA. y set us apart, but positively distinguished our company and made us a magnet for the smartest and most talented people in the world. More so, as IBMers, we have come to a realization that we are a company of “firsts” — a company that has led and not followed from its earliest days to the present.

  1.       1899 - First women and black employees hired.

    First women and black employees hired.

    IBM hired three women, Emma Manske, Nettie Moore and Lilly Philp, 20 years before women were given the right to vote. The same year, IBM hired Richard MacGregor, IBM’s first black employee, 10 years before the founding of NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and 36 years after the Emancipation Proclamation

  2.       1914 - First disabled employee hired.

    IBM's first employee with a disability

    IBM hired its first employee with a disability, 59 years before the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and 76 years before the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  3. 1935 - “Same Kind of Work for Equal Pay.” T.J.Watson Sr.

    Women hired as Systems Service Professionals

    IBM recruited 25 female college graduates, slated to work in systems service. These were the firm’s first female professionals, 29 years before the Equal Pay Act. Thomas J. Watson, Sr. champions the introduction of women into IBM's professional ranks, as the company holds its first systems engineering service class for women.

  4.       1943 - First woman VP named

    Ruth Leach named vice president

    IBM named Ruth Leach (Amonette) a vice president, the company’s first female executive. Between 1940 and 1943, one third of IBM’s manufacturing hires are women.

  5. 1946 - First pocket-sized braille printer manufactured and distributed to all employees

    Braille Pocket writer

    IBM manufactures the Banks Pocket Braille Writer, a pocket-sized Braille printer, which it donates to veterans, sells to the public at cost and provides free to all visually impaired employees.

  6. 1953 - IBM President signs company's first written equal opportunity policy letter.

    Equal Opportunity Policy

    IBM wrote its first Equal Opportunity Policy. This policy was signed by T. J. Watson, Jr., one year before the Brown decision ending “separate but equal” in public education and 11 years ahead of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the U.S.

  7.       1968 - IBM created Supplier Diversity Program

    Supplier Diversity

    IBM created its supplier diversity program in 1968, before the existence of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). Our program’s goal is to provide opportunities to diverse suppliers who can add value in every region where we operate. Suppliers qualify by being at least 51 percent owned by people from an ethnic minority (as defined in each country or region), or by women, military veterans, people with disabilities or LGBT+ individuals.

  8. 1971 - IBM's first operational application of speech recognition.

    Pioneering speech experimental speech

    IBM's first operational application of speech recognition enabled customer engineers servicing equipment to "talk" to and receive "spoken" answers from a computer that can recognize about 5,000 words. IBM also developed an experimental terminal that prints computer responses in Braille for the blind.

  9. 1972 - IBM's Computer Program Training for People with Disabilities.

    Pwd Training

    IBM's first operational application of speech recognition enabled customer engineers servicing equipment to "talk" to and receive "spoken" answers from a computer that can recognize about 5,000 words. IBM also developed an experimental terminal that prints computer responses in Braille for the blind.

  10. 1984 - IBM includes sexual-orientation in its equal opportunity policy.

    Raibow Flag

    Non-discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation Publicly Stated. IBM became one of the first companies to include sexual orientation as part of its commitment to nondiscrimination.

  11.       1996 - Domestic Partner Benefits added in U.S.

    LGBT Partner benefits

    IBM announces Domestic Partner Benefits for gay and lesbian employees.

  12.       1999 - IBM introduces Home Page Reader.

    Home Page Reader

    IBM introduces Home Page Reader, an award-winning Web browser that uses speech to help the blind and visually impaired use the Internet. The first product of its kind, Home Page Reader was developed by blind IBM researcher Chieko Asakawa. The application was offered in the US, Europe and Asia, and was capable of reading web pages in American or British English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and other languages.

  13.       2001 - Global work-life fund launched.

    Global work-life fund launched

    This multi-year fund has been designed to address strategic work-life challenges for IBM employees worldwide, focusing on dependent care.

  14. 2002 - Global Equal Opportunity Policy – “orientation, gender identity and expression” were added.

    Global Equal Opportunity Policy

    “Orientation, gender identity and expression” were added to U.S. and Global Equal Opportunity Policy.

  15. 2010 - Accessible Workplace Connections launched to request and manage reasonable accommodations.

    Accessible workplace

    The Human Ability and Accessibility center collaborated with IBM Human Resources and the IBM Office of the CIO to create the Accessible Workplace Connection portal, which makes it easy for managers to accommodate IBMers with disabilities, and teaches those employees about the tools and policies that exist to help them do their jobs on an equal footing with their peers.

  16. 2012 - First Woman CEO appointed – Virginia Rometty.

    Ginny

    IBM Board of Directors Elects Virginia M. "Ginni" Rometty President and CEO of IBM: Samuel J. Palmisano and Virginia M. "Ginni" Rometty at IBM's corporate headquarters in Armonk, N.Y. Rometty, an IBM senior vice president, was elected by the IBM board of directors to become the company's president and ninth CEO on January 1, 2012.

  17. 2017 - Introduced rainbow logo in support of the LGBT community.

    Rainbow logo

    IBM Launched 8-bar rainbow logo as a new symbol of IBM’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. This is a demonstration of IBM’s continuing efforts to advance and influence nondiscrimination workplace policies consistent with basic human rights.

  18.       2018 - IBM honored with 2018 Catalyst Award.

    Catalyst

    IBM was honored with the prestigious 2018 Catalyst Award for leadership in building a workplace that values diversity and inclusion. “Leading the Cognitive Era Powered by the Global Advancement of Women.” IBM’s global diversity and inclusion initiative has strategically and purposefully focused on technical women’s career development and advancement. HR and global business leaders partner to drive IBM’s diversity and inclusion goals by attracting and recruiting diverse talent, prioritizing leadership development and talent discussions and engaging as a good corporate citizen.

Building an Equal Opportunity Workforce

IBM’s culture of inclusiveness dates back to the early twentieth century and continues today. A significant moment in IBM’s equal opportunity journey occurred roughly sixty years ago, when IBM President Thomas Watson Jr. wrote a letter—and took a stand with Policy Letter #4.

Building an Equal Opportunity Workforce

IBM’s culture of inclusiveness dates back to the early twentieth century and continues today. A significant moment in IBM’s equal opportunity journey occurred roughly sixty years ago, when IBM President Thomas Watson Jr. wrote a letter—and took a stand with Policy Letter #4.

Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

I CAN BUILD A FUTURE IN WHICH YOUR BRAIN IS YOUR PASSWORD.

Working at IBM, Saritha is setting the standards on which future breakthroughs in biometrics and security will be built.

Saritha