Last September I had the pleasure to present at the SGD week. It was great to be back at Universidade Católica Portuguesa, as alumni it felt like I was coming home. The theme was "Gender Equality".
When I think that we are in 2021 and this is still an issue it really bothers me and it should bother us all. Women represent more than 50% of the world population and the idea that the majority of our population has fewer opportunities just because of its gender just doesn’t make sense. 

Although numbers don't explain everything, here are some that might help us get a better picture of the gender equity issue in Portugal:

  • 74% of domestic work on average is done by women in Portugal (source: Mulheres em Portugal, Hoje - Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos
  • Women's average salary in Portugal is less than 15% than Men's average salary (INE 2019)
  • Women only represent 16% of the executive roles (World Economic Forum)


On a world scale, it would take 100 years to close the gender parity in terms of C-suits, says the McKinsey Global Institute in "The Power of Parity". The same study says $12 trillion dollars could be added to global GDP by 2025 if the gender gap was narrowed. What a waste!

Diversity & inclusion are core aspects of Microsoft's cultural transformation that help us fulfill our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. As a company competing worldwide for both talent and consumers, the diversity of our workforce and inclusion of talented people from different backgrounds is essential to designing, building, and selling technology and services that are truly for everyone – the key to our long-term success. 

But still, we struggle to get to gender equity in our workforce: only 30,9% are women. Microsoft is a Technology company and the representativity of women in tech continues to be a challenge. Careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and computer science (CS) are critical in shaping the world we live in and solving some of its biggest challenges. Unfortunately, despite the high priority placed on these subjects in school, only a fraction of girls and women are likely to pursue them. By the time they’re in college, for example, 58 percent of female students believe that jobs that require programming and coding are “not for them.” In Portugal, in 2019 only 21% of the IT degrees were held by women. 

So, what is Microsoft doing to close the gender equity gap and other Diversity and inclusion Gaps? These issues are complex and multi-layered. Microsoft takes a multi-faceted, holistic, systemic approach aimed at the social and economic conditions that affect a person’s academic and professional experiences and may influence their choice of career, career path, trajectory and velocity.  Here are some of our main focus and initiatives:

  • Early Digital Skills: We start early by sparking interest in technology and building early technology skills among girls and children from underrepresented communities.
  • Encourage Young Talent: We offer scholarships, experiences, and internships to engage, nurture, and encourage young talent.
  • Recruiting and Hiring: We take an inclusive approach to recruiting and hiring. We are sharply focused on attracting, recruiting, and retaining diverse talent in the tech space. We require the use of diverse slates in the hiring process for many roles and are expanding their use to help increase the diversity of candidates we consider.
  • Unconventional Paths to Tech: We are exploring new sources of talent other than the traditional academic path.
  • Employee Learning and Development: Once they become employees we are committed to their development and success.
  • Inclusive Culture:  We are transforming our culture and nurturing a diverse and inclusive work environment.
  • Supporting the Tech Ecosystem: We support a diverse and inclusive technology ecosystem.


And we engage in the larger system. We are helping to bolster all aspects of the technology experience from the pipeline, to the education experience, to the work experience to the consumer experience. For the benefit of the entire industry. We continue to expand the reach and scope of Inclusive Design, which is driving impact on a number of dimensions: to make products better, to create a culture of purpose where people can do their best work, and to deliver on Microsoft's unique mission in the world. We use our scale for good. Microsoft focuses its resources on doing business with companies that share our interest in increasing workforce inclusion and supporting employees and their families. 

The challenges are known, the opportunity is clear—and we are fierce in our commitment to make a difference, now and for the future, with the human experience always at the heart of our work.

Have a great and impactful week!

Teresa Virgínia 
CMO & PR Lead
Microsoft Portugal

This article refers to edition #111 of the "Have a Great and Impactful Week" Newsletter.
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