Women around the world have had to change their lives in unpredictable ways. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, political restrictions and global conflict, their resilience has been remarkable. Women have continued to show up for themselves, their families and their communities — and it’s why on this International Women’s Day, and every day, Google is showing up to support them.
When I reflect upon the women who inspired me, I go back to my undergraduate education at Spelman College, a historically Black college for women in Atlanta. It was there I joined a sisterhood of women who looked like me and pushed me to strive for excellence. Today, as a physician and a director within Google Health, I cherish this support system more than ever. Throughout the pandemic, and thanks to technology, we’ve been there for each other through life's events, big and small — birthdays, loss of parents, encouragement on that Peloton ride, the list goes on. My connection with these women who are now lawyers, engineers, academic professors, executives at Fortune 100 companies, has been a lifeline because we are also mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, life partners and friends. Google artist Thoka Maer, expresses this idea beautifully in our global, animated slideshow Doodle. Her Doodle illustrates the many roles we as women play, how we inspire those around us and how we continue to support each other when life forces us to suddenly adapt.
Supporting others means first supporting oneself, much like airlines tell you to put on your oxygen mask first before helping others. At Google, we’re working to help women prioritize their needs by putting a premium on safety and health, creating equitable opportunities and celebrating their accomplishments. This spirit of inclusivity and support extends to all who identify as women, recognizing the intersections of other identities, backgrounds and personal experiences. Join us as we bring people together from around the world for Google’s International Women's Day event series, starting today with our virtual Global Summit, followed by regionally focused events throughout the month of March. And read on to learn about all the ways we’re supporting women globally, not just today, but every day.
Helping women lead safer and healthier lives
Today, we’re announcing the open sourcing of code for a new tool that will address online violence targeted at women. Harassment Manager is an open-source tool built by Jigsaw, in collaboration with Twitter, the Thomson Reuters Foundation and human rights organizations. It is designed to help women, public figures such as journalists, activists, politicians and other groups at risk of experiencing online violence manage toxic language directed at them. We hope Harassment Manager, along with other tools like our recent domestic violence hotline feature on Search, will help women engage more safely online, and encourage others in the tech industry to connect women around the world to resources to improve their safety.
We’re also using research to help women better protect their health. Google Health is exploring how to improve breast cancer detection using artificial intelligence and enhance the patient experience for an otherwise nerve wracking mammogram process. And we’ll be revealing new research on maternal health at our second annual health event, The Check Up on March 24. Plus, YouTube’s new Body of Knowledge series is now sharing open and honest conversations about health so women can feel better supported and understood along their personal wellness journeys.
We take the health and wellbeing of the women in our workplace to heart, too. Earlier this year, we expanded our parental leave to at least 18 weeks for all parents and at least 24 weeks for all parents who give birth, and our carer’s leave for seriously ill loved ones doubled to eight weeks. We also offer berevement leave (which covers still birth and miscarriages) and two weeks of ramp back time so when employees return to work after parental leave, they’re able to work half of their normal weekly hours, while still being paid 100% of their salary.
Acrylic painting of Dr. Jane Wright, a pioneering African American cancer researcher and surgeon, by Ernest Crichlow (1980).
Closing the gender gap for women to build careers and businesses
Focused on building a world where all women can thrive, we’re creating more equitable opportunities in education and tech. For instance, we just announced a Women of Color in Tech scholarship for Black, Latina or Native women pursuing degrees in computer science. In Southeast Asia, our Women Developer Academy is teaching women the professional skills they need to jumpstart their own careers and our Women Techmakers are hosting hundreds of events around the world to bring people together for connection, learning and inspiration. And over the past several years, Google.org has given over $80 million to organizations creating opportunities for women across the world, including $25 million just last year for our Impact Challenge for Women and Girls.
The need to improve equity for women extends well beyond tech. As recently as 2020, startups led by all-women teams received only 2.3% of funding raised around the world. Google for Startups wants to reduce that gender gap through programs like the first-ever Founders Academy, which taught women-focused health startups across the U.K., Switzerland, Germany and Israel how to build strategies for their work tackling issues like fertility, gynecological cancers and sexual wellness. Google is also providing resources for women who own small businesses to improve their digital skills through Grow with Google’s free on-demand workshops. These resources, along with Google’s online tools, have helped women entrepreneurs like Ashley Rouse, Owner and CEO of Trade Street Jam and Sashee Chandran, Founder and CEO of Tea Drops, reach more customers online to sell more products and grow their businesses.
Finally, our Google Media Understanding for Social Exploration team has been partnering with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to analyze media content with machine learning to identify gender gaps on screen. Their findings will continue to improve Google’s own work, while also helping marketers and the film industry improve representation and portrayals of women.
Celebrating the success of women globally
Part of showing up to support women everywhere is showcasing the progress we’ve made over time. Whether it’s celebrating the success of small-business owners around the world or using AI to uncover the roles and achievements of women in science throughout history, we want to show how the perseverance, passion and strength of women has made society much, much brighter. Our CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, is doing just that by spotlighting Pakistani Canadian creator Kanwal Ahmed on YouTube’s blog, and talking to her about her powerful and inspirational videos that create a safe space for women to connect. Also, check out our Google Arts & Culture Women in Culture hub for inspiring stories of female game changers from various fields and across the globe all year long or tune in all month to Google TV for movie, TV and music recommendations featuring collections, like brave women in unforgettable roles and women who've made Oscar history.
International Women’s Day gives us a chance to reflect on the progress that’s been made and we recognize there is still work to be done. Today, we’re hosting a global, virtual summit, open to all our employees, focused on community-building, professional development and celebrating the unique, intersectional aspects of our identities. As women have shown us time and again, they are changemakers, and we’ll continue to support them and show up for them in our workplace and in society.