Depending on who you are and what your story is, 'equality' can mean many things.

For women, it might mean being paid the same salary for doing the same job as their male colleague. However, if you're a woman living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, equality these days has simply been about receiving the legal right to drive a car, something many of us take for granted. For a working parent it could be knowing they have the opportunity to take time to care for their newborn child and still be able to return to a successful career. For my LGBTQ colleague, it's about the freedom to marry and have the same rights that my husband I have been so fortunate to have since we married in 2002.

As a female leader in the technology industry - an industry still globally dominated by caucasian males - equality for me means being treated with fairness, respect, and allowing me the same opportunities as my male colleagues.

On June 19, I had the pleasure of attending the Digital4Her conference organised by the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel. The conference brought together leaders from business, civil society, and academia to discuss the role of women in the digital sector.

Representing Salesforce at the conference, I am proud that as a technology leader, we are at the forefront of this debate. Equality is one of our core values, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also, because we believe business is the greatest catalyst for change. We want our workforce to represent our customer base and in our commitment to equality, we have implemented several measures to support the advancement of women in the workplace.

  • Equal pay for equal work: Two years ago, we made a commitment to ensure equal pay for equal work at Salesforce. Since then, we've conducted two global equal pay assessments, resulting in the company spending more than $8 million to address any unexplained differences in pay between men and women. And we will continue to monitor and review employee compensation on an ongoing basis.
  • Employee Resource Groups: Salesforce supports 10 employee resource groups, called Ohana Groups, to provide a community for underrepresented groups and their allies. The Women's Network is our oldest and largest Ohana Group globally with more than 6,000 members across 30 hubs. Founded in 2008, it includes volunteering and mentorship opportunities, and Women in Technology programmes.
  • The High Potential Leadership Programme: The programme aims to identify the future leaders of our business and provide them with additional mentoring and coaching to grow their careers. This programme led to a 37% increase in the number of women promoted in the UK last year.
  • Family support: Our policies around parental leave and flexible working are designed to give both men and women equal opportunity to spend time with their family and equal opportunity to return to work. For example, our Parental Leave Program enables both men and women to be the Primary Caregiver of their child with 26 weeks of parental leave.

One of the most important discussions and defining moments at the conference was the signing of the Declaration on gender-balanced organisational culture. Signed by executives of global technology companies, the Declaration is a commitment of their intent to drive gender balance, and provide equal opportunities within their companies.

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel also shared with attendees her “No woman No panel” campaign. Quite simply, for every panel or public event she is invited to, Commissioner Gabriel requests at least one other female panelist is invited. I love this personal commitment she has made to raise awareness on gender balance and I too make this commitment to my female peers.

There's still a long way to go until equality is achieved for all. At Salesforce, we would love to see more business leaders taking a strong stance on equality - it is a role all businesses can and should play. Through collaboration and partnership, there is a great opportunity for private and public sectors to shape a fairer society and a more inclusive workplace.

How are you driving the equality agenda in your business?