IBM has been acknowledged as a world leader in its commitment to women. As the number of women entering the workforce has increased continually and dramatically over the past two decades, so has IBM's commitment to understanding their needs and providing services that make it possible for them to be productive while fulfilling family and personal obligations. The Advancement of Women is one of six global diversity imperatives at IBM.
IBM's philosophy on women derives from the corporate philosophy on workforce diversity. Diversity at IBM is defined to be all-inclusive, encompassing not just race, gender and physical abilities, but differences in culture, lifestyle, age, religion, economic status, sexual orientation and marital status. IBM views workforce diversity as founded on three pillars: equal opportunity, affirmative action, and work/life balancing programs. Equal opportunity is defined as nondiscrimination and non-harassment, while affirmative action is intended not to provide an advantage, but to eliminate disadvantage and provide all groups a level playing field on which to compete.