Microsoft is offering its partners a hefty discount on leadership programs for women in a bid to improve diversity in the local tech sector. 

Microsoft Australia has partnered with Women Rising, a career and leadership coaching program for women, to offer the course to internal employees and those of its partner network for $1200 less than the usual fee.

The six month program is designed to grow women’s confidence and leadership skills in the workplace and includes evidenced based positive psychology, neuroscience and behavioural studies, according to the website.

The class is typically priced at just under $2,000 but the Microsoft initiative will bring it down to $797 for its Australian partners.

According to a recent survey by Professionals Australia, women account for just 28 per cent of the workforce across the tech sector in Australia, compared with 45 per cent across other professional industries. In that survey, more than half of the women polled reported experiencing gender discrimination in the past three years.

Rachel Bondi, Chief Partner Officer at Microsoft said despite efforts to address the gender imbalance in recent years the percentage of female leaders in the Australian tech sector remains too low.

“Our goal is to radically change the face of the tech industry by both attracting and retaining female talent and promoting existing and upcoming female leaders. We know that our partners and other organisations across the sector are just as passionate about unlocking female talent within their own businesses. 

“We are thrilled with the uptake from across our partner ecosystem but there is still a great opportunity for both Partners and other businesses to get involved.”

The initial intake of the 2021 program begins in February and partners are encouraged to enrol now.

Michelle Markham, channel manager lead at Microsoft Australia recently completed the Women Rising program.

“It has changed my mindset, the way I look at leadership and most importantly it has made me realise what I am truly capable of as a female leader,” she said. “We know from other women at Microsoft who have completed the course that it significantly increased their career clarity and confidence, enabled them to become more authentic leaders, and improved their influence and impact by developing greater levels of grit, wellbeing and resilience.” 

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