The numbers of women working within the field of technology are not on an optimal level. In the EU, out of all the graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), only 13,1 percent are women. An even smaller number of women in the EU level are working as an ICT specialist, only 1,4 %.
Having women working within technology is more than just a numbers game – it’s an equality question as well. We within technology mean to design services and solutions to meet the needs of various users. However, the actual end result may not always be inclusive due to unconscious bias.
Let’s look at an example of using a touch-screen billboard in a shopping center to find your favorite store. As a woman, you might be shorter than the average man and thus unable to reach the search button at the top of the touch screen. A male-dominant design team may not think of height as a factor when planning the user interface. Their intention, of course, would not have been to exclude anyone – they just didn’t think of it. We don’t necessarily mean to exclude, but we accidentally do so. This is why we need gender-diverse ICT teams with the insight to design services and solutions for everyone. That is why it is so important to increase the number of women who work within the industry.
A progressive target is a strong message - TietoEVRY aims for 50/50 gender balance
TietoEVRY recently announced ambitious gender balance targets to reach a 50/50 gender balance by the year 2030. In practice, the actions we plan to take include setting measurable and transparent goals for gender balance per business area, identifying successors of both sexes for leadership positions and looking at our recruitment practices e.g. expanding the implementation of an anonymous gamified recruitment process. We also aim to increase development and mentoring initiatives for female leaders as well as awareness building across the organization including enforcing bias trainings.
There is a lot we can do to make the ICT industry more appealing to women, including highlighting the fact that not all positions are technical. I’ve personally enjoyed the flexibility and mobility of the industry, which are a great fit with my personal interests and family life. In my case, this means spending time with my small children and tending to horses at the stable.
Someone might say that setting a goal is one thing, but how you actually reach them is another thing entirely. We have even received some skeptical feedback internally saying we’ll never reach the goal and the situation will never change. I’d like to argue that by committing in a public way we become accountable. Being accountable and transparent is the foundation for sustainable change.
First we set a goal, then we work on it and monitor our progress. With firm determination, hard work and continuous monitoring, I believe we can make the shift to a more equal workforce within technology a reality. At the end of the day, this will enable us to provide our customers and society with an unbiased approach to designing services and solutions.
Ida Bohman Steenberg
Head of Sustainability