Women in tech 2018: Female leaders video panel on STEM

Two important Women in Tech events taking place in the next few weeks in the run up to International Women’s Day, March 8th 2018 will help raise current issues impacting the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) pipeline. Our Ericsson Digital video panel moderated by renowned Data Scientist, Lillian Pierson, talks to female leaders in Ericsson about their experiences and they share golden nuggets of advice they wish they were told when starting out in their Women in Technology roles.

Wonder Woman Tech

It's January 26th 2018, and today, in Washington D.C. leaders gather to attend a global summit called ‘Wonder Woman Tech’. Wonder Women Tech’s mission is to highlight, celebrate and educate women and the underrepresented in STEAM industries (they include Art as a fifth discipline).

The organization seeks to ‘disrupt the conference model’ and create a shift in diversity and inclusion within STEAM industries by offering revolutionary content and impactful discussions that will further the development of women, girls and the underrepresented as innovators. In addtion, stay tuned for local events in your area such as the Women Leaders Association on the 2nd March, which will include keynote presentations, workshops and a panel with women in leadership, both in and beyond the corporate landscape.

As we approach the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona (February 26 – March 2), we look forward to another serious effort from the Telco industry how to address some of the barriers to success for female leaders, and how more technology companies can help drive this initiative in our industry.

We will be live broadcasting from MWC18 and we will bring you highlights and reflections from the Women4Tech Program. See below an infograph on how many attendees were female and took part in the MWC17. In this blog, we share with you a panel debate with senior female leaders in Ericsson where they openly share their educational background, advice to their younger selves and what it is like to be a senior leader in an industry shaping a mobile revolution.

Women 4 tech at MWC 2017


Do we still have an issue?

According to a 2016 Marketwatch study of over 21,000 students Middle-school girls appear to be better at STEM than middle-school boys: 45% of the girls were proficient at using their skills to solve real-world technology and engineering scenarios, compared with 42% of the boys. However, by the time they are teenagers, a small share of girls plan to pursue a career in STEM: Just 11% of teenage girls said they expect to go into STEM, according to a survey published earlier this year by Junior Achievement, a youth-focused nonprofit, and consulting firm EY. That’s compared with 36% of teenage boys.


So how can we keep the Women in Tech pipeline healthy?

We see countless initiatives to either increase the funnel (Girls in ICT) and to expand the number of women in leadership positions such as a 2012 successful multi-country approach in Sweden called ‘Battle of the numbers.’ Ericsson supports the UN Sustainable Development Goal #5 to achieve gender equality. To do so, we focus on increasing gender diversity. Our 2020 gender diversity aim is for 30% of all employees to be female, including leaders and executives. In 2016, 23% of Ericsson employees were female. 2017 figures are not yet available.

For women in tech 2018—those working in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) jobs, the workplace is a different, sometimes more hostile environment than the one their male coworkers experience. We have seen recently media focus around Tech Giants Google and Microsoft on how they handled the implications of #MeToo backlash in the Tech industry.

Google created controversy when it fired a staffer for his views that women were less biologically built for tech. Google CEO Sundar Pichai is quoted as stating in an internal memo: "To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK."

Meanwhile, Microsoft were accused of taking the PR route in declaring it would have a pledge to transparently expose sexual harassment at work. Will be interesting to watch this space to see what other initiatives are recommended to make Technology careers more appealing to females.


2017: 5% of Fortune 500 companies have Female CEOs

Meanwhile, four decades on from the first female CEO, the late Katherine Graham, making the Fortune 500 list in 1972—we have 5% of Female CEO eligible for that same list. This represents 27 women heading major firms.


Is this sufficient progress?

Recently we invited some technology thought leaders for an exclusive behind the scenes tour of Ericsson Digital Services, click on the video below to hear a 'Women in Tech 2018' panel led by staunch advocate for Women in Tech, Data Scientist, Lillian Pierson (twitter: @BigDataGal, Linked In: Lillian Pierson).

Women in tech

From right to left in the picture female leaders in Ericsson:

  • Eva Hedfors: Head of Marketing & Communications, Ericsson Digital Services, Eva shared her excitement about being the Head of Marketing and Communications for Business Area Digital Services and being responsible for bringing the latest digital technologies to our customers.
  • Rossella Frasso: Head of VNF Development Center Multimedia Telephony Application Server describes how cool it is to work on the latest innovations and on making your smart phone more intelligent.
  • Rebecka Cedering Ångström: Consumer and Industry Lab, Ericsson Research, works on developing insights at the cutting edge of emerging technology. She focuses on ethics, privacy and security issues and on making sure both our customers and our strategy teams know what's next for consumer trends.
  • Dr. Azimeh Sefidcon, Research Director Cloud Technologies, Ericsson Research. Azimeh shares how much fun she has at work, always daring herself to think of something new, never before invented. She looks at the way the cloud is evolving and how to make sure what we are working on for our customers is future proof and compatible.


What do you think are the main challenges? Please leave your comments below and share your thoughts on social media.

Ericsson champions Diversity :

Other noteworthy articles:

Related link: International Women’s Day, March 8th

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