Taking action for diversity and inclusion with the Women Who Code program

Here at Ericsson, it’s a well-known belief that diversity and inclusion (D&I) are two of the most important pieces of our culture. We pride ourselves on the diverse, inclusive teams that drive our performance and innovation — which is precisely what prompted our Finland office to take action for D&I with the Women Who Code program (known locally as #mimmitkoodaa).

The Finnish Software and E-business Association's Women Who Code program is dedicated to helping more women understand some of today’s more important computer software. Their aim is to increase equality and diversity within the software industry by working in partnership with other companies to provide workshops free of charge to women who don’t have previous experience in coding, those who are interested in our industry, or those who simply want to gain a deeper understanding of various software. This outstanding program has seen a lot of success since its beginning in 2018 and was even recognized by the EU as one of the most important European equality projects of 2019. Today, Women Who Code has accumulated a community of over 5,000 women in Finland — truly remarkable.

A great opportunity — getting involved

As Ericsson, we strive to make learning a natural part of our daily lives by supporting and inspiring our people to find new opportunities for gaining and sharing knowledge. This, in fact, is the same drive behind those volunteers and organizers of the Women Who Code program. By taking part in the program as volunteers to share our professional knowledge, we had the opportunity to give back to society and represent the same culture we foster here at the company. As you might imagine, we had no difficulty attracting volunteers to this important cause. And, for those workshops still upcoming, many of my colleagues have already stepped forward, promising to share their knowledge of C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Python, Unity, Robot Framework, basic web development, cybersecurity, and much more. From all of the valuable topics, we have decided to narrow them down to these three workshops, which we’ve scheduled for 2020:

The Women Who Code 2020 program launch

On February 14 — Valentine’s Day — the Finnish Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo commenced this year’s Women Who Code 2020 with an opening word, where she expressed that, without the help of such programs and other entrance opportunities for women in the sector, “There is a danger that the views of half of humanity will be overlooked.” It was encouraging to recognize that the goal of the program was to combat exactly this, and it made for an enjoyable and meaningful day ahead of us in attendance. Following her opening remarks, the day included numerous inspirational talks from both women and men, and our very own Head of Security Assurance here in Finland, Connie McIntosh, gave a speech encouraging women to take a look at our company and what we’re doing together as well as to consider joining our family of change-driving professionals. In her very open and encouraging speech, Connie shared what it really is to be part of our Ericsson family, showing pictures of our past year for all to see.

In the breaks during the day, those in attendance had the chance to visit our stand, where we could tell them more about the company in general, about the workshops we have planned, and about the career possibilities we enjoy here at Ericsson. We also told each of them about the opportunity to take part in a coding competition we were holding onsite.

All in all, the launch really was a great success, and there were some really great comments from our people, including the following:

“The atmosphere was so joyous and vibrant, and the participants were really eager to speak to us and engage in some great conversations! We also had a few willing participants join the coding challenge, and they were smiling the whole time, which was great to see.”

“During the event, I saw lots of passionate faces who were interested in becoming professional coders as well as interested in the company. What a wonderful event, and the feeling of being part of an opportunity to help people realize their dreams was amazing!”

“The event was very cheerful, and everyone displayed an open and supportive attitude. We had many discussions with the women who stopped by our stand, from general, industry-related topics to our sports clubs. It was really nice to see how interested the participants were about our company and about the workshops we have planned for the spring.”

What’s next?

Today, we have the task of making the many plans we have surrounding this topic become reality, arranging the planned workshops for the women during this year. If everything goes well, we might even arrange some more workshops later on — there is certainly a long list of topics to choose from already.

As Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc., once said, “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.” With that in mind, let’s continue to take concrete actions together so that this can happen at every workplace!

Are you interested in joining the Ericsson family? Check out the many open positions we have here, and be sure to stay up to date on our latest D&I news, initiatives, and events.


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