Ericsson is strongly committed to promoting gender diversity in our industry. While ICT offers potentially vast numbers of opportunities for women, the amount of women studying or working in the field is relatively low. Girls in ICT Day is one way to introduce girls and young women to the ICT sector and get them interested in technology careers.
Girls in ICT Day – a global ITU (International Telecommunication Union) initiative, now in its sixth year – is designed to raise awareness of how to empower and encourage girls and young women to consider studies and careers in ICT. In previous years, thousands of activities have been arranged for girls and young women in 140 countries around the world.
Maria Angelica Perez, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Group Function Human Resources, says: "Gender diversity is a key focus of our own organizational strategy, and we have set a goal of women making up at least 30 percent of our workforce by 2020."
But our commitment to the issue goes well beyond our own workforce. Through our sustainability and corporate responsibility efforts, we support a range of programs around the world designed to improve diversity and inclusion.
These programs include working with initiatives like TechWomen; celebrating International Women’s Day; encouraging male employees to sign the United Nations HeForShe pledge; participating in the Broadband Commission for Digital Development’s Working Group on Broadband and Gender; and several others (all of which you can read about in the Technology for Good – Ericsson Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Report 2014 released on April 14).
On Girls in ICT Day, we will also kick off activities to support YouTube’s #DearMe campaign, in which our female employees can upload their own "Dear Me" video of wisdom and advice for their younger selves. These videos and testimonials will be shared on the EricssonCareers Facebook page.
"We are proud to be involved on so many fronts," Perez says. "And we do it because we firmly believe that when workforces are diverse and more representative of their broader community, it’s not only better for women, but also for society, industries and individual businesses."
All Ericsson regions are encouraged to get involved in Girls in ICT Day by reaching out to schools, universities and individual students, for example. The range of potential activities includes demonstrations, hands-on activities, panel discussions and career fairs. Through our work, we can help to change attitudes and let girls and young women know what career paths are open to them in the dynamic and ever-changing ICT industry.
- Ericsson has celebrated Girls in ICT Day since it was first celebrated in 2010.
- Girls in ICT Day takes place on the fourth Thursday in April every year.
- So far, across the ICT industry, more than 111,000 girls and young women have taken part in more than 3,500 Girls in ICT Day events in 140 countries around the world.
- Currently, 22 percent of Ericsson’s workforce is female. We’re working to raise that to 30 percent by 2020.
- Women were more prominent in the early days of ICT – the original programmers of the US Government’s first ever computer, ENIAC (Electronic Integrator and Computer), were women, and in the US in the 1980s, women were awarded 37 percent of all computer science degrees. That figure has now fallen below 20 percent.
- While teenage girls now use computers and the internet at rates similar to boys, they are five times less likely to consider a technology-related career.
- According to European Union calculations, in 10 years’ time there will be 700,000 more ICT jobs in the region than there are professionals to fill them; globally, that shortfall is estimated to be close to two million.
- According to an ITU report in the Asia Pacific region alone, restricting job opportunities for women is costing the region between USD 42 and USD 46 billion a year.
- YouTube launched the #DearMe campaign for this year’s International Women’s Day, asking women to upload a video inspired by the question "What advice would you give your younger self?"