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Gender balance in ICT and the need for an urgent response

Twitter: @nokia

Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri's contribution to “State of Broadband report 2016” published by UN’s Broadband Commission. To read the full report, click here.

In September 2016, women are still under-represented in business, especially within the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. At Nokia, our ambition as a company is to have a gender balance that reflects the world around us and a workplace where both men and women have an equal opportunity to succeed in every function and at every level.

Whereas some companies talk about wanting 30% of their employees being women, we talk about reflecting the world we live in, which ultimately is approximately 50% men and 50% women. That is not something that we can make happen tomorrow, but any long-term aspiration short of that goal seems morally challenged.

ITU estimates that the overall global Internet user gender gap has actually widened

The barriers to get there - as reported by the World Economic Forum - are high and require the skills of policy-makers, the understanding of societies, and the commitment of leaders and managers to address them. Nokia is  committed to:

  • Challenge gender-based expectations for ICT roles and increase the number of women in R&D and sales;
  • Increase Nokia’s gender balance by enabling practices that ensure diversity among job candidates;
  • Foster a gender-neutral culture through training for leaders and managers, and transforming our processes and communications to ensure that they are gender-neutral and inclusive;
  • Build a long-term talent pipeline by helping to bring more girls into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM);
  • Bring the proportion of female leaders in every organization in line with the proportion of women in the workforce.

In the mobile sector, GSMA estimates that 200 million fewer women than men own a mobile phone.

To level the playing field for talented women in leadership development, Nokia is launching two career development programs for talented women, who will undergo one year’s Sponsorship, Mentoring, and Executive Coaching, sponsored by an Executive-level leader in their same organization (indeed, I am sponsoring one of the nominees myself). In this way, Nokia will create the female role models that others in the company can look up to. Mentoring and sponsorship is one of many steps Nokia is taking in the right direction. We need to take more steps though, and we need to take them more quickly.

Therefore I appreciate the work that the Broadband Commission is undertaking on this important topic, bringing together actors who can make a change. Indeed, we can start with making a difference first within our own organizations. As leaders, we can contribute to levelling the playing field for women in our respective organizations. So let’s invest the time and resources in mentoring and sponsoring high-potential women to ensure they fulfil their potential in rewarding leadership roles.

Download the full State of Broadband 2016 report here

Visit the website: Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokia using @ITU, @UNBBCOM and @Strong_Her with #ICT4SDG #SDGs #diversity #WomeninSTEM #StrongHer

Rajeev Suri

About Rajeev Suri

During his tenure as Nokia CEO, Rajeev transformed Nokia into a leading technology company for a world connected by 5G and shaped by increasing digitalization and automation. Under his leadership, Nokia acquired Alcatel-Lucent, successfully expanded into enterprise vertical markets, created a standalone software business, and engineered the return of the Nokia brand to mobile phones.

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