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You want to move the Gender Balance needle in STEM? Involve men!

Twitter: @bhfrench

Today is International Women’s Day - the perfect day to remind ourselves of the priority we place on diversity and to reemphasize our objective to foster a gender-balanced workforce in Nokia and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers.  What’s more, it is a day to focus on the practical steps we can undertake, now, to create the change we wish to see. In Nokia, we believe in diversity and inclusion. We value and respect the differences each of us bring to our company and, by extension, to our customers and shareholders. The gender balance we aspire to achieve, as our CEO Rajeev Suri shared with the UN Broadband Commission is one that reflects the world we live in: approximately 50% men and 50% women. Sure, we may not be able to achieve this balance immediately. What we can do, is act immediately to move the needle. We can work today to attain this long-term aspiration of balance.  Frankly, aiming for anything less doesn’t make sense.

 McKinsey and Lean In research indicates that industries have a long way to go in Gender Balance.  While strong CEO engagement is mandatory, it is not sufficient to cascade sustainable change through an organization. In Nokia, men represent 78% of our employees – and as stated by the European Commission, “More attention should be paid to how men are involved in the achievement of gender equality.”

In 2016, 1900+ Nokia leaders and managers,  a majority of men, were given training on Gender Balance and Unconscious Bias. Participants left with the mission to become agents of change in our company armed with best practices, which they could immediately implement with their teams.

I’ve been amazed by the buy-in and creativity this topic has generated in our company. I’ll share two examples, which stood out among many:

  • A leader from Germany ran a ‘reverse mentoring’ initiative across his organization, gathering 13 pairs of mentors and mentees who were then charged to assemble a list of concrete actions to implement Gender Balance in their working environment.
  • The StrongHer employee network, a gathering of 1,500 employees, 22% of whom are men, across 60 countries, was selected by the ITU as an example of how to bridge the gender digital divide in corporations in 2016. Today, the StrongHer network is organizing events around the world to celebrate International Women’s Day.

We are already witnessing steps in the right direction, and we are proud to share that the percentage of women in Nokia, among Nokia managers and leaders, has increased by 2 points since the end of 2015. Concrete actions. Concrete results. More must be, can be, and will be done to realize our long-term gender balance objective at Nokia.  Every short-term success is a step toward getting us there.

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokia using @UNBBCOM @ITU and @Strong_Her with #ICT4SDG #SDGs #diversity #WomeninSTEM #StrongHer #beboldforchange #IWD2017

Barry French

About Barry French

Barry French is Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Nokia. Areas of responsibilities include: heading marketing, communications, industry analyst and government relations, regulatory affairs, and corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

Tweet me @bhfrench.

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