Enough Talk – We Can Do It! Reflections on International Women’s Day
Caroline Puygrenier, director of strategy & business development, connectivity, Interxion:
Over the past year in particular, there has been an uptick in conversations around elevating women in the technology, and more specifically, telco industries. However, despite the buzz around women in tech, women still only hold about 26 percent of professional computing roles today. It’s clear that while these discussions are critical for achieving greater diversity in the industry, they alone are not enough.
On International Women’s Day, we’re reminded to take a step back and think about the improvements we have made, but also consider what’s needed to convert these discussions into more meaningful progress towards greater gender equality in our industry.
The Importance of Joining Forces
Combining efforts with other telco industry leaders and working together is key for progressing meaningful, actionable discussion. Thankfully, a number of focus groups and speaking forums have formed, creating numerous platforms for individuals and organisations to amplify these broader conversations and collaborate on next steps and solutions. Joining these efforts is something that I personally have prioritised over the past year, and by association, proudly represent Interxion in these initiatives.
Last year, I spoke on a panel at Capacity Media’s 2019 Global Women in Telco & Tech event, in which we explored the state of gender diversity across the globe. Together we discussed strategies to achieve greater female participation in telco and close the gender pay gap for women in telco and tech. It made us realise how important it is for us as existing members of the industry to work to find ways to act on the conversations being had within the industry.
One way I’ve acted on these discussions is by joining a number of dedicated organisations, including Women in Telecoms and Technology (WiTT) and Women’s Tech Forum, that help educate women about the career opportunities available in the tech and telco space, and establish more speaking opportunities and workshops on this topic at industry events, respectively. There are a number of other like-minded organisations, such as TLA Women in Tech, working to increase gender balance and equality in tech that individuals and companies alike can get involved with as well.
Practice What You Preach
Being a part of these panels and women in tech groups allows me to put some of the ideas that have come out of industry conversations into motion. But, something we must constantly remind ourselves of on our quest for gender equality is ensuring that our way forward truly reflects equal representation. For example, ideas that come out of a panel on women in tech, consisting only of female participants, do not reflect a truly inclusive approach. If these discussions exclude the male community, then they won’t help long term goals of forging a gender equal world.
The same goes for achieving greater diversity across different ethnicities and age groups, too. The telco industry, historically lacking in diversity, faces the growing challenge of an aging (and predominantly white) workforce, and is therefore in dire need of young blood. Luckily, the industry’s evolution presents a huge opportunity to help it change. No longer is the telco industry just about communication through wired or even mobile phones. It has expanded to include cloud providers, OTT streaming services, and affects other big tech companies that we interact with daily, such as Facebook and Instagram. Who doesn’t want to work in an industry that is helping to advance today’s digital economy?
By taking more diverse perspectives into consideration, all parties can work together to make changes that promote equality and will make a difference.
Spreading these messages is important to me, as it provides me the opportunity to share how exciting working in telco actually is. This industry impacts so much of our every day – from videos on YouTube to content on our Twitter feeds – it is the backbone to the Internet as we know it today! I love being in a position to help influence the direction of the industry. Getting more involved lets me share my positive experience working in telco and hopefully helps inspire other women to join the industry as well.
If you’re interested in joining the telco industry and learning more about how our work at Interxion supports it, click here.