Huawei Board Director and Corporate Senior Vice President Catherine Chen (pictured) spoke to the 2020 Web Summit in Lisbon about her 26 years working in the tech industry and her personal journey to the top of Huawei.
Chen said that we needed more female leaders, exemplifying not only the strength of women but also a unique and innovative power that will drive the digital economy forward.
“Gender equality is not about women and men sharing the same mindsets and behaviour. Rather, it's about equal opportunities and rights, which can only come from a more inclusive, diverse and healthy society,” she told the summit, held online on 3 December.
Women account for almost half of the world's five billion working population, but only around half of them participate in the labour force. “In the Digital Age, we do not only need more women represented in the industry, we also need women leaders,” she pointed out.
Read more of what she said at the 2020 Web Summit in this report of The Irish Times.
Can women thrive in male-dominated environments?
At Huawei, the answer is a resounding yes!
Bridging both the gender and the urban-rural gap
Connectivity is now, in essence, a basic right that can help unlock other basic rights across the EU. After all, Europe’s villages are the heart of our continent. So let 2021 be The Year of European Rural Connectivity, as ensuring network access for all citizens will make the European Union stronger, more united, and more resilient.
Berta Herrero, Huawei’s Senior EU Public Affairs Manager, explains how connectivity can help bridge the double divide: the gap in network access that exists between cities and the countryside, as well as the gap that prevents society from harnessing the full potential of female talent.
For further information on bridging the rural gender gap, catch up with the Women in the Digital Era conference on Rural Connectivity held in Portugal on 11 December 2020, which Berta addressed.
Also check out the report by the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, Closing the digital gender gap: women’s participation in the digital economy.
Rapporteur: Maria da Graça Carvalho MEP
Women are still less likely to work or be skilled in ICT
New data collected by the European Commission’s Women in Digital Scoreboard shows that women are less likely than men to have specialist digital skills and work in the digital technology field.
Only when we look at basic digital skills has the gender gap narrowed - from 10.5% in 2015 to 7.7% in 2019.
“Women's contribution to Europe's digital economy is crucial,” said Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager.
“The Scoreboard shows that only 18% of information and communications technology specialists in the EU are women. So we still have to do more to ensure that the next Ada Lovelace is given the opportunities she rightly deserves.”
The European Commission aims to address these shortcomings through a five-year action plan presented in connection with the European Skills Agenda.
Meanwhile, the Commission has also incorporated an inclusive strategy addressing gender equality in its coronavirus recovery plan. The effect of the pandemic on the economy is thought to have widened the gender gap in areas such as employment and pay.
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