New Report: Perceptions of Power: Championing Female Leadership in Tech


The EQUALS global partnership for digital gender equality published a pilot study today entitled “Perceptions of Power: Championing Female Leadership in Tech.” The study examines how men and women in middle and senior management positions define leadership. This is critical as perceptions of power, and other factors, effect the gender gap in leadership. The study provides a roadmap and best practices to help promote and retain women in the mobile and tech industries, where they currently hold less than a quarter of leadership roles.

To promote and retain women in leadership roles in the mobile and tech industries, the report recommends that organisations:

  1.  Acknowledge a range of transformational leadership styles
  2. Provide incentives for individuals to develop effective leadership skills
  3. Develop mentorship and training programmes
  4. Increase research into and spread awareness of the factors affecting leadership equity and fairness.

“As one of the five co-founding partners of EQUALS, the GSMA has always had a very strong commitment to driving change on behalf of the mobile industry and realising the potential of women and girls in the digital space,” said Belinda Exelby, Head of International Relations at the GSMA and Chair of the EQUALS Steering Committee. “Companies and governments must take bold action now, because the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse all the progress that’s been made on gender equality.”

A total of 100 leaders in the mobile and technology industry responded to the survey; 80 were women and 20 were men. Of these leaders, 45% work in the tech industry, 30% in the mobile industry, and 25% report working for companies encompassing both the tech and mobile industries.

The study was unique for the ICTs/mobile sector and it was undertaken by GSMA and Oslo Metropolitan University within the framework of the EQUALS Global Partnership for Digital Gender Equality, and funded by Ernst and Young. The study further benefited from support and collaboration with the Women in Tech Initiative at UC Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania and University of Washington.