Accelerating Female Leadership in the Digital Economy: What Does the Data Tell Us?

Accelerating Female Leadership in the Digital Economy: What Does the Data Tell Us?

Start: Tuesday 8 December 2020 15:00

End: Tuesday 8 December 2020 17:00

Venue: Online Event

Register Here

In recent years, research has shown an increase in women’s leadership across different sectors but despite incremental progress, women continue to experience barriers and fewer opportunities for advancement than men, particularly in the ICT sector. Among leadership positions in the ICT industry, only 24% are held by women and according to data by the World Economic Forum, less than a third of female students choose to study higher education courses in subjects like maths and engineering, resulting in women being under-represented in STEM-related fields in general.

This event will serve to present key findings from EQUALS’ first joint pilot study on female leadership in the digital economy. It will provide recommendations for both policymakers and the private sector, including mobile network operators, around concrete actions to encourage the advancement of women among the digital economy’s leadership ranks. This study is unique to the tech and mobile sectors and it was undertaken by GSMA in collaboration with Oslo Metropolitan University, the WomeninTech Initiative at UC Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania and University of Washington and Ernst and Young within the framework of the EQUALS global partnership for digital gender equality.

Join the event, organised by the GSMA and the EQUALS global partnership for digital gender equality, to discuss concrete action steps to enable women’s full participation in the leadership of the digital economy.

Programme (15.00-17.00 CET)

15.00 – 15.10 Welcome and Introduction

Belinda Exelby, Chair, EQUALS Steering Committee

Daniel Pataki, Vice President, Policy and Regulation and Head of Europe, Russia and CIS, GSMA

15:10-15:25 Keynote Address

H.E. Andreana Atanasova, Deputy Minister, Information Technology and Communications, Republic of Bulgaria

15:25-15:45 Presentation of Key Research Findings 

Dr. George Anthony Giannoumis, Associate Professor, Oslo Metropolitan University

Tamara Dancheva, International Relations Manager, GSMA

Perceptions of Power: Championing Female Leadership in Tech (Download Now)

15:45-16:50 Panel Discussion and Q&A

Moderator: Doreen Bogdan Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau

Abir Al-Sahlani MEP (Renew Europe, SE)

Paul Mitchell, Senior Director, Technology Policy, Microsoft

Milena Harito Shteto, Chairman & CEO’s office, Orange

16.50-17:00 Conclusions

Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre


Andreana Atanasova

Deputy Minister of Transport, IT and Communications, Bulgaria

Andreana Atanasova holds a Master’s Degree in Telecommunications Engineering from the Technical University of Sofia. She has over 20 years of experience in the field of telecommunications and European affairs.

Andreana Atanasova has started her professional career in 1996 as a Chief Specialist at the State Communications Inspectorate where she supported the work of the Interinstitutional Committee on Radio Frequency Spectrum as Secretary of the Committee. From 1998 to 2000 she was an Expert at the Committee of Post and Telecommunications, and in the period 2000-2005 she consecutively held the positions of State Expert and Head of the Telecommunications Development Department at the Ministry of Transport and Communications. She was strongly engaged in the development of telecommunication sector policy and its periodic amendment, the harmonization of the national legislation with the EU legal framework.

She was Head of the European Integration Department and Acting Director of the European Integration and International Cooperation Directorate at the State Agency for Information Technology and Communications from 2005 to 2008. During this period she was responsible the organization and the coordination of the tasks and activities in the communications sector, concerning the accession of the Republic of Bulgaria to the EU as a full member.

As an Advisor to the Cabinet of the Communications Regulation Commission in 2008-2009, she participated in the first round of the electronic communications market analysis, as well as in the drafting of secondary legislation, regulatory instruments and decisions.

From 2009 to 2011, Andreana Atanasova was Director of the Communications Directorate at the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications. She was responsible for the policy in the field of electronic communications, drafting of the Electronic Communications Act, the Postal Services Act and other strategic documents and secondary legislation in the communications sector.

In the period 2011-2013 she was a Counsellor at the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Bulgaria in the EU on all issues related to communications and information society.

In 2014 Andreana Atanasova was appointed by the President of the Republic of Bulgaria as a Member of the Communications Regulation Commission with a five-year term.

On August 12, 2019 Andreana Atanasova was appointed as a Deputy Minister of Transport, IT and Communications responsible for information technology and communications.

Abir Al-Sahlani

Member of the European Parliament

Abir Al-Sahlani is a member of the European Parliament for the Swedish Center Party and also the Vice President of Liberal International. Equality and freedom are key political priorities of Abirs. She is a full member of the Committee of Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) and also a substitute member of the Committee of Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), and the Committee of Women’s rights and Gender Equality (FEMM).

Abir fled her home country of Iraq as a 15-yer old and came to Sweden and felt that she was welcomed with open arms. Today Abir lives with her husband and three children in Stockholm.

Abir believes in a better world and has the conviction that a society where both equality and freedom prevail is possible.

Doreen Bogdan-Martin

Director , ITU

Doreen Bogdan-Martin was elected Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau on the 1st of November 2018.  She took office on the 1st of January 2019.

She is a strategic leader with 30 years’ high-level experience in international and inter-governmental relations and a long history of success in policy and strategy development, analysis and execution. She has advised governments around the world on policy and regulatory issues, and is a regular presenter at high-level international forums and summits.

​Prior to her election, Ms Bogdan-Martin oversaw the organization’s Membership, Corporate Communications, External Affairs and UN Liaison teams, and was instrumental in establishing the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, on which she continues to serve as Executive Director.​

She was one of the principal architects of the annual Global Symposium for Regulators, directed ITU’s first global youth summit #BYND, oversees ITU’s contribution to the EQUALS Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age, and is leading ITU’s collaboration with UNICEF and others on the GIGA project to connect the world’s schools.

Prior to joining ITU, Ms Bogdan-Martin was a Telecommunications Policy Specialist in the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA), US Department of Commerce.

She holds a Master’s degree in International Communications Policy from American University in Washington, DC, post-graduate certification in Strategies for Leadership from the Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, and is certified in Accountability and Ethics by the United Nations Leaders Programme.

She is an affiliate of the Harvard University Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society, and a Generation Unlimited Champion. She serves on a number of advisory bodies, including the Geneva-Tsinghua Initiative, the SDG Lab Advisory Board, and the UN Technology Innovation Labs.  She is also an amateur radio operator.

​She is married with four children.

Pamela Coke-Hamilton

Executive Director, International Trade Center

Pamela Coke-Hamilton has served as Executive Director of the International Trade Centre since 1 October 2020. She joined ITC from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), where she was Director of the Division on International Trade and Commodities.

Ms. Coke-Hamilton has a breadth of experience and expertise in trade-related capacity-building and sustainable development. She served with the Jamaican Government, the Caribbean Forum in trade negotiations, and multilateral institutions, including the Organization of American States and InterAmerican Development Bank. She previously served as Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency, strengthening the private sector and micro, small and medium enterprises through investment promotion.

She has a deep understanding of the challenges faced by vulnerable economies such as the small island developing States and least developed countries. Ms. Coke-Hamilton has worked extensively with the private sector across African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and academia to build trade-related institutional strength within member States. She also established the Women Empowered through Export (WeXport) platform to address the disadvantages that women-owned firms experience in accessing markets.

Ms. Coke-Hamilton holds a Juris Doctor in Law from the Georgetown University School of Law in Washington, DC, and a BSc in International Relations and Economics from the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica.

Milena Harito Shteto

Chairman & CEO’s office, Orange

Mrs. Harito is an Information and Communications Technology engineer and a PhD from the Paris VI “Pierre et Marie Curie” University with a career in the private and public sector.

From 1997 to 2012 she held different research and managerial positions at ORANGE telecommunications operator on networks strategy, regulatory and innovation.

From September 2013 to September 2017 she was Albania’s Minister for Innovation and Public Administration where she led a large digital transformation of Albania’s Public Administration including the human resources merit-based recruitment and careers management, the standardization, simplification and digitalization of hundreds of public services and the adoption of the   legal framework focused in the European integration of Albania. In 2017-2018 she was the representative of the Prime Minister of Albania, in charge to put in place the cooperation agreements for the Regional Economic Area between the six Western Balkans countries.

Since 2019 she is the Sherpa of the Chairman and CEO of ORANGE.

Mrs Harito speaks currently four languages : French, Albanian, English and Italian.

Belinda Exelby

Head of International Relations, GSMA

Belinda has responsibility for managing GSMA’s relationships with international intergovernmental organisations, including the ITU and other UN agencies, the Broadband Commission, the World Bank and the OECD. The GSMA’s broad programme of engagement with these organisations promotes understanding of the mobile industry’s role in generating socio-economic benefit and achieving the SDGs, and stimulates productive dialogue about enabling policy and regulatory environments.

Belinda also manages the GSMA’s external policy and regulatory training programme on mobile technology and ICT-related topics. This portfolio includes the Capacity Building programme, which delivers free face-to-face and online training courses for governments and regulators worldwide, and GSMA Advance, a curriculum of training courses for mobile operators and other commercial organisations.

Belinda is a Board Director of the US Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI) and Chair of the Steering Committee of EQUALS.

Daniel Pataki

Vice President, Policy and Regulation & Head of Europe and CIS, GSMA

Daniel leads the GSMA’s global engagement on mobile-sector regulatory affairs. Under his direction, the GSMA is contributing new ideas and analysis to the global policy dialogue at a time when emerging digital technologies and widespread broadband connectivity are reshaping society and the economy.

Daniel also leads the GSMA activities in Europe, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). He is responsible for all Advocacy Initiatives (Public Policy, Spectrum, Mobile for Development, External Affairs), Strategic Engagement and Industry Programmes (Future Networks, Identity, Internet of Things) of the GSMA in the wider European region.

Daniel has a unique record of strategic input into Europe’s telecommunications policy agenda, having previously served as head of Hungary’s National Regulatory Authority, chair of the European Regulators Group (ERG, now BEREC) and chair of the European Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG). More recently, Daniel was Director General of the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ association (ETNO).

He holds a MSc in Economics from the Budapest University of Economics and a Postgraduate Diploma from a leading French institutional programme led by Ecole de Mines, Ecole des Ponts and Sciences-Po.

He was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of the Republic of Hungary in 2009 for his work in EU electronic communication regulation and the Order of Merit (Knight’s Cross) of the Republic of Hungary in 2005 for his work promoting the development of the information and communications technology sector.

Paul Mitchell

Senior Director, Internet Governance, Microsoft

In his twenty-nine years with Microsoft, Paul has held diverse roles spanning numerous products and technologies including Microsoft’s first C++ development system, the launch of MSN, Microsoft’s digital television platforms including Mediaroom (now owned by Ericsson), numerous media standards, digital rights management systems for content protection, and wireless technologies. Mr. Mitchell leads Microsoft’s engagement strategy with the International Telecommunication Union.

He holds seventeen issued US patents related to wireless communications. He led the team that developed Microsoft’s TV White Space trial programs with the goal of making Internet access possible for those that remain unconnected today, and he was
responsible for Microsoft’s spectrum observatory project – now transitioned to the University of Washington/National Science Foundation as an open platform for spectrum studies.

He serves as a Commissioner on the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development. He has previously served on the board of directors of as well as Vision TV and SVOX in Canada. He holds an MPA from, and is on the advisory board for, the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington.

Dr. Anthony Giannoumis

Associate Professor, Oslo Metropolitan University

Anthony is an action researcher that focuses on technology policy and practice. He is an internationally recognized expert in universal design of information and communication technology (ICT) and conducts state-of-the-art research on implementing universal design principles in practice. Anthony leads and participates in several large-scale research and innovation projects based in over 17 countries.

Anthony is an Associate Professor of Universal Design of ICT at the Department of Computer Science at Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet). He maintains several international appointments including at the Harvard Law School Project on Disability at Harvard Law School, the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, the Department of Science and Informatics at the University of Eduardo Mondlane, and the Department of Education at Roma Tre University. He works with the United Nations (UN) International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as the Vice Rapporteur for the subcommittee on ICT Accessibility and Access Coalition Liaison for EQUALS. He is founder and Chair of the Board for the Global Universal Design Commission Europe AS and MyGoverNext Oslo. He is a member of the board for the Global Universal Design Commission and the Gender Equality in Technology student organization. He has been a member of the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion and was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship as part of the DREAM research network.

Since 2014, Anthony has acted as a principal investigator for research and innovation projects with budgets totaling over nine million EUR. He maintains a 25% success rate in acquiring grants and external funding and has an average score of 10.7 out of 15 for proposals submitted to the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program. He has authored over 30 peer-reviewed academic publications in leading international journals. He has accrued over 79 citations. Anthony has taught over 2,300 students and supervised 19 Master theses and one Ph.D. dissertation. He has also mentored over 18 startups, half of which have been led by women.

Anthony has received awards from the UN, OsloMet, Cambridge University, and other foundations and associations. He regularly teaches courses and lectures around the world, appears frequently on national and international media, and maintains a strong presence on several social media platforms.

Tamara Dancheva

International Relations Manager, GSMA

For over a decade, Tamara Dancheva has worked in various roles in global organizations, with a primary focus on gender equality, human rights and international relations. In her current role as International Relations Manager within the External Affairs and Industry Purpose department at the GSMA, she is responsible for coordinating GSMA’s strategy across various gender initiatives in the digital space. She leads on several GSMA partnerships, including UN Women, the EQUALS global partnership for gender equality in the digital age and the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network. Additionally, Tamara has extensive experience in political party systems and democracy stemming from a previous role as Head of the Human Rights Programme for Liberal International. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business from Rockhurst University (Kansas City, MO, USA) and a Master’s Degree in Politics and Government in the European Union from the London School of Economics (London, UK).