This panel looked at how to better nurture female talent and address the leadership gender gap in the mobile phone and technology industries. This is a key topic because, as was pointed out, in the vast majority of countries in the world, the proportion of female members of company board do not make double figures.
Sponsored by Accenture and moderated by Michele Merrell, Senior Director of Global Marketing and Communications, Brightstar, discussing the issue on the top table were Anne Bouverot, Executive Vice President, Personal LoB and Group Devices, Orange; Caroline Firstbrook, Managing Director, Strategy – Europe, Middle East, Latin America and Africa, Accenture; Jasna Matic, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Society, Serbia; Julie Meyer, CEO Ariadne Capital, BBC Online Dragon, Co-Founder First Tuesday and named as one of the Wall Street Journal’s Top 30 Most Influential Women in Europe; Susan Vinnicombe OBE, MA PhD MCIM FRSA, Director of Organisation Behaviour and Women’s Leadership Development, Cranfield University.
The panellists discussed what a huge unused resource the lack of women in the mobile and technology industries represents. The discouragement women receive from a young age to study traditionally male subjects such as maths and science was mentioned again and again. Questions from the floor discussed whether women should be enabled to have it all i.e. a leadership career and a family, or should we revise our expectations and allow women to choose and not berate them for their choice? A key theme that was debated was whether women should try to progress in large organisations and contribute to changing the gender status quo there or if they should set up their own businesses instead in order to set their own rules.
The topics discussed were clearly close to the hearts of those attending and we believe they will be to those reading this too. What do you think? How can we close the female leadership gap in the mobile and technology industries? Why do you think we should try? Share your thoughts in our discussion forum here.