Finland’s equality culture should serve as an example for mainstreaming female leadership in the tech sector, says Huawei

Huawei’s 3rd ‘Women in the Digital Era’ conference focuses on gender equality in Finland as a case study. Affordable childcare, generous parental leave policies and a general commitment to work-life balance allows women to participate fully in the workforce, even after becoming mothers, participants heard in a webinar on gender equality organized by Huawei EU today (18 June).

Learning from Finland was the subject of the third conference in Huawei’s “Women in the Digital Era” series – entitled “Building Equality the Finnish Way”. The Nordic country was held up as a fine example of a how gender equality has become a national value of which to be proud.

Abraham Liu

Abraham Liu

Huawei’s Chief Representative to the European Institutions, Abraham Liu (pictured), has repeatedly made clear that “for Huawei, closing the gender gap that exists in the digital sector and beyond is as necessary now as it was before the current pandemic. We treat it as a priority. Diversity is a core value of our workforce and culture.” The webinar consisted of a panel discussion involving Finnish MEP Henna Virkkunnen, Helsinki University Chancellor Kaarle Hämeri, European Commission Equality Task Force Member Lucia Klestincova and Katja Toropainen, founder of Inklusiiv, a Finnish non-profit association promoting diversity and inclusion.

The debate was moderated by Huawei Senior EU Public Affairs Manager Berta Herrero Huawei started this “Women in the Digital Era” cycle of conferences earlier this year, as part of the company’s #Huawei4Her campaign, which aims to give women a voice in a safe and comfortable atmosphere, and to promote female role models that can inspire other women and girls to take up tech-related careers. The first event was held in March to celebrate International Women’s Day, with speakers including Spanish MEP Lina Gálvez, Croatian cybersecurity expert Biljana Borzan, and the president of the organization Women Political Leaders, Silvana Koch-Mehrin.

The second conference was organized at the end of April in the form of a webinar, and heralded the importance of female leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic. The #Huawei4Her campaign is part of a long-term Huawei commitment to gender equality and women empowerment within the tech sector and society as a whole.

Henna Virkkunen MEP said: “The mindset of using not only 50% of talent but the full 100% is the key, also when building a successful digital era. Women need to be included. Digital solutions are needed in every sector and will be used by everyone. Therefore, it is vital that technical solutions are also made by people from different backgrounds.”

Lucia Klestincova, member of the Equality Task Force set up by European Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli, said: “Our collective experience of COVID-19 is another opportunity to recognize the importance of speeding up our women empowerment efforts. It is a chance to come out of this crisis as a more inclusive, sustainable and compassionate society. Enabling women’s access to tech careers is one of the essential ingredients to create this reality, using technology as leverage for advancing feminine leadership.”

Kaarle Hämeri, chancellor of Helsinki University, said: “Modern society relies on education and knowledge. Gender diversity leads to better science and society. When we use the expertise and capacity of every individual, it makes us more successful in building a better future. That is why we have to support women’s participation in STEM subjects.”

Katja Toropainen, founder, Inklusiiv said: “Based on research and data we already know that we have a lot to do in terms of gender equality and overall inclusivity in the technology industry globally. The positive side is that we also have a lot of solutions for this, and it’s proven that when we are ready to take more Diversity & Inclusion best practices into action, we can change things for the better. What the change requires is commitment and resources from all, but especially from technology leaders. When leaders are truly committed to this, that’s when things start changing.”

Berta Herrero, senior EU Public Affairs Manager, Huawei, said: “For change to happen, society as a whole has to believe in it: all of us, and not only women, need to want gender equality to be a reality rather than something we are just continuously striving for. In Huawei, both female and male executives and employees want this change to happen, and are actively looking for ways to promote female leadership at all levels and across all departments.”

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