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International Women’s Day 2022 – gender equality


Once I shared my goals with Caroline, my coach, I waited for her response. I expected her to say something about priorities, work-life balance, etc. But the words she spoke were much more insightful. She said, “But Emma, ​​how about doing none of that?”

His suggestion made me feel a sense of panic and relief simultaneously. I was relieved that I didn’t have to do all that grueling, relentless self-improvement work; but also freaking out that I would go against the advice I had heard for many years, which went like this:

  • Women are not good at networking, so you better get out there.
  • Women don’t negotiate their salary, so you need to mobilize.
  • Women in leadership positions have impostor syndrome, so you better boost your confidence.

etc You get the point.

It got me thinking about how we approach gender equity in the corporate world and some of the unintended consequences of our well-intentioned actions.

never good enough

I realized that in our efforts to equip women (and other underrepresented groups) with the tools to succeed, we risked reinforcing the message that they are somehow inadequate. By focusing too much of our attention on improving the skills of women and underrepresented groups, we risk creating a “if only you could network better, be a tougher negotiator, or have more confidence, you would be successful” narrative. , rather than “if only we could strengthen our ability to value difference, you would succeed.”

After all, women are neither better nor worse than men when it comes to networking. However, in general, they have fewer opportunities to network and therefore tend to network around stronger, long-term relationships with others rather than relationships that provide immediate value. On reflection, that sounds pretty good. And imagine the power of combining these different types of networks into a leadership team.

Recent research has also revealed that women negotiate as often as men, but achieve less favorable results. So, again, the answer is not necessarily to make women better negotiators, but rather to rethink how we set pay and compensation. This is why the CEO of Reddit is currently experimenting with a total ban on salary negotiations.

And it turns out that men and women are equally susceptible to impostor syndrome, so maybe a bit of self-doubt is part of being responsible for something meaningful rather than a uniquely female defect.

My conclusion here is not that as women we shouldn’t worry about developing important skills or learning continuously. In fact, we have great programs at Ericsson focused on exactly that. Rather it should be a choice we make from a position of strength and abundance, rather than lack. The programs we create at Ericsson correct the barriers of society, not the deficiencies of individuals.

That’s why, at Ericsson, we focus on understanding the changes we need to make to our systems and culture, to better appreciate the different skills and perspectives of our colleagues. This includes our company-wide cultural transformation program and five focus areas: empathy and humanity, so we can better appreciate everyone’s needs and experiences; express yourself – making sure to create a space for people to share their different points of view; courageous, fact-based decision-making, so that we examine the real rather than the supposed causes of gender inequality; cooperation and collaboration—to build diverse, high-performing teams; and execute quickly, to accelerate the pace of change.

Awareness and not discouragement

Another issue is that in raising awareness of the challenges women face in the corporate world and the tech sector, we must not leave women wondering “why should I work here? »

Incredible work has been done by so many academics and researchers on the less favorable treatment women receive in the corporate sphere. This is extremely important, and we must continue to test our organizations, be transparent about weaknesses in our systems and cultures, and address them.

But we also need to recognize the fact that women have made and continue to make incredible contributions to science, technology and innovation, so as not to give the impression that the odds are so stacked against us that it not even worth trying.

For me, International Women’s Day is about putting women back in history to demonstrate the exciting and impactful careers we’ve had in the tech industry. From Hilda Ericsson, who was central to the creation of the company I work for today, to modern day pioneers like Dame Stephanie Shirley who in the 1960s started her own engineering company employing a very particular group of untapped talents – mothers – and went on to sell the company for $3 billion several years later. And let’s not forget the many other amazing women who often go unmentioned, like my mother in the 1970s, who as a woman made up the majority of the workforce at the very practical end of the world. he telecommunications industry, managing telephone exchanges at the time, connection was a manual task.

I hope you’ll take a moment to watch the video above which showcases some of the incredible women who make up our team here at Ericsson. I really want women considering a career in tech to know that people like us have great careers in places like this.

Towards a better and more authentic future

I will honor International Women’s Day this year by reflecting on the advice Caroline gave me: that I am not here to catch up, but to build on a solid foundation. I know there are still a lot of challenges for women in the workplace, but I have so many more role models in the business world than my mother’s generation had, and the next generation will even more. This progress will be made possible by recognizing women and rewriting us in the history books as well as changing organizational processes and cultures to better honor difference.

Research: Women ask for raises as often as men, but are less likely to get them

Reddit CEO Bans Salary Negotiations

Stop telling women they have impostor syndrome

Pioneering women in British technology: Dame Steve Shirley