Today marks International Women’s Day, a 24-hour period dedicated to celebrating women’s accomplishments globally and across the political, cultural, social and economic sectors. Gender equality in the workplace is a huge continuing focal point of this day and feminism in general, with progress evident but the end goal still being worked towards.
Whilst the proportion of women who are employed has increased to 47% across all job sectors in the US, women still only represent 14% of software engineering jobs and 25% of computer science-related jobs. In the UK, this is arguably similar, with only 19% of tech jobs being filled by women. However, the tide is changing, according to data from the National Science Foundation, more women than ever are taking STEM degrees – with women nearly equalling men in science and engineering degree qualifications.
It is evident, whilst progress is being made, improvements still need to be made to reach gender parity in the telecom and tech industries. These changes need to start at a company-level from entry-level hiring, to promoting women into more senior leadership roles.
What do we do to achieve gender equality at LoopUp?
Here, at LoopUp, we strive for gender equality in everything we do, there is a continual focus on increasing diversity and investing in its people, creating an environment where everyone can reach their full potential. The business is striving to constantly improve gender diversity through different procedures and programmes. Our current hiring process is such that there is 50.4% female representation, nurturing women into senior technical roles.
The Silicon Valley Internship Programme (SVIP) is just one example of these programmes, SVIP was founded by LoopUp’s Co-CEO Michael Hughes in 2013. Operating across 35+ countries, the aim of the programme is to expose some of the most talented young people around the world to the tools, experiences and network they need to flourish in the tech industry.
Nurturing and developing female talent is also important for LoopUp, therefore, we would like to highlight some successful women in the business:
Nicoletta D’Elia is a Senior Product Manager at LoopUp. She started her career at the company as an SVIP graduate – “I joined LoopUp in 2015 as an intern in the San Francisco office as part the SVIP Programme. My interest for the most technical issues that customers were reporting and the exposure to the very talented engineering team in San Francisco led me to pursue a position as QA Engineer, where I was able to get more and more familiar with the product as well as the processes that made change possible. Since the beginning though, I had always hoped one day to be involved in the planning and designing on those changes and so I was delighted when last September I had the opportunity to move to the Product team as a Product Manager for the London engineering team.”
Dejà Cespedes is a Product Manager at LoopUp. She is a SVIP graduate that started working full-time at LoopUp – “I’ve worked in tech for my whole career, this is the first role I’ve ever had where I’ve been part of such a female heavy team, and not in my peers, but at a senior management level. It was the first thing I noticed joining LoopUp as I’d never had a female manager before. The whole experience has given me something to aspire to, not for my own ambitions, but because representation in technology is important, and I want to be a part of the movement that normalizes women in senior technical roles.”
LoopUp recently hired Jo Sims as a Senior Director in Projects & Delivery – “I admire and I am so very proud of every woman making their way in technology. It was a very male-dominated arena stepping into telecoms over 20 years ago … I felt like I not only needed to match up to my male counterparts but had to be better than them to prove capable and earn their respect. But after all, is said and done I would not change a thing … I loved the challenge! I love the industry and would welcome a chat with any female looking to make the same steps.”
We are saddened by Lady Barbara Judge’s recent passing and we would like to preserve her memory by highlighting our late Chairman of the Board’s advocacy for women’s rights. Her career spanned law, banking, regulation and nuclear industry. Above all, she liked to use her skills and personal warmth to bring people together and encourage particularly younger women to aspire to greater heights.
Today, of all days, it is important to celebrate the progress but also the long road ahead for the telecom and tech industries to reach gender equality. The progress needs to happen in every company, and we should remind ourselves that gender diversity generates better companies, higher quality products and more innovative industries. Any business or industry will be much stronger if it’s built on a diverse set of ideas, experiences and backgrounds.