The Gender Reset
Published on 29/11/2021Diverse and inclusive European talent. Keystones for a better society
Our vision of diversity, inclusion and talent is aligned with the European Commission’s commitment to achieving a gender-equal Europe by 2025. It is also what makes this programme so dynamic and compelling. Efforts to invest in and support female talent are ongoing, and day two of the Summer School opened the conversation with Luisa Ribeiro Lopes, Chair of the Board of Directors, PT and General Coordinator of INCoDe.2030. Luisa set the tone by looking at female students that might currently be wondering what the future holds. Will they be successful entrepreneurs? Will they need to learn new skills for the future of work? "It's necessary to stimulate several skills, namely the digital transition based on the promotion of gender equality, to increase women’s participation in this area," said Luísa. With a special emphasis on gender inclusion, she believes that Digital Inclusion is the keystone for Social Inclusion.
How can technologies foster and promote social inclusion?
Majka Lipiak brought some great examples to the panel “Beyond Equality: Talking Diversity”. As CEO of a social enterprise called ‘Work from Bed’, she shared some powerful stories to show why employers need to understand the value of employing people with disabilities. “We need to offer a future for people with disabilities, their life changes after being part of a company”.
How can we be more inclusive and give everyone the same opportunities?
Manuela Prina, Head of Skills Identification and Development Unit at the European Training Foundation, pointed out that we need to understand and recognise talent: "Acknowledging, discovering, supporting talent is most needed. Organisations need to have this goal in mind. The point is we need to create the space to bring new and diverse talent to our companies". Creating and sustaining inclusive workplaces is also important. Magic Magid, Founder & Director, Union of Justice and Former Member of the European Parliament, contributed to this further by talking about race and discrimination: "You can't legislate empathy, you can't legislate love or compassion, that's why education is one of the main ways we can tackle racism and discrimination". Monica Carco’, International Development and Gender Expert, advised: “when you find yourself in a situation with new diversities, don't ask questions, listen”. Belinda Parmar, CEO and founder of The Empathy Business, confirmed that Tech companies perform better when focusing and valuing empathy and empathisers, because it can reduce stress and build more positive relationships. And the good news is that everyone can learn to be more empathic. She explained that empathy and emotional intelligence are essential in the corporate game: "Bringing empathy to your company increases your motivation, as well as the motivation of your colleagues, and builds trust, leading to a better work culture, more collaboration and improved productivity", said Belinda.
Aleksandra Przegalinska, Associate Professor at Kozminski University in Poland, guided us in an inspirational session on how Technologies can challenge our views. She explained that this new collaborative society might be characterised as a series of services and startups that enable peer-to-peer exchanges and interactions through technology, and by doing so, digital technologies can promote greater workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion. To achieve these goals, more women need to join the 'techforce’. “Some people think that economic aspects of the new collaboration have the potential to make society more equitable; others see collaborative communities based on sharing as a cover for social injustice and user exploitation”, said Przegalinska. “Humans are hard-wired for collaboration, and new communication technologies act as a super-amplifier of our natural collaborative mindset, but we have to include gender perspectives and diversity in order to create a more inclusive future”, explained Przegalinska.
Rui Aguiar, Professor at Universidade de Aveiro shared his views on the power of social media, the digital divide and how to optimise technology to solve real world problems. According to Professor Aguiar, “as a new online ecosystememerges, businesses and people across industries are faced with uncertainty. This is the digital world we are building, and we should be aware of the tremendous power of social media". The proliferation of digital technologies has created unprecedented opportunities for expression and interaction among leaders, activists and marginalised groups. Digital technologies have made possible many social movements and, given previously excluded people a voice.
During the afternoon, we attended a Coding Masterclass with Escola 42, one of the world’s most renowned coding schools. Its practical approach, based on peer-to-peer collaboration, provided both excellent technical training and the development of valuable Tech skills, such as learning how to code in Python. Following this kick start, our students jumped straight into the practical group work, developing a business idea around the concept of 'Leave No-One Behind'. Guided by their mentor, Beatriz Becerra, the groups had to meet three criteria: the project should be Actionable, Transferable and Sustainable.
Those criteria could not be more fitting to describe the Quinta de Sant’Ana business approach. This family-run, sustainable vineyard, situated in the rolling hills of the Saloio region in the Portuguese countryside, hosted us for the evening. Where there is a will there's a way. This is certainly true for the owner, Ann Frost. She took us through her entrepreneurial journey as a winemaker and floriculturist. She inherited the vineyard and found innovative ways to unlock nature’s potential and use the land to develop new and sustainable business opportunities.
Innovation is the driver of progress. However, empowerment, having a voice in society, access to employment, and the tools to participate in social life are becoming challenging. With vision, talent and purpose, we can build more inclusive societies and the day’s debates touched on these topics and the need to diversify talent. From local to global, the third day of our Summer School examined the importance of leading with the purpose of creating a sustainable and more inclusive world. Already curious? Stay tuned to hear first-hand experiences from women and men on the frontline and learn how we can overcome difficult situations.
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The Summer School for Female Leadership in the Digital Age of the European Leadership Academy is part of HUAWEI’s broader initiative Seeds for the Future. It represents the company’s continued commitment to digital inclusion. We want to close the gender gap and empower women to lead us into the digital future.