Perceptions of Power: Championing Female Leadership in the Digital Age

Date: 4 August 2021
Time: 12:00-15:40 CET / 11:00-14:40 o’clock BST
Place: Virtual (Zoom)

About the event

As the 2020 Report of the United Nations Secretary General on Progress Towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) makes clear, none of the SDGs can be fulfilled until SDG5 (Gender Equality) is achieved. Inequalities perpetuated in the digital world significantly exacerbate gender inequalities and slow the rate of progress towards meaningful change. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic is having devastating health and economic consequences on communities across the world, threatening to reverse the advances made in recent years towards gender equality including digital gender equality. Many women and girls will continue to be excluded from the digital economy and unable to benefit from the opportunities offered by digital technologies.

The 2020 State of Women in Tech and Start-Ups survey found that 70% of women working in tech feel they have been treated differently at work owing to their gender, while only 11% of men in tech feel this way. In the #MeToo era, such a statistic speaks to the growing need for bold and decisive action to bridge the digital gender divide in the tech sector. Increased participation of women in the digital economy is critical for women’s full participation in society and for long-term sustainable economic development.

In line with the objectives of the EQUALS-EU project funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, the first public EQUALS-EU Colloquium meeting aims to bring representatives of the mobile and tech industries, academia, civil society, international organisations and youth as to dispel stereotypes and foster a gender inclusive innovation ecosystem through targeted discussions around key traits and skills needed to empower women in the digital age.

The discussions will therefore reflect on the modern-day challenges to championing female leadership in tech. Experts from among the mobile industry, academia, civil society and international organisations will be encouraged to share best practices and experiences from among their sectors and discuss among others the following:

  • What is the current state of the digital leadership gap in Europe and across the Eastern partnership?
  • What obstacles do rising female leaders in the digital economy face?
  • Why does championing female leadership in tech matter?
  • How can a more inclusive tech industry be fostered in which diverse leadership styles are welcome?
  • How can we break the male dominance in the tech industry?
  • How do we increase women’s academic career capacity and engagement in academic and scientific cooperation on STEM related subjects?
  • Why do we need female role models?
  • How do we encourage a greater uptake of STEM subjects on a high school and university level among girls and young women and enhance their application and entrance in the career field?

Following the main plenary session, participants will be split into three working groups as to brainstorm further and reflect on the challenges and solutions to fostering digital rights, access to technology, and health/care provision, leveraging STI (Science, Technology, Innovation) skills for gender equity and building strategic communication skills to promote gender equity objectives:

Workshop 1: Strategic Communication to Promote Gender Equity: Translating Objectives into Practice

The workshop will introduce a multi-stage strategic process for implementing strategic communication to promote gender equity objectives within different organizational, social and individual contexts. The approach draws from research and theory on strategic communication, models of behavioural change, and evaluation research.

Workshop 2: Women’s Digital Rights in Healthcare

The workshop will explore strategies and solutions around the use of technology to advance gender equity in healthcare alongside the correlation between digital rights, access to technology, and healthcare provision. Participants will be invited to present and share relevant research, dissemination and awareness-raising projects. The outcomes of the workshop will help to increase the participation of women in improving global e-health efforts and enhance the discourse around gender equity in healthcare from both a public and a private sector point of view.

Workshop 3: Leveraging STI skills for Gender Equity

The workshop aims to dispel harmful gender based stereotypes in the science, innovation and technology field and co-create ways to positioning women as ICT leaders, creators, and entrepreneurs. Bringing experts from among the mobile and tech industries, civil society, the academia, and international organisations, the discussions will help identify the barriers and urgent action areas and recommendations needed to overcome those barriers when it comes to gender equity in the digital economy.

The outcomes of the meeting will serve to produce a brief report with recommendations which will feed into a series of hackathons, innovation camps and leadership boot camps aimed at empowering a select group of rising female digital entrepreneurs in the EU and Eastern Partnership countries. Additionally, it will aim to create a support network for women in leadership across the digital economy and STEM fields in particular.

IMPORTANT: All participants are required to consent with Terms and Conditions and Code of Conduct.

Tentative programme of the event
Time Activity
12:0012:10 Welcome remarks
– Dr. Anthony Giannoumis, Associate Professor, Oslo Metropolitan University
– Belinda Exelby, Head of International Relations, GSMA; Chair of EQUALS
Steering Committee
12:1013:00 Panel discussion: Perceptions of Power: Championing Female Leadership
in the Digital Age
– Ms. Nur Sulyna Abdullah, Chief, Digital Knowledge Hub Department at the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
– Dr Anthony Giannoumis, Associate Professor, Oslo Metropolitan University
– MNO Representative (tbc)
– Female entrepreneur in tech (tbc)

Moderator: Dr. Nina Linde, Associate Professor, Institute of Economics of
Latvian Academy of Sciences, Latvia
13:0013:10Questions & Answers
13:1013:15Short Recap/Overview of Workshop Objectives (10min)
13:1515:15Workshop 1: Strategic Communication to Promote Gender Equity: Translating Objectives into Practice
Moderator: Dr Nehama Lewis, Senior Lecturer, University of Haifa

Workshop 2: Women’s Digital Rights in Healthcare
Moderator: Dr. Yue Zhao, University Hospital Cologne

Workshop 3: Leveraging Science, Technology and Innovation Skills for Gender Equity
Moderators: Dr. Asuman Özgür Keysan, METU & Dr. Zelal Özdemir, METU
15:1515:30Brief Reports from Each Workshop
Workshop moderators
15:3015:40Concluding Remarks
– Dr. Anthony Giannoumis, Associate Professor, Oslo Metropolitan University
– Belinda Exelby, Head of International Relations, GSMA; Chair of EQUALS
Steering Committee

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