International Women’s Day: Talking with Women In Telecom and Aerospace
Originally published on Medium.com/@strocast on March 8, 2020
It is International Women’s Day! A day to celebrate the achievements of women around the world. It is also a time to reflect as a company on our core values. While the technology space is very innovative, we must acknowledge that we still have a ways to go toward diversity and inclusion. Here at Astrocast, we worked hard to define our core values and foster a culture of diversity and inclusion. A key part of this is to include our employees in the development of programs supporting women in STEM education and in the workplace.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we sat down with some of the women of Astrocast to discuss their experiences in the telecommunications and aerospace industries and how companies can build diversity and inclusion into their culture. Key to the conversation was a focus on what young companies like ours can do for women in technology and science.
According to UNESCO, today, Only 35% of all students enrolled in STEM-related fields are females, Enrolment is particularly low in ICT (3%); natural sciences, mathematics and statistics (5%); as well as engineering, manufacturing, and construction (8%). Participation is highest in health and welfare (15%) studies. In Europe, only 29 of 1,000 female graduates had a degree in computing in 2015, and just four out of 1,000 went on to have ICT careers.
“It is important that companies build diversity into the culture early on and map them to key KPIs that they monitor over time,” said Fatima Vigil Marketing manager at Astrocast. Fatima went on to explain that it is essential that companies grow community within the company and hold events and create programs that support women of all ages. “For example, this year we are hoping to focus our community day on girls in technology,” she said.
Helen Haile is a recent hire and has joined the Astrocast engineering team. She explained that women often have to make significant shifts and changes to find the right opportunities for their careers. In many cases, a clear growth path doesn’t exist. “It is important for companies to create opportunities for women not only to join a company but also to grow within a company. Many times there are women within a company, but very few are promoted to senior positions. Companies need to be aware of this.”
“That is an important part of my role,” explained Lise-Loup Antoniadis Astrocast’s HR manager. “I have an engineering background; however, I found there was more opportunity for women in HR when I started my career. Companies must build women into their hiring practices. They should also interview candidates with their core values in mind to ensure they will fit well into a culture of equality.”
Most importantly, everyone agreed that the challenge is getting more resumes on the table. “To be honest, I don’t get a lot of applications from women,” Lise explained. Companies have to do more than just hire women in the workplace. For example, here at Astrocast, we have specific policies for equal pay, maternity leave, and are working hard to reach 50% female representation within the company. Hopefully, these policies make us a more attractive place for women to work. But we can’t wait for women to come to us.
“Companies also have to go out and actively recruit more women, especially in telecoms and aerospace,” explained Lola Lopez Operations Engineer at Astrocast. According to the GSMA’s study: “Accelerating the digital economy: Gender diversity in the telecommunications sector”; In Europe, only 30 % of middle management jobs in the telecommunications sector are occupied by women, while a smaller percentage of 20% of senior leadership positions have a women in the chair.
So what can we do more at Astrocast? We are working hard with our teams to put KPIs around essential subjects such as women, diversity, and inclusion. So that as our company grows quickly, we can keep track of our progress and set our company as an example of great and innovative products coming from a great and diverse team.