Astrocast Community Day 2021
16 Sep 2021 | 3 min read
Every year, the Astrocast team gathers for a day, to help make the world a better place. A strong team spirit ...
At Astrocast, we believe in a connected world where IoT is global and benefits all. Our vision brings the whole planet and every human being together, just like space does. Hear our team taking a stand for equality, diversity, and inclusion, 365 days a year.
Beyond the moral imperative, diversity in the business environment is about more than gender and ethnicity. It now includes diverse religious and political beliefs, education, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientation, cultures and even disabilities. “Diversity and inclusion are vital to the telecom and aerospace sectors in their never-ending effort to innovate, differentiate from competition and bring new ideas” claims Pantelis Symeonidis, IoT Service Operation Manager.
Research agrees with him, repeatedly showing that inclusion, and gender and ethnic diversity go hand in hand with performance. A Boston Consulting Group study found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation. This finding is significant for tech companies, start-ups, and industries where innovation is the key to growth. It shows that diversity is not just a metric to be strived for, but an integral part of a successful revenue-generating business.
“Diversity has a general impact on the way the company operates. We use mathematics, programming languages, mechanical designs as common languages, but there are infinite ways to reach our goals and each culture has a different, but valid, approach. Something that might seem impossible for someone, might not be for someone else.”
Reinforcing this idea, Fatima Vigil, Head of Marketing adds: “Diversity brings different perspectives to the table, allowing the organization to look at challenges from every angle and solve them in the best possible way.”
Ester Perez Marcos, RF Engineer, goes even a step further “a culture of diversity and inclusion helps normalizing the idea that we are all equal to perform intellectual jobs no matter our gender. Even jobs traditionally performed by women should promote diversity aiming at gender equality.”
Unfortunately, when trying to achieve diversity, the main challenge a company faces is “to receive only men applications for a job recruitment. That’s very disappointing,” Carla regrets.
Gender equality remains a major issue in the corporate world. Despite an abundance of research confirming that companies with more women in the C-Level are more profitable, there is still a gender gap in most companies.
“As we are not in absolute equality even in the 21st century, it is more than necessary to remember the value of our foremothers and the mark they have left for us to be here today.”
Women are significantly underrepresented in the corporate pipeline, with fewer women than men hired at entry level, and representation declining further at every subsequent step. According to the largest study on the state of women in corporate America, 20% of the women said they were commonly the only person of their gender in the room or one of very few. The figure is far higher in some sectors such as technology and engineering. For women of color, that number rose to 45%. For men, it was just 7%. So, when Ester says that “equality is not offering quotas but providing same opportunities to everyone”, she points out the tricky issue.
Even though according to UNESCO, only 35% of all students enrolled in STEM-related fields are females, Celia sees the positive in it: “this number was much lower a few years ago, so I think we are going in the right direction. If we show all the women CEOs out there, if we present the difficulties they are having or have had to get there, more girls will be interested.
“The historical weight of habits and customs weighs heavily in the unconscious career choice for women. This figure could be increased if the working hours and conditions were adapted to women, through salary, maternity leave, part-time work…”
“The best way to build a culture of diversity is to stop the bias, stop putting a face, a nationality, or a gender in a resume, have hiring processes where skills prevail. On the other hand, organizations must promote among the youth how professional careers have no gender, color, or nationality” highlights Fatima.
In fact, business has the transformative power to contribute to a better society, but it cannot be a one-time campaign. Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace is a constant work-in-progress, but we need to take bold steps. A McKinsey survey encourages a systematic, business-led approach to inclusion and diversity: increase diverse representation, particularly in leadership and critical roles, and strengthen accountability for delivering these goals. It also suggests enabling equality of opportunity through fairness and transparency, promote openness, tackle bias and discrimination, and foster belonging through support for diversity.
But it is a very delicate matter, as Federico reminds us, “the company needs to ensure that the measures created to address inequalities are not in reality creating new discriminations.” In any case, “companies must include diversity and inclusion as core values and make such they have a zero-tolerance policy in case of non-respect of these principles,” Carla concludes. However, the key point is education, as Pantelis underlines, “family and school should cultivate a culture of same opportunities for both sexes and allow equal access to creative activities related to art, sports, or science”.
Seven years after the introduction of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, progress on gender equality has been modest at best. Now the effort to narrow gender gaps faces new challenges with automation trends and the regressive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. With only eight years left to meet Goal 5, let’s keep in mind that achieving equality for half the world’s population is a global imperative. Because tangible goals make ambition real.