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New report flags technology gender gap in Scandinavia

A new study by Plan International and Telenor shows that reinforced gender roles are among the numerous barriers to women with career ambitions within the technology industry in Scandinavia.

Arendal – WEBWIRE

The study is based on qualitative interviews with 15 female experts in the technology industry, 15 women who have chosen a career in the industry, as well as a survey of 172 women who are already working with or considering a career in technology.

Key findings in the study show that 78% of survey respondents believe that girls and women considering a career in technology are faced with gender stereotypes. Underlying attitudes and the lack of challenge to these attitudes by teachers and parents are seen as contributory factors to the prevalence of these stereotypes. In addition, 62% of survey respondents believe that it is more difficult for girls to begin studying technology-related subjects as the courses themselves are so male dominated.

“We make the future’s products and services for both male and female customers, and both genders must be part of that development or else we will not succeed,” noted Telenor Norway’s Chief Technology Officer, Ingeborg Øfthus. “This study gives us the right kind of insight that can help us work with the issue.”

The role of industry

Further findings in the report show that 35% of respondents to the survey believe that the technology industry impacts on the likelihood of women considering a career in tech, citing gender discrimination, recruitment methods and salaries as particular deterrents.

“We have come a long way with equality in Norway,” noted General Secretary of Plan International Norway, Kari Helene Partapouli, “but when it comes to technology, we still have some way to go. When you also consider that just one quarter of IT students in Norway are women, it’s clear that we’re facing an equality problem. New technology being developed will be, for the most part, done so by men. The consequence of the current situation is that that technology will be more suitable for men than women.”

A global partnership

In 2018, Telenor Group and Plan International entered into a global partnership to collaborate on a range of digital and mobile technology solutions that will help advance the rights of children and young people, with a special focus on equality for girls. All joint projects will focus on building skills for a digital future and bridging the digital gender gap – giving girls the necessary access, skills and opportunities to take part in the creation of technology.

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