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Digitalization, Equality, and rock stars

The ODA Award is a recognition of successful women in the Norwegian IT industry. This award may become the premier award  for promoting gender equality.

We are in the middle a global, digital revolution, with technology becoming the main driver for economic growth. Technologists increase their power, and most of them are men. If we fail at making more women seek their fortune in IT, digitalisation risks reversing equality between genders. 

– Technology will become such an integrated part of our everyday life that we have to ensure that women are part of designing this reality, says Naomi Climer, leader of one of the world’s largest organisations for engineers.

The importance of recruiting women to top management positions and board positions is often talked about, but seeing that digitalisation is one of the main drivers of economic growth, it is perhaps even more important for equality that we incentive women to technology studies.

Already we see formerly male dominated studies such as medicine, law, and economy being dominated by women. In 2015, admissions to studies in Medicine were 71% women, to Law studies more than 60% were women. Half of the applicants to studies in economics, administration and management were women. There is no reason that women shouldn’t claim their rightful place among engineers, but at last year’s admissions, only 18% of women had information technology and informatics as their top priority, and only 28% put technology or engineering first.

Today, the IT industry consists of 21% women and 79% men. It is vital that we attract energetic, competent young men and women with a positive attitude towards equality. We know that with effective and well considered measures, this is within reach.

The opportunity to influence society is an ever stronger motivation for young people when they choose their careers. In order to recruiting more women, the IT industry and technology disciplines must be better at demonstrating its contribution to society. As the importance of the oil and gas industry wanes, the IT industry should work to be much better in this respect.

An important tool for recruiting women to IT is the ODA network. Initiatives such as the Girl Geek Dinners, Teach the kids to Code, and Teach Girls to Code are valuable contributions for inspiring girls from as young as ten. The ODA Award spotlights women who have succeeded in the very male-dominated technology community.

Once more, this year sees some very strong candidates competing for the honours.

We congratulate the finalists to this year’s ODA award; Anne Sofie Risaasen in Capgemini, Solfrid Skilbrigt in Sopra Steria og Marit Collin in Kantega. They are women who have succeeded in a male dominated sector and are important role models. 

They should be treated as rock stars.

Berit Kjøll, Executive Director, Huawei,

Anne Grete Solberg, Scientist at the Institute for Work Studies

Janne Log, Executive Vice President, EVRY.

 

(Also printed in "Dagens Næringsliv", 9. June 2016)

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