Mobile Meetings Series Breakfast Connected Women

Mar 17 2015
Mobile Meetings Series Breakfast  Connected Women

Participation of Ms Madi Sharma as Speaker at the GSMA Europe event with topic “Connected Women: Accelerating the role of women in the digital economy.”

This event was a breakfast debate to discuss the importance of attracting and retaining female talent, and encouraging female leadership in the information and communication technology sector. It looked at how we can best stimulate real industry change and the positive impacts of greater inclusion of women.

The Mobile Meetings Series events are small-scale, invitation-only meetings which provide an opportunity to explore a variety of issues with high-level stakeholders from the European Institutions, industry, and civil society. Given my role at the European Economic & Social Committee, I was asked to replace SOC President Maureen O’Neil to present the role of women working in ICT, focusing particularly on how to expand women’s involvement as employees and leaders across the ICT sector.

It was a really valuable discussion and interesting format.

GSMA presented statistics according to

  • where there were more women in the workplace the companies’ market share increased by 45% and their access to new markets was increased to 70%.
  • On average in EU IT industry 40% of staff are women at entry level, 30% are middle level and just 20% are at senior level.
  • Just 6 women are listed within the top 100 people in the industry.
  • Of these performers almost all had STEM degrees. However, in general only 25% of women in the IT industry have a STEM degree. There are still many regional variations across Europe.


I highlighted the EESC opinions on women in STEM, the need for role models, mentors, pipelines of talent, but especially for men to engage.


Also the representative from the Cabinet of Vice President Timmermans raised the need for women at executive level, and so the Women on Boards opinion also came up and the business case. Finally, the discussion drifted onto female entrepreneurship, so I highlighted the statistics from our opinion and the need to encourage and empower women.


The overall conclusions and recommendations from the discussion included

  • the need for more women to visit schools and talk about STEM, companies could do this well and release employees as part of CSR.
  • There need to be more mentoring support and engagement of women to help each other.
  • There must be facilitation of more such meetings, but also follow op steps and we need to bring men to the table and have the debates that are about gender in the workplace, but where it is not included in the title.


Other participants included Anna Maria Corazza Bildt – MEP, SE, EPP – Vice Chair IMCO Committee –Moderator European Commission, Baudouin Baudru – Expert at the Cabinet of Commissioner Thyssen, Liene Balta – Member of the Cabinet of Commissioner Timmermans, Megan Richards – Principle Adviser – DG CONNECT, Edyta Ziomek – Policy Officer – DG CONNECT, Baiba Jugane-Lintere – Counsellor of Justice and Home Affairs – Permanent Representation of Latvia to the EU, Eva Hodges – Counsellor – Social Policy and Employment Attaché – Permanent Representation of Slovakia to the EU, Linda Sassian - Counsellor for Social Affairs - Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU, Jan Van der Velden – Social Attaché – Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU and Elena Bonfiglioli – Senior Health Industry Director – Microsoft.


Thank you for this opportunity to meet stakeholders and industry representatives in promoting the EESC’s work on women and inclusiveness in the ICT sector.


Please do not hesitate to contact me for any further information



Madi  x


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