Tuesday, 19th October 2021
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Alliance seeks to increase IT inclusion

More than 12 leading global tech companies and organisations have agreed to collaborate to increase diversity and equality in the technology industry as part of the #ChangeTheFace Alliance.

The #ChangeTheFace Alliance has been formed by Deloitte, Digital Boost, Ericsson, Facebook, Founders4Schools, Girl Effect, IBM, Nokia, PwC, Samsung, UN Women and Vodafone. The founders are working together to share industry insights and best practice on diversity and equality, cooperate on initiatives to drive change and showcase Alliance member case studies for the entire tech industry.

Launched by Vodafone in March 2020, the #ChangeTheFace initiative called on technology leaders to increase diversity and equality in the technology industry, building a positive community of individuals and organisations who can be a force for positive change. In alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UNSDG) 10, more than 300 companies and individuals pledged to make the tech industry more inclusive.

Serpil Timuray, CEO Europe Cluster at Vodafone said: “For the technology sector to reach its full potential, it needs to more fairly reflect the world in which we operate. I am delighted that major global technology leaders have embraced the Change The Face initiative that Vodafone launched last year and as an Alliance we will work together on the same goal - to build a digital future that is diverse and inclusive.”

Jolyon Barker, Global Leader, Insight and Client Experience, Deloitte, said: “Advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s the right business thing to do. When people feel accepted for who they are, they are more engaged and empowered to succeed at work. And research shows that organizations that are more diverse and reflective of the world we live and work in are more successful. We are proud to join with the #ChangeTheFace Alliance to support driving greater diversity within the technology industry and beyond.”

Arun Bansal, President of Europe and Latin America, Ericsson, said: “Diversity and inclusion are core to Ericsson’s values and as a global technology leader we believe in a total commitment to equal opportunity to ensure the digital future works for everyone, with no barriers of access. By joining together as part of the #ChangeTheFace Alliance we can use our collective strengths to build a diverse and inclusive technology sector that inspires innovation, enables communication and delivers connectivity that can change people’s lives all over the world.”

Nicola Mendelsohn, VP Global Business Group at Facebook said: “While we have made strides over the last decade in the technology sector to address diversity and inclusion, there is still a lot of important work to be done. #ChangeTheFace are actively encouraging companies around the world to consider how they can make tech more inclusive. I know from first-hand experience just how essential this work is for the sector to reach its full potential. We at Facebook look forward to collaborating with #ChangeTheFace!”

Jessica Posner Odede, CEO at Girl Effect, said: “Technology poses the greatest opportunity and the greatest threat to equality that this generation has seen. Gender inequalities we’ve been fighting offline are being exacerbated in an online world. To create an equitable digital future, we must act now. We must better understand the reality and challenges girls face, particularly post pandemic, and make a concerted effort to co-create digital tools with those they are designed to serve. We look forward to working alongside the #ChangeTheFace alliance members to ensure girls are one of the first - not the last - to benefit from technology.”

Clare Moncrieff, VP People Direction, Nokia said: “As a global tech player, we need to have a diverse team working in an inclusive work environment to build products for diverse people of the world. We are here to help the world act together. Not just some, but all.”

Anita Bhatia, UN Women Deputy Executive Director said: “Closing the digital gender gap is one of the most powerful investments we can make for our future. In a world where there is still a 17% gender gap in Internet use globally, every girl must have the right to be connected and play her part in shaping a more equal and tech-driven future. UN Women is delighted to participate in #ChangeTheFace and to link it to the work of the Innovation and Technology Action Coalition of Generation Equality.”

'#ChangeTheFace - Accelerating Diversity & Inclusion in the Tech Sector' event

Representatives from the #ChangeTheFace Alliance will discuss the importance of collaboration in creating long lasting, meaningful change in the Technology industry, on a panel titled '#ChangeTheFace - Accelerating Diversity & Inclusion in the Tech Sector' during Goals House @UNGA. The panel, which will be held both virtually and in-person at Soho Works in New York City, will take place from 11:30-12:30pm EST on Tuesday 21st, September.

To RSVP for ‘#ChangeTheFace - Accelerating Diversity & Inclusion in the Tech Sector’ panel on 21st September, please email: changetheface@freuds.com.

New international research tracking perceptions of technology and representation

The Alliance has been formed as new international research to track perceptions of technology and representation has found that there is still a need for change across the industry. It highlights the challenge for companies to be less stereotypical, use more inclusive language in their advertising and encourage a more diverse range of leaders to represent their industry.

The new research survey, carried by Opinium among 7,000 people in nine countries, repeated the original #ChangeTheFace research from in 2019. When asked to describe technology as a person, there was very little change in characteristics since the first survey carried out in 2019, with most respondents claiming that person would be young, white, middle-class and ‘trendy’.

Ethnic minorities felt significantly less represented in tech ads than two years ago, with only 44% feeling represented in 2021 compared to 68% in 2019. Half (49%) of ethnic minority respondents still felt that modern technology advertising did not seem to be representative of the people who used it, and only a third (32%) felt that tech adverts are aimed at them, although this has improved from 22% in 2019.

Older age groups now feel more represented in tech ads (38% of 55-64s in 2021 vs 31% in 2019), especially TV and movie streaming, as mainstream technology has become a regular part of life for them.

Principles for Change

Since the launch of #ChangeTheFace, a growing number of companies within the tech sector – including Samsung, PwC and Vodafone – have worked together to share insights and best practice, identifying areas for improvement and further development.

A series of digital conversations and workshops with companies and institutions in technology have led to the formation of the #ChangeTheFace Alliance to focus on four principles for change:

•We aim to accelerate and support diverse and inclusive workforces

•We aim to make technology accessible and available for all

•We aim to collaborate on accelerating change in the wider eco-system

•We aim to support wider society

#ChangeTheFace Alliance portal launched to share best practice

A new portal at www.change-the-face.com will be launched to share the Alliance’s learnings, insights, case studies and best practices for wider use throughout the whole tech industry. Examples of recent initiatives from #ChangeTheFace Alliance participants include:

Deloitte - As a global professional services organization, Deloitte through our WorldClass initiative, is engaged in a variety of programs aimed at bringing down barriers to the inclusion of underrepresented groups, including in the technology industry. Deloitte has been a signatory of the Tech Talent Charter since 2017. In the UK, we have supported the Institute of Coding’s Skills Bootcamps and collaborated with Code First Girls to give more women the opportunity to learn new skills and pursue great careers in technology.

In South Africa, we support GirlCode and the sponsorship of the GirlCode annual hackathon – the biggest female-only hackathon in the country. Deloitte’s TMT Board Ready program aims to increase women’s representation on company boards, including in the tech sector, and our Cloud Institute, in the US, aims to provide the skills and training needed to encourage people with diverse profiles to enter the tech sector.

Additionally, Deloitte publishes key insights and guidance on Diversity and inclusion in IT through Deloitte Insights, samples include Paving diverse paths to technology leadership, Innovating for all: How CIOs can leverage diverse teams to foster innovation and ethical tech, and Smashing IT’s glass ceiling: Perspectives from leading women CIOs.

Digital Boost - A free learning platform supporting people who work for small businesses and charities to lift their digital and technology skills. Learners can access free 1:1 mentoring on more than 55 digital topics, as well as workshops and courses, all provided by volunteer experts from a wide range of leading global companies, including Vodafone. Created to drive inclusive economic recovery, Digital Boost has a particular focus on women and minority-led businesses. www.digitalboost.org.uk

Ericsson - At Ericsson, we are more than 100,000 people, representing 167 nationalities with diverse experiences, perspectives and ideas. It is our diversity and inclusion that brings us closer together, provides the catalyst for innovation and success, and helps us make a difference in the networked society. In our global Diversity & Inclusion strategy, we focus on improving representation in three main areas: Gender, Generations and Nationality. Locally we have initiatives to improve our numbers of underrepresented groups relevant to each region. This includes piloting innovative training programs to ensure managers are effective in leading diverse teams and playing our role as a technology company in ensuring inclusive language in our industry.

We are also proud of our longstanding actions, for example celebrating the International Girls in ICT Day since 2011 in 150 countries around the world with more than 5,300 events and participation of over 180,000 girls and young women. Read more here: https://www.ericsson.com/en/about-us/diversity-and-inclusion/our-commitment/gender

Facebook - Building on earlier investments, Facebook has committed an additional $200 million to support Black-owned businesses and organizations. This commitment is part of a broader $1.1 billion investment in Black and diverse suppliers and communities in the US.

Girl Effect - Girl Effect is an international non-profit that builds media that girls want, trust and need - from chatbots to chat shows and TV dramas to tech. Reaching millions of girls across Africa and Asia, Girl Effect creates content that helps girls make choices and changes in their lives during the critical years of adolescence. By igniting their confidence to act differently at a time that can define their future, every girl can choose to be in control of her body, her health, her learning and livelihood.

As part of the Generation Equality Technology and Innovation Action Coalition, Girl Effect announced a new study, Girls & Mobile 2.0, in partnership with Vodafone Americas Foundation and UNICEF. The study aims to build a deeper understanding of the gender digital divide, including the impacts of the online world on girls' sense of self-esteem and mental wellbeing. This study will provide actionable recommendations when designing digital solutions with girls, and produce post-pandemic baseline data on a girl’s digital world.

Nokia – Showing that Nokia is investing in the fight for inclusivity and to set an example for the tech industry, it conducted a pay gap analysis resulting in the immediate closure of the small, but still statistically significant unexplained pay gap in 2019. Nokia is committed to keep the gap closed through yearly reviews and investments. Decisions, practices, and processes which might cause the unexplained pay gap to reopen are consistently addressed to ensure that the gap, which was first closed in 2019 remains closed.

PwC – PwC’s ColourBrave Charity Committee sets up grants for black-led social enterprises and charities to fund projects which help to build an inclusive culture and tackle racial inequality. The size of the grants depends on their scale, activity and impact of the social enterprise.

UN Women – During the landmark Generation Equality Forum, UN Women, in partnership with the government of France and Mexico launched six Action Coalitions: multi-stakeholder partnerships that aim to make gender equality a reality for our generation. One of these six is the Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality Action Coalition and its objective, by 2026, is that women and girls in all their diversity have equal opportunities to safely and meaningfully access, use, lead, and design technology and innovation with freedom of expression, joy, and boundless potential.

#ChangeTheFace will also collaborate with the Unstereotype Alliance, convened by UN Women - a thought and action platform that seeks to eradicate harmful stereotypes from advertising and media. Since forming in 2017, the Unstereotype Alliance has been working to empower people in all their diversity (including gender, race, class, age, ability, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality) by using advertising as a force for good.

Vodafone – Vodafone’s Inclusion for All strategy seeks to ensure no one is left behind. It focuses on access to connectivity, digital skills and creating relevant products and services, such as access to education, healthcare and finance. Vodafone is committed to developing a diverse and inclusive global workforce that reflects the customers and societies it serves. Vodafone has introduced leading workplace policies on menopause and domestic violence, and has nurtured a pan-company black professionals’ network.


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