Huawei corporate senior vice president and director of the board, Catherine Chen delivers a speech at the Web Summit 2020
Mrs Chen emphasised the importance of gender balance for building a diverse and inclusive digital economy. She also underlined the importance of education as a key to empowering women in the tech industry
Drawing upon her 26 years of working experience in the tech industry, and her personal journey to the senior management level at Huawei, Catherine Chen called for more female leaders, who exemplify not only the strength of women, but also the unique and innovative power to drive the digital economy forward.
In the digital age, we not only need more women represented in the industry, we also need women leaders
Speaking at Europe’s most important digital conference, Mrs Chen discussed the importance of having female role models and achieving gender balance in the tech industry: “Gender equality is not about women and men sharing the same mindsets and behavior. Rather, it’s about equal opportunities and rights, which can only come from a more inclusive, diverse, and healthy society.”
Mrs Chen pointed out that women account for almost half of the world’s five billion working population, but only around half of them participate in the labor force. Only around 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the workforce in ICT industry and 7.4 per cent of Fortune Global 500 CEOs are women. “In the digital age, we not only need more women represented in the industry, we also need women leaders,” Mrs Chen emphasised.
We hope that more brilliant women will emerge in the tech industry for a more equal, open, and diverse future
Mrs Chen continued by describing three key success factors towards this goal. First of all, she highlighted the importance of policy support for women, such as the objectives and guidelines outlined in the EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025. She pointed out that Europe has been a pioneer in promoting gender equality. Secondly, women themselves need to reject the stereotypes that the tech industry is too dull or too difficult for them. Thirdly, she stressed that digital skills education will fundamentally empower women, as it will “give them more opportunities and help them learn the basic skills they need to compete in the digital economy.”
As a leader in the tech industry, Huawei is more than willing to work with its partners to sow the seeds of the future by promoting STEM education. Through programs such as Huawei ICT Academy, as well as DigiTruck in Kenya and Digital Training Buses in Bangladesh, these initiatives are helping to bridge the digital divides worldwide. “We hope that more brilliant women will emerge in the tech industry for a more equal, open, and diverse future,” Mrs Chen concluded.
Web Summit is considered to be one of the world’s largest technology conferences with more than 100,000 attendees and 800 speakers, bringing together the people and companies leading the global tech industry.