Women lead the charge in breaking the glass ceiling. The underrepresentation of women in management can be attributed to systematic barriers and social norms.
Better Together: Women leading the way
The population split has always been equal or almost equal. 50/50, women and men, notwithstanding gender-identity, but when it comes to the working environment, in general, there has not been equal representation. Even as late as the 20th century, a large percentage of women did not work outside the home due to cultural and, in some cases, even legal restrictions. From studies carried out by the United Nations, the majority of unpaid domestic and care work is still conducted by women. Entry to the workforce has started to show a more comparable gender distribution, yet according to their report, The World's Women, 2020 Trends and Statistics, women held only 28% of managerial positions in 2019 – almost the same proportion as in 1995. This under-representation of women in management, is not necessarily the direct fault of any company, but could be attributed to systematic barriers and social norms which have created the infamous “glass ceiling” that can make it harder for women specifically to achieve promotions, and in some cases to get paid equally for the same work.
At Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, our goal is to create a level playing field, to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of the organization. Diversifying the workforce has given ALE a competitive edge because more ideas are being incorporated from different backgrounds, experiences, and understanding. ALE has also received well-deserved recognition and publicity through awards, promotions, and customer opinion.
At ALE there are many people creating new pathways for future generations of women to come. Here are some of their stories, covering the global footprint of ALE:
Rukmini Glanard, currently the only woman to sit on the executive management team, is the sponsor of “Together” - ALE’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) - which seeks to include multiple forms of intersectionality and diversity, since we are convinced representation is key. Not only is she shattering the glass ceiling but as Executive Vice-president of Global Sales, Services and Marketing she is modeling the behavior that can drive success for any employee regardless of gender.
Sandrine El Khodry’s work has recently earned her a promotion to Vice President of Sales for the Middle East and Africa. Sandrine was recently nominated as the French Business Council’s CEO of the month, highlighting her fantastic leadership skills.
Continuing to lead the charge is Karina Tiwana, the general counsel for ALE in the United States. The mastery of her skills took many years of dedication and she continues to expand her understanding by participating in summits and panels for her field. She was recently recognized as Legal Affairs and General Counsel of the Year by Lawyer Monthly, proving her dedication and hard work. In an interview with Insight Successful, Karina commented, “An equal world in business results in an enabled and better world for business. We need all of our minds and all of our hands, as a company, to compete and succeed. Diversity and inclusion – across gender, ethnicity, age, religion, etc. – enable a better, balanced environment for economies and communities to thrive”, showing where her passion for diversity.
Ichita M. Puspa from the APAC region recently received recognition at the Channel Asia Women in ICT Award in 2020. This award recognizes women who have achieved excellence in their time working in the ICT industry through promotions, successful projects, or company initiatives.
In the Americas, Holly Berger just received recognition as part of the Most Powerful Women of the Channel 2021: Power 100. This award shows that her impact has been influential in channel success.
Lisa Simpson, who has conquered the sales division at ALE since 2006, recently received a promotion as Senior Vice President of North American Regional Sales. She explained that the key to her success has been, “building relationships and trust which has kept our long-term customers and helped develop new customers. Our culture is collaboration and we support each other to grow”.
Another leader proving representation matters, is Astrid Savorani, her wonderful work, earned her a promotion as the Head of Sales in the Southern Countries of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). She was recently interviewed by Intermpresas, explaining, “ We must continue to improve… this inequality is more visible. We have a better chance for equality through continued conversations”. The telecommunications industry has been a male dominated space for many decades and ALE strives to have women leading the charge.
It is important to continue to encourage under-represented groups to break the glass ceiling and be influential in hiring, pay and benefit conversations. By creating safe spaces for allyship such as Together, ALE fosters new practices, ideas, and mentorship. Businesses need to strive for focus on “50/50 – equality” because employees and customers deserve to have a company that reflects them.