Top employer Vodafone is helping to break the barriers in tech and close the workforce gender gap

Vodafone Americas Foundation helps break barriers in tech

Vodafone Americas Foundation helps break barriers in tech

Director of the Vodafone Americas Foundation for over a decade, June Sugiyama, has been developing key community support and partnership strategies that focus on technology and innovation.

June is committed to helping forge more inclusive and gender-balanced opportunities in technology and entrepreneurialism for women and girls. She believes that "Technology has a big gender problem."

Vodafone works to helps provide women and girls with greater economic opportunity, so as to help close the gender gap - and the Vodafone Americas Foundation sees now as a powerful time to support women and girls.

The need for more gender-balance in tech

It has been well documented that men hold the majority of jobs in the telecommunications industry, especially as computer scientists and developers.

But the gender gap doesn't just stop there. It also extends to tech entrepreneurship too, where women consistently receive far less venture capital funding for startups than men do.

"In fact, only 2 per cent of female founders received funding last year," comments June. "Despite positive momentum from media coverage, conferences and initiatives that are discussing this problem and working toward solutions, there are signs that real change is still yet to come."

A report from McKinsey and Pivotal Ventures found that women are under-represented in tech at every age and stage of life, from elementary school all the way up to senior tech jobs, where women currently hold just 11 per cent of leadership positions.

Closing the gender gap through empowering women and girls

"As technology continues to become part of the fabric of everything we do, job opportunities in the industry will only grow, making the need to close the gender gap even more critical," explains June. "I have always believed that the best way to address this issue is by empowering women and girls with opportunities to learn new tech skills and to support them in sustaining their interest in the field."

The Vodafone Americas Foundation supports important organisations like TechGirlz, Technovation and Girls in Tech that focus on accelerating girls and women into more opportunities in STEM and entrepreneurship.

Girls in Tech, who are a global non-profit focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of girls and women who are passionate about technology, held a pitch competition for female founders. The event was called "AMPLIFY". The event gave young women the opportunity to pitch their tech startups to Silicon Valley veterans and compete for seed funding.

"I recently had the honor of serving as a judge for AMPLIFY and I’m excited to share that the winner was one of our past Wireless Innovation Project winners, Omnivis (formerly known as PathVis)! They put the power of the lab, in the palm of your hand with smartphone-enabled early disease outbreak detection," says June.

"Meanwhile, the AMPLIFY Audience Choice Award winner was Project Vive, which gives a voice to the voiceless through speech-generating devices. When we create dedicated forums like this competition to celebrate women’s achievements in tech and discuss diversity and inclusion in the field, we can start to turn the tide toward equality," June suggests.

Learn more about how Vodafone helps bridge the gaps in tech

Vodafone knows that the modern world cannot function without digital networks. In fact, their products and services play a central role in the daily lives and livelihoods of more than half a billion people across more than 25 countries. Vodafone works hard to connect everybody to live a better today and build a better tomorrow. 

And you can be part of this journey. Vodafone has so many exciting and purposeful jobs available across many countries.

Find out more

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