Vodafone is creating better futures for women around the world

Vodafone is creating a better future for women

Vodafone is creating a better future for women

Sharon Doherty, Vodafone's Global Organisation & People Development Director has shared her thoughts on working for Vodafone. "It's really exciting working for a company that is uniquely placed to create a better future for women. At Vodafone we understand, and are often at the centre of technology innovation and we have a long history of using this understanding to improve women’s lives."

Vodafone working to connect women

Did you know that women are 14% less likely to own a phone, and that there are 90 million unconnected women?  Vodafone has committed to connecting 50 million women by 2025, and so far they have reached 15 million women.

And while 1 in 4 women in the UK are victims of domestic abuse – by introducing TecSos Vodafone is working with police forces and has helped 81,000 women across Europe. Vodafone also has a massive health and education programme across Africa, so far helping 600,000 women with maternal health needs and using Vodafone's technology to educate 40,000 kids a month in refugee camps, many of which are girls.

An inside look into Vodafone as an employer

There are no shortcuts when it comes to creating a diverse and inclusive culture. In 2010 we had less than 15% of women in leadership roles and we are getting to 28% this year. There is much more to do for sure, but as a tech company who operates in parts of the world where the culture of women’s empowerment has at times a long way to go, this progress gives us confidence that we are on the right path.

Vodafone's journey has included transparent targets since 2008, continual unconscious bias training, review of policies - introducing the 50:50 graduate hiring back in 2010, the ‘world’s first global maternity policy’ in 2015, the largest global programme to ReConnect women to work in 2017, focus on de-biasing recruitment processes introducing tools such as Textio (to gender neutralise their job adverts).

Vodafone has also taken decisions to do some really practical actions inside the company. For their new agile tribes, they expect at least 30% women in the set up. For Director hiring they’ve mandated that the most senior hiring manager must see at least one qualified man and one qualified women, all senior meetings of over 50 people must have at least 30% women - giving the next generation of talented women the opportunity to network. Vodafone has always expected at least 30%, ideally 50% of women on their high potential training programmes, in addition, they are piloting women-only training at a senior level. These are all practical things that keep nudging Vodafone forward on their journey.

It starts young: "Why are almost all the superheroes men?"

Vodafone is also a Lead Member of the UN’s Unstereotype Alliance which was founded by UN Women in 2017 - a global coalition of more than 20 industry leaders (including Unilever, P&G, Facebook, Mattel, AT&T, WPP), all standing behind the common goal of eliminating gender bias and harmful gender stereotypes from their advertising.

To mark this Vodafone did some research and found out an interesting truth...


As technology takes a grip on how we work, it’s really important for the medium to long term goals that more girls move into STEM.  In the UK, there are less than 25% girls studying STEM subjects, and a very similar picture world side. Vodafone has experimented with a great programme called #CodeLikeAGirl and rolled it out across all our markets, supporting 1,000 more girls between 14-18 years old to get access to the programme.

Vodafone is also one of the founding impact champions for the #HeForShe movement, and has been progressing in all of their commitments. Through a small but important gesture, Vodafone tidied up their global paternity policy and ensured that across all their markets men get at least two weeks paternity leave - and this will see men in 15 markets spending more time with their families.

Another International Women's Day reflection... Parents challenge educational, societal and even our own biases when it comes to preparing our children for the future. Perhaps the last word should go to a real superhero Jediva.


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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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