On 7 June, Barbara Martin Coppola, Chief Digital Officer, Ingka Group, delivered a keynote speech at the WIT Online Series alongside Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States and Serena Bellesi, Chief Data Scientist at IBM, among other inspirational leaders. The week-long festival connects a global audience of 10,000 tech professionals and offers an educational experience for like-minded women, as well as supports them in achieving career goals. The event aims to drive inclusivity, empower diverse voices, and bring forward lasting change.
During her speech Barbara touched on crucial points, such as being minority in tech and how a minority status can become a source of strength. “When it comes to women in technology, we have to think bigger. We have to ask ourselves, how can we as women in technology pave the way towards more equality”, Barbara said during her speech.
During the pandemic, communities have been affected at large, and women are one of the hardest hit groups. From furloughs to job losses, to downshifting careers and in many cases leaving the workforce completely, women are feeling more exhausted, burnt out, and under pressure than men, according to the 2020 Women in the Workplace study by McKinsey & Company. According to Barbara, it is now more important than ever to take personal responsibility over equality in our organisations, to build networks and make change, large or small.
“Now is the time to gather our strength and our optimism to connect with our networks and circles of influence and then build back positively with a focus on gender equality. This is about much more than us personally, our self-fulfilment and empowerment. At stake is the future of our daughters and our sons” said Coppola. “We all can lead by example and make a difference. You do that if you come from a minority, if you represent diversity, if you fight bias in technology, if you pass on your knowledge through mentoring and education. If you introduce better and more flexible work conditions, if you allow your children to play or do sports beyond the gender stereotype. If you fight for gender equality.” she continued.
At Ingka Group there’s a nearly even split between genders across management and it really makes a difference – there’s more harmony. However, much still remains to be done, such as changing mind-sets through leading by example. By 2022, Ingka Group wants a 50/50 gender balance in all boards, stores and everything in between. Furthermore, Ingka Group has committed to gender equal pay across the organisation by the end of 2021.
In 2018, all 18 Ingka Group countries in the European Union signed their national Diversity Charter, committing to promote diversity and equal opportunities in the workplace and in society.