Interview with Pilar Neves on gender and diversity

Let's talk about gender equality and diversity

The Global Gender Gap Report 2018 revealed that Norway is one of the fourteen countries in the ranking which have achieved at least 80% of parity concern economic participation and opportunity. Regarding political empowerment, Norway is again highlighted with 50% of female participation and records a slight increase moving up one spot to third in the world. Overall, the report ranks Norway as the second largest gender equality country, with less than 17 percent of men and women. The document points out that the country continues to improve its index year after year, improving its numbers of women in legislative, senior official and managerial positions.

 

Pilar Neves is a project manager at Innovation Norway South America. She is responsible for the areas of gender and diversity and technology (education, agriculture and health). She will be talking today about gender equality and diversity within businesses and why this is so important.

Why is so relevant to speak about diversity in business?

Because according to McKinsey report is clear that companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially. Companies that invest in racial and ethnic diversity are 30% more likely to have returns above their respective national industry medians, and when it comes to gender diversity, companies are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. it is more than proven that talking about diversity today in companies is profitable, it is no longer only an issue of human resources, but also, to become a goal to be achieved by the company. Nowadays, it is crucial for companies to realize that hiring only half of the talent pool of the market is not profitable, fair, equal and the most important, it is not sustainable in the long term. Business has changed and companies need to be more conscious of this new business reality.

How was the feedback on the panel “Talk Show - Technology is Genderless” during Norway Tech Day last year?

We had very good feedback from the audience. In the end, the participants came to talk to me about the importance of talking about the low representation of women in mostly male scenario and the low acceptance of those women who manage to be in technical leadership positions. We were told by an IBM technical manager about the challenges she faced in managing a technology project in India. And another women that, despite having received a proposal to manage a great team and a promotion, chose to remain as technical responsible of her area, dealing with customers that she herself made throughout her career, and machines and equipment, where it can give the final decision to buy or not the product for the company. This is a very challenging point for women as well, when they choose to be technical in their area and not go to management area.

What are your plans to approach the theme in Norway Brazil Weeks 2019?

This year we will approach the theme Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) during the Edtech Seminar in São Paulo. Companies use technology to foster diversity and inclusion, which are rapidly becoming crucial in the business development. Directors, executives and business leaders are recognizing how toxic workplace cultures can negatively impact its brand, its financial performance and its ability to attract and retain talent. It is now much clearer today that D&I is an institutional matter and strategic positioning of the company, and therefore, it is everyone`s responsibility. Previously, it was assumed to be individual misstep, and was delegated only to the HR departments. And with this better awareness and in order to support greater diversity and inclusion, technology innovation has a fundamental role on that. Companies can more easily build consistency and scalability, regardless of whether they apply to people management, development, learning and education opportunities.