Women tend to be more satisfied in their jobs when they can get behind their company’s mission and values. At Fairygodboss, we speak to a lot of wonderful companies that are taking exceptional steps to improve the workplace for women, particularly within fields traditionally dominated by men, and we also hear from employers that prioritize social responsibility.
One company, though, is taking this work a step further. Ericsson has organized an incredible initiative, dubbed the Ericsson Innovation Awards (EIA): Girls Who Innovate competition, that aims to get young girls motivated to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, where there tends to be an especially large gender gap.
In addition to encouraging girls to study these areas, the program was created to inspire girls to innovate while also thinking about how the use of technology can help eliminate global hunger.
“I’ve always been passionate about getting girls interested in STEM careers, so I feel fortunate to work at a company that’s taking big strides to close the gender gap in these areas,” says Maria Angelica Perez, a Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Ericsson. “It feels great to work at a company whose values mirror my personal interests and passions.”
While the EIA: Girls Who Innovate competition is unique, it’s not surprising coming from Ericsson, given the company’s overarching commitment to diversity and inclusion. Beyond organizing company programs, Ericsson engages in several external initiatives, including TechWomen, which empowers, connects and supports the next generation of women leaders in STEM from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East.
Ericsson is also a corporate sponsor for Watermark’s Conference for Women in Silicon Valley and the IEEE WIE International Leadership Conference, which brings together and empowers women in technology, and in they’ve co-sponsored the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing — the world’s largest talent fair of women computer scientists (in 2016, Ericsson sponsored the European edition of this conference in Belgium).
Moreover, Ericsson is striving to have 30% of all employees — including leaders and executives — be female by 2020.
The EIA: Girls Who Innovate Competition is certainly a reflection of these values, as is Ericsson’s recent activation of a Girls in ICT program [information and communication technology]. Last year, the company invited 30 girls to be guest bloggers on Ericsson’s career blog, where they told stories about what science and technology means to them.
The Girls Who Innovate Competition, open to girls age 9 to 18, also highlights Ericsson’s commitment to the United Nations 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which have been set to end all forms of poverty and protect the planet. The Ericsson Innovation Awards focus on three of the goals: ending hunger, improving gender equality and empowering women and girls, and ensuring responsible consumption and production patterns.
Participants are invited to send submissions through the end of June (the competition launched, not coincidentally, on April 27 — International Girls in ICT Day). Contestants are tasked with figuring out how technology can help the way we produce food and reduce world hunger. They’re prompted to create a visual representation of their idea (a photo, sketch, mock-up, model, video, or other visual element) and to write 250 words describing their concept.
The winners will receive an Amazon Echo Dot – AI Device, a Certificate of Recognition, the opportunity to write a blog on Ericsson Careers, and an Ericsson mentor to assist with blog submissions.
“The EIA: Girls Who Innovate competition exemplifies why I love working at Ericsson. Part of what keeps me motivated in my career is knowing that my company is proactive about doing good in the world - and that we’re empowering young girls in the process!” says Lisa Smith-Strother, a Global Head of Employer and Diversity Talent Acquisition Branding at Ericsson.
If you’re looking to work at a company with inspiring, big-picture objectives, you’re in luck, because Ericsson is hiring! Check out their job openings all across the country.
Read more about how Ericsson is inspiring girls to be brilliant here and follow Ericsson’s Girls in ICT activity @EricssonCareers.
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