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We must rethink the way we talk about technology

Inclusion and diversity play a crucial role within the tech sector when it comes to developing services and solutions that work for everybody.

Evi Seljevoll / April 12, 2023

At Tietoevry, we work to develop digital technology and solutions that help makes the world better. As part of this effort, we are mindful of the role inclusion and diversity within the tech sector play when it comes to developing solutions and technology that works for everybody. This is a topic that Evi Seljevoll, Managing Partner at Tietoevry, is passionate about.

Evi has been with the company for ten years, and through her management role she is focused on the recruitment of female leaders and technological specialists. As a mentor and sponsor, she is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, and she works actively to encourage girls to pursue a career in IT and technology.

The Future of Tech is Dependent on Social Equity

Social equity is crucial for the future of tech because it ensures that technology is developed and used in a way that benefits everyone, regardless of their gender, sexuality, race, age, socioeconomic status, or other factors.

According to Evi, it is important to commit to working stategically towards long-term change regarding gender balance and social equity more broadly within the sector because the solutions being developed need to work for all social groups. When people with different life experiences are a part of the process, the value for the end user becomes much higher.

Gender Balance

Evi highlights the importance of working towards greater gender balance within the sector as a key factor towards greater social equity on a societal level. Right now, the average gender split within the industry is 30% women and 70% men.

According to the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise, NHO, women in industrialised countries only account for 1 of 3 finished degrees within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics). In a Norwegian context it has been made apparent that while girls generally have better results in these subjects, they are less likely to pursue this when entering upper secondary school.

A study by Tietoevry shows that only 14% of girls between the age of 15-25 considers an education or career within tech, in contrast to 44% of boys. Evi explains that a vital part of changing this is to rethink the way we talk about technology.

How Do We Talk About Technology?

Evi notes that “due to the increased digitization of all areas of public and private life, technology is a necessary dimension for almost all areas of work and interest”. Therefore, technology is not just about the gritty specifications, but also the ethical considerations, usage, and societal role. Working in tech can mean that you work with care, education, and politics, she continues.

A love for computers, games, and science fiction can be an amazing entry point towards an education in tech - as it has been and still are for people of all genders.

Evi further emphasizes that there are other ways into technology as well, and that you don´t necessarily have to have a background from the average tech perspective. If you are passionate about creating a better educational system, better healthcare, or reducing climate change you can pursue this through specializing in IT and tech. “We live in a technological society, and social sustainability does therefore have to be at the core of what we do,” she explains.

“Technology could, and should, be a part of creating a better society. We must be open to both being challenged and about the way we are actively working to create change!”

One Glove Does Not Fit All

From her 10 years at Tietoevry, Evi has a lot of experience with promoting inclusion within the company. When asked if she has some concrete tips from a management perspective, she gives the following advice:

  • Rethink how you view competence
    • There is no ‘correct’ trajectory that will guarantee that someone has the competence you need. Lived experiences, cultural background, a more practical education and work-history can all be an important part of developing the varied and invaluable skills needed to create better solutions.
  • Don’t be afraid of taking risks
    • Women are less likely to put themselves forward for a leadership position. It is therefore important to encourage this, while also being aware of it so that not just those who always speak the loudest are considered for advancement.
  • Invest time in the journey
    • When someone might not have the traditional experience and background, you have to provide the necessary training needed to fill any knowledge gaps and to empower the individual to grow into the role.
  • Be a good role model
    • Being a good role model is not only about displaying admirable qualities. It is vital to be vulnerable and open about the challenges within the industry, and the work it takes to navigate and overcome them. Tietoevry’s guidebook created to encourage young women to pursue a career in tech, Being an IT girl, reflects this.

“People are different, and this is an asset” Evi continues. We therefore have to reconsider how we talk about technology and our approach to management training and gender balance. These practices must be transparent and measurable!

If you are attending this year’s SHE conference, make sure you don’t miss the panel discussion on embedding social sustainability in the Workplace.

Read more about our plans for the SHE conference here.

Evi Seljevoll
Head of Market Norway, Tietoevry Tech Services


Evi Seljevoll

Head of Market Norway, Tietoevry Tech Services

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