Inspiring Innovation with Tech and Gender Equality

Envision a world where gender equality thrives, fostering a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment for individuals in every facet of life. This year’s International Women’s Day, observed on March 8th, champions this vision with the theme, “Inspire Inclusion.”

As a dynamic digital innovation agency, we at Martel have more than 25 years of experience in empowering individuals and organisations worldwide on their journeys to achieve ambitious innovation goals in an impactful and sustainable way. We’ve encouraged and experienced great strides in advancement, but we are also conscious of the progress needed for inclusion and equality, particularly in the science and technology sectors. 

The ICT industry, specifically, grapples with gender issues, notably the pervasive gender gap. According to the European Commission’s 2023 Report on Gender Equality and She Figures, women constitute only 25% of the ICT workforce – both in the EU and globally.

“There is no true innovation that can spark without diversity, openness and inclusion as built-in pillars,” says Dr Monique Calisti, CEO of Martel Innovate. “Especially in the ICT world more needs and can be done to resolve the gender gap and ensure a more sustainable development of our society.” 

In the AI sector, the gender disparity is even more pronounced, with women constituting a mere 22% of global AI professionals, according to the World Economic Forum.

And as for unconscious bias? Who here hasn’t interacted with one of those familiar virtual assistants: Alexa, Cortana, or Siri? These technologies, developed by major tech companies, often embody feminine traits, from their voices to their names. However, this has perpetuated the subconscious stereotype that women are submissive and compliant. Apple’s Siri also translates to “beautiful woman guiding you to victory,” in Norwegian, which further insinuates a gender bias in AI.

Addressing the gender gap is crucial, particularly amid the global shortage of skilled workers in the tech industry. The European Commission gender studies also indicate that women bring diverse educational backgrounds, enriching the skill set necessary for tackling the multidisciplinary challenges of AI and complex ICT systems.

At Martel Innovate, gender balance is not just an aim but a cornerstone of our organisational ethos. Our workforce reflects this commitment, with a balanced representation of employees. We prioritise gender balance in all aspects of our work, fostering inclusivity and leveraging diverse perspectives to drive innovation.

Recent studies highlight how gender influences various aspects of tech, including security, self-efficacy, and computer skills. We integrate these insights into our projects and technologies, such as AI incident handling training, aligning with global initiatives like the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the prospective EU Cyber Resilience Act.

“Embracing different perspectives enhances innovation and fosters a vibrant work environment,” says Paula Ando, Visual Graphic Designer at Martel. “I’m proud to be part of a company dedicated to embracing gender equality.”

We’re proud to have more women than men in our workforce, including those actively engaged in tech roles. Among our 51 employees, 27 are women, ranging from CEO, Dr. Monique Calisti, to team members across all levels at Martel and Digital For Planet. This diversity strengthens our organisation and underscores our commitment to gender equality in tech.

“I feel fortunate that I work at an organisation that not only supports and actively promotes gender diversity, but diversity on many levels,” says Klaudia dos Santos, a communications and dissemination specialist at Martel. “This further confirms Martel’s openness and inclusiveness.”

As we at Martel reflect on the achievements and challenges of International Women’s Day, let’s commit to doing more for inclusion in the tech industry. Join us in our journey toward a more inclusive and equitable future for all.

“Cheers to all the incredible women in their respective fields!” Ando adds.