Promoting gender diversity to boost innovation

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[ This article was originally published here ]

The question of how to get more women into technology isn’t a new one. Since 2001, the French organization “Le Cercle InterElles” (website in French) made up of members from 14 international companies, has been working on the topic. Every year InterElles holds a conference and in 2018 more than 600 people, both men and women, gathered to exchange on the subject of “How men and women collaborate on innovation and the role of men in supporting gender diversity.

Gemalto is a member of several such organizations around the world, and is a member of InterElles in France via our women’s network “Gemalto Connected Women”. We have been present at many editions of this forum, with over 20 participants on hand in 2018, including Nicola Joels, Nathalie Bogard, Ghita Tazi and Lucie Brelot. We met to discuss the role of women in innovation and how to ensure daughters and sons have equal opportunities for professional success. For the last three years our senior management has also taken the stage to share lessons on diversity from our business.

Senior management support

In 2018 it was the turn of our CTO, Serge Barbe, to take the stage. During a panel discussion, Serge shared insights on the importance of gender diversity at Gemalto and in particular the role it plays within the R&D teams.

He emphasized that for innovation to be successful, it’s not solely about allocating time and money (although that’s certainly important); it’s also about creating the right conditions to innovate. For example, creating a common framework where all employees, regardless of gender, work towards a single target. It could be value creation, solving a particular customer problem, or another collective goal (business processes, manufacturing, etc.). What’s important is that everyone must have the same objective in mind.

Equally as important is the curiosity mindset, which is key to triggering people’s involvement. And since curiosity fuels growth, it’s essential that it is encouraged and supported equally among all employees, both men and women alike.

One of the areas where companies can make a difference is by showcasing successful and innovative women. For example, in 2017 one of our own, Aline Gouget, was recognized with the ‘Scientist woman in an enterprise’ award by the French Ministry of Education, Research and Innovation. Aline was also recently promoted as Gemalto’s first female Tech Advisor – one of only eight advisors in the entire company. And we are also lucky to have other innovation role models like Karen Lu, senior researcher in Austin and Virginie Galindo who works in the CTO office, bringing their expertise to the field.

As Serge pointed out, 28% of all patent applications at Gemalto – which are the innovation pulse of any company – include women as inventors. We’re constantly looking for more ways to support women’s development in tech so that this percentage – along with the number of women in tech overall – continues to grow.

Promoting women at Gemalto

Gemalto Connected Women is our internal professional network. It was launched in January 2015 by women employees with the backing of Gemalto’s top management. It aims to promote gender diversity by building awareness, taking concrete actions and sharing best practice among Gemalto women. The network keeps growing and today numbers more than 1,000 members across 23 chapters around the world. See more about diversity at Gemalto.

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