Archive | GenderDiversity

Gender diversity at IBM InterConnect

I won’t make this into a long post on the importance of addressing the issues of gender diversity, especially in our industry. I just want to make public that I, and many with me, note how well IBM succeeds in putting women experts and leaders on stage, and in the spotlight. This should be normal and therefore, this post should have been irrelevant. (Note: Yes, I see that the photos lack illustrations of racial/ethnic diversity, but I can assure you presenters on stage were of many ethnic backgrounds. It just wasn’t the point of this post.)

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Where women make more than men – #NOWHERE

Edited post: Added links to articles on the subject. See at the end of this post.

Gender diversity and equal rights between men and women, have numerous different aspects. One of them is “gender pay gap”, which is the average difference between a man’s and a woman’s average salary.
Even when you adjust for known factors, such as parental leave differences etc, women all over the world make less than men. This is a fact established by more than 260 current scientific studies. Data consolidated by World Economic Forum evaluating the gender pay gap in 145 countries show that in the US, as an example, women make on average approximately 80% of what men make.

The below illustration shows the gender gap in earnings, between OECD countries. For example, in Sweden there’s a 13 percent difference between the salaries of men and women.


I  added the #NOWHERE-side of the chart.

The original only had the left side, showing countries where men make more than women. This creates a problem in ongoing debates where some still argue that the differences in pay can be justly explained or that they are not significant. The problem is that we’re adjusting our expectations incorrectly. I want equal pay for equal work and zero unexplained differences in pay, but in a discussion where inequality is debated, the #NOWHERE tag speaks volume.

Business Insider recently published an article stating: “There’s no country in the world where women earn more than men.”, citing Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s latest “Transforming World Atlas” report. “It notes that between 2011 and 2014, a woman earned $76 for every $100 that a man was paid, according to the World Bank. Even in the country with the smallest pay gap — New Zealand — women still earned 5% less than men in 2015.”


In the workplace, gender diversity and gender equality relate to many more topics than the “gender pay gap” and “equal pay for equal work”. For example, other topics include women in leadership positions, equal opportunities for visibility, equal opportunity to careers and training, etc. However, many of those topics ultimately boil down to wages and as a KPI, it’s telling. Many organizations are now heading into another period of salary adjustments. I urge all, including my own, to grasp every such period as an opportunity to focus and act on – to eradicate unjust inequalities in the “gender pay gap”.

More reading:

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Open letter to Schiphol airport

Dear Schiphol airport,

I’m writing this open letter to you both as a manager in the IT-industry and as a father. I’m humbly asking for your assistance in one of our (as in everyones) most critical challenges. I’m asking you since I am frequently a customer of yours. I’ve travelled through your airport more than fifty times the past couple of years.

In our company, we work hard every day trying to recruit new female IT-talent and we actively work on improving gender diversity in leadership positions. There are many reasons why this is difficult and I believe in addressing all of them, always, and as soon as we see them.

One of the reasons why it’s difficult to solve the gender diversity challenges is most likely found in how we shape our young ones. This is what happens every day, also at Schiphol airport. In one of your stores, you are allowing/making an unfortunate distinction between boys and girls. See the photos below. Note the sign saying “Girls”. (Not long ago there was also a sign saying “Boys” hanging over the building/robotics section.)

By allowing/making this distinction, you help shape the unfair and unfortunate norm that girls should play with dolls and boys should build and learn about electronics/robotics. This is where the IT-industry’s challenge starts. This is where girls are told to stay away from robotics and where boys are told that playing with dolls is not OK.

I would love to see, when I return back to Schiphol, that this store makes no more such gender distinctions. I would be very happy to see you/the store owner arrange the products in other categories, instead. There are many other to choose from (age, interests, brands, arts, craft), without using stereotypical and polarising characteristics (blue/pink or doll/action).

Thank you!





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